On a ten-year average. Austria?s annual production has been 2.5 million hl of wine grown on an area of approximately 48.000 ha. The quantity produced in the years 1995. 1996 and 1997 was far below this average. The 1998 and 1999 harvests were significantly larger than the yearly average. The 2001 harvest was just under the average.
A comparison with the EU clearly illustrates Austria?s position: within the Community there are approximately 3.5 million ha of active vineyards. resulting in an average annual production of 170 million hl of wine. The position of the biggest producers in the Community ? France (914.000 ha. average annual production 60 million hl) and Italy (909.000 ha. 58 million hl) ? is best described as ?world-market dominance?. While Spain has the largest viticultural area in the Community (1.18 million ha). because of its low average yield per ha it produces ?only? around 33 million hl of wine annually (source: OIV. 1999).
At present. Austria?s vineyards are planted with c. 75% white-wine vines and c. 25% redwine varieties, although the tendency is towards a higher percentage of red-wine vines. Austrian red wines attained a level that holds up to comparison with the finest international wines. The Zweigelt has attained a definite position of leadership among the red-wine varieties. while another indigenous variety. the Blaufränkisch. has retained its position. In the white-wine sector. Styria demonstrated in the 1990`s that the Sauvignon Blanc grape is perfect for this wine-growing area. Because of this. its success is expected to spread to the other Austrian regions as Chardonnay slowly subsides.
Among the trend-setting wine-growers. production of the white ?Burgundy family? is being accelerated in Burgenland. while Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) continues to produce more Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
One of the most important responsibilities of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board is to clearly present current data concerning the wine industry. The present documentation contains not only all the currently available facts but also presents long-term developmental trends in special areas. In addition, we have compiled important background information in abbreviated form.