On the North side of the Danube River, starting from the ancient city of Krems, an area with a great agricultural and above all wine-growing vocation is located. This vocation is demonstrated by the splendid terraces of the five wine regions that extend within a radius of 30 km: Wagram, Traisental, Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal. The terraces are located in a wide valley formed by the Danube in the ice age, with a particular microclimate, which is the result of the encounter between the cold northern winds, coming from the Bohemian massif, and the warm ones coming from the south-east Pannonian plains. A perfect climate for viticulture, which gives the grapes an intense, sweet aroma and a bright color.
Although there are several terroirs in the area described, it is the "löss" that gives the wine its mark and provides substantial support to the terraces. It is a clayey-sandy soil of a deep yellow or reddish-yellow color, which thanks to its ability to retain water and its minerals richness creates the perfect conditions for the cultivation of Roter Veltliner, a rustic vine, with berries that turn to dark pink when ripe. Its tendrils are bronze, as is the shoot. Thanks to its low water and nutrient requirements, it resists even in the driest areas. It ripens around mid-October, when the berries reach their highest level of pectin and the pulp is gelatinous.
The origins of this variety date back to the presence of the Romans in the region, when a Roman soldier withdrew from the battlefields to pursue a quiet and rural life, he was granted a small patch of land so that he could produce and sell wine of ancient Roman varieties, such as Roter Veltliner. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, after a long interruption in viticulture, some Baverese monks arrived in the region and resumed production, exploiting the vines already present in the area. During the Habsburg Empire, the Roter Veltliner spread to many wine regions of the country. However, starting from the 1950s its cultivation was reduced, to remain only in its current refuge: the terraces on the Danube, near Wagram. The industrialization of viticulture, which involves the use of tractors and synthetic chemicals to maximize the yield and flatten wines, has caused the almost total disappearance of the Roter Veltliner, unsuitable for this type of practice.
Fortunately, some tenacious winemakers have preserved this variety, whose organoleptic characteristics are increasingly appreciated, for its delicate floral scents, spicy notes and strong style, with a long and elegant finish. The winemaking model differs according to the cellar and the terroir, a feature that makes Roter Veltliner always surprising and never boring. Furthermore, each winemaker uses its own yeasts and it is forbidden to add sugars or acidifiers. The harvest must be manual, so as to better select the grapes. The simpler versions can age between 3 and 5 years, while the more audacious can even go up to 15 years and beyond.
The Roter Veltliner is harvested from the end of September until mid-October
In 2008, a small group of organic producers from Roter Veltliner decided to challenge this system, starting a work of product recovery and promotion, also promoted with the help of Slow Food Waldviertel. The product was then included in the Ark of Taste and the producers began to create a network with other Slow Food local chapters in the area. Quickly, the group expanded, including several local stakeholders engaged in the struggle to preserve natural foods and wines and to give the region a more sustainable direction.
The creation of the Presidium aims to safeguard and increase the production of Roter Veltliner, telling consumers and the media the rich history of this grape, as well as of the entire wine region. The production protocol follows the regulations of organic cultivation, also establishing the use of indigenous yeasts in the winemaking process and manual harvesting. The producer group also decided to set and adopt a single price, considered fair for both producers and consumers.
Municipalities of Fels am Wagram, Großriedenthal, Kirchberg am Wagram, Ruppersthal, Gedersdorf, Glaubendorf, in the wine regions of Wagram, Traisental, Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, in Lower Austria.
A-3481 Fels am Wagram
Tel. +43 6769354094
Bioweingut Familie Bauer
Tel. +43 22795037/13
Arkadenhof Hausdorf GesbR.
Tel. +43 22797214
Familie M.J. Mantler
Brunn im Felde , Hauptstrasse 50
Tel. +43 27358248
Tel. +43 2279 7247
Weingut Martin Obenaus
Lange Zeile 24
Paul Schabl, MSc
Kremser Straße 13
3465 Königsbrunn am Wagram
Tel. +43 22782287
Daniela Vigne & Toni Söllner
3482 Gösing am Wagram
Tel. +43 27382248
Slow Food Presidium coordinator
Tel. +43 6766228111