South of Vienna, there is a wonderful recreational area that features not only cosy Heurigen wine taverns, but also rich, historical terroir that hones powerful wines: 2,450 hectares of vineyards lie at the edge of the Wienerwald, or Vienna Woods, extending from Vienna’s outskirts to the south of Baden. In the northern section, white wine dominates with the indigenous varieties Zierfandler and Rotgipfler. The southern area highlights red wine, with velvety St. Laurent leading the way.
For more than 2,000 years, vines have been cultivated in this climatically favourable area south of Vienna. Roman legionnaires stationed in Carnuntum and Vindobona brought to Pannonia vines and viticultural knowledge from their home countries. The Thermenregion takes its name from the hot, sulphuric thermal springs of the Roman town of Aquae – which is Baden today.
Thermenregion - MapNot only do the vines here benefit from the Pannonian climate, with its hot summers and dry autumns, but also from an average of 1,800 hours of sunshine every year. Permanent airflow dries the grapes after their exposure to dew or rain, in autumn as well. The area is geologically diverse, however, heavy soils comprising clay and brown earth with shell limestone prevail. Weathered pebbles and stones as well as deep-reaching layers of alluvial soil assist in warming and draining the terroir. In the Steinfeld, meagre stony soils offer excellent conditions for red wines.
This area is home to rare white grape varieties seldom found elsewhere – Zierfandler and Rotgipfler. These are produced individually or as the area´s legendary cuvée blend known as Spätrot-Rotgipfler. Other traditional varieties here are Blauer Portugieser, formerly known as Vöslauer; plus Neuburger, as well as two modern wines from the Pinot family – St. Laurent and Zweigelt. There also are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Red wines are found mainly around Bad Vöslau, Sooß, Tattendorf and Teesdorf, while the classic white wines come from Perchtoldsdorf, Gumpoldskirchen, Pfaffstätten, Baden, Guntramsdorf and Traiskirchen.
The combination of culture and nature makes possible a varied leisure time programme. This ranges from the Freigut Thallern (belonging to the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz, one of the oldest wine estates in Austria), to the health and cultural resort town of Baden, with its theatres, operetta performances, spa and grape treatments, to wine route excursions and hikes across the vineyards located alongside Vienna's famous aqueduct. Water complements the wine as an excellent culinary accompaniment; flattering the food, it is no longer neglected in gastronomy.