sometimes said that Gruner Veltliner dates back to Roman
times and that its name is derived from Veltlin (Valtellina)
in northern Italy. However, the current name appeared in
a document for the first time in 1855 - before that time
it was known as Weigipfler or Gruner Muskateller. Only
by the 1930s was Gruner Veltliner established as the standard
name of the grape. Until the Second World War it was regarded
as just another Austrian grape, it took Lenz Moser's Hochkultur
system of vine training to really get the best out of it,
and it expanded quickly in plantation from the 1950s to
later become Austria's most planted variety. Since the antifreeze scandal
of 1985, Gruner Veltliner has been at the forefront of the
switch in Austrian winemaking towards better quality dry
ampelographers (such as Hermann Goethe in his famous 1887
handbook of ampelography) have long assumed that Gruner
Veltliner is not related to the other varieties with "Veltliner"
in their name (such as Roter Veltliner), or that it is only
Neither has it been assumed to be related to the Muscat
family, despite the old name "Gruner Muskateller" (Muskateller
is the German designation for Muscat).
DNA analysis in the late 1990s secured Traminer as one parent
of GrÃ¼ner Veltliner, but was not able to identify the other
parent among the candidates studied.
The other parent was later found to be an originally unnamed
variety of which only a single, abandoned, very old and
weakened vine was found in St. Georgen outside Eisenstadt
in Austria. It is therefore referred to as St. Georgener-Rebe,
"St. Georgen-vine". The vine was found in 2000 in an overgrown
part of a pasture in a location where there had not been
any vineyard since the late 19th century, and is assumed
to have been the last vine in this location for over a century.
Local experts were not able to determine the variety of
the vine. Only when it was threatened to be ripped out in
2005 additional samples were taken and later analysed at
Klosterneuburg. Genetic analysis in the following years
by Ferdinand Regner was able to determine that St. Georgener-Rebe
is a parent variety to Gruner Veltliner. The parents
of this variety have not been determined. Plans exist to
bring the variety into experimental cultivation in order
to assess its viticultural properties.
Gruner Veltliner plantations in Austria stood at 17,151 hectares
(42,380 acres), and it accounts for 32.6% of all vineyards
in the country, almost all of it being grown in the northeast
of the country.
Along the Danube to the west of Vienna, in Wachau, Kremstal
and Kamptal, it grows with Riesling in terraces reminiscent
of the Rhine, on slopes so steep they can barely retain
any soil. The result is a very pure, minerally wine capable
of long ageing, that stands comparison with some of the
great wines of the world. In recent blind tastings organised
by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Gruner Veltliners
have beaten world-class Chardonnays from the likes of Mondavi
and Maison Louis Latour.
deeper clay soils in the Weinviertel to the northeast of
Vienna Gruner Veltliner develops more of a spicy, peppery
character, which can be aged although a lot of production
is intended to be drunk young in the heurigen bars of Vienna.
Some is made into sparkling wine in the far northeast around
is grown south of Vienna, in the warmer climates of the
vineyards towards the Hungarian plains, although the growers
there are more interested in red and dessert wines.
of the first three DACs (geographical appellations) in Austria
apply to Gruner Veltliner, the Weinviertel DAC and the Traisental
Veltliner is the most popular wine group in country standing
at 2,756 hectares (6,810 acres)
Czech Republic, particularly Southern Moravia close to the
Austrian border, produces some Gruner Veltliners of notable
quality. Gruner Veltliner wines form approximately 11% of
Czech wine production. This makes Gruner Veltliner the second
most widely grown white grape variety in the Czech Republic.
is grown in Austria's former imperial partner.
years a few US wineries have started to grow and bottle
Gruner Veltliner, including wineries and vineyards in Oregon,
Maryland, the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Napa
Valley, Clarksburg AVA, Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez
variety is now being experimented with by a number of winemakers
in New Zealand including Spade Oak in the Gisborne region.
leaves are five-lobed and the bunches are long but compact,
with deep green grapes that ripen in mid-late October.