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Moser warns of “faltering” Austrian Grüner dominance

Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser has warned Austria that its position as the world’s number one Grüner Veltliner exporter is at risk.

Lenz Moser

Speaking at the fifth Veltliner Symposium in Poysdorf earlier this month, Moser explained that with other countries planting the variety, there was a real possibility that it would come to be associated with places other than Austria.

“It’s all about maintaining Austria’s leading position with Grüner in both vineyard area and marketing. This has been threatened by the illogical planning of vineyards over the past 15 years – red wine has replaced white wine, with Grüner suffering the most,” said Moser.

He cited figures which show that the total Grüner plantings have decreased from 20,000 hectares in the 1980s to 13,500ha today, a 30% reduction.

At the same time, plantings of Grüner around the world are rising, especially in New Zealand and the US.

Moser said that Austria need to stamp its position as the world’s premium Grüner producer in the way that Germany has done with Riesling.

Although the country’s leading producers have done a lot of work to push the variety is recent years, this has been done on the back of dwindling supply – exacerbated by small 2010 and 2012 harvests.

This in turn has led to an “explosion” in grape and bulk wine prices which are now up to €1.50 per kilogram and €2 a litre respectively.

“The outcome is to be priced out of the market. Here in Austria, the effects are dramatic; the whole entry‐level wine segment is dominated by imported wines.

“Abroad, where Austria has to compete with all of the world’s wine varieties, there’s very little leeway, as confirmed by the latest Austrian Wine Marketing Board figures, that illustrate a reduction in volume for the German market in particular,“ he continued.

He finished by making an appeal to “plant more Grüner.”

“We are now lucky enough to have our very trendy grape variety,” he said. “Above all, it’s a ‘chameleon’ wine that pairs so well with food. It goes well with virtually any dish, except goulash, appealing to virtually everybody who appreciates dry, fruit‐driven white wines.

“Our goal must be to become, and uphold, the position of the world leader of Grüner. We need to protect Austria’s supremacy. Therefore, plant, plant, plant, and aim for the 20,000ha peak that we had in the 1980s, so that our shining position remains firm in the wine world.”

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