Top 10 cool climate wine regions

5. Kremstal, Austria

K_2794106162GST: 14.7

Plantings: 2,400ha (plus Wachau and Kamptal at ~ +/- 0.1°C variance)

Main grapes: Combined: 7,400ha, 50% Gruner Veltliner; 13% Zweigelt; 11% Riesling

“GST is quite similar at around 14.7°C in Krems (Kremstal), Langenlois (Kamptal) and Dürnstein (the eastern end of Wachau)”, said Roman Horvarth MW, the winery director at Domäne Wachau. “However in Wachau it becomes lower the further west we get and on the most western edge of Wachau at Spitz it drops to around 14.0°C.”

He said the Wachau region’s “three-tier system with steinfeder, federspiel and smaragd” follows an idea of different picking times.

“This makes sense in a cool climate and is kind of insurance”, said Horvarth. “Every year typical, authentic wines can be offered: in very cool years more steinfeder and federspiel and in warm years more federspiel and smaragd.”

Steepness of slope is important in Wachau which, he said “increases the power of sun energy”, adding: “plus we have the moderating Danube”.

Further microscopic detail is added with “high altitude versus low altitude, valley floor versus terraces” and cool pockets, said Horvarth.

“In the coolest pocket, the Spitz Valley, in the 1950s and 1960s mostly Zweigelt, Neuberger and Müller-Thurgau were planted because Grüner Veltliner and Riesling didn’t ripen. Today with climate change the Spitz Valley is absolutely fascinating for our two major varieties.”

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