What is Grüner Veltliner? Guide to Austria’s Signature Wine

June 28, 2024

Table of Content

Grüner Veltliner, often hailed as Austria’s signature grape variety, is making waves in the world of wine. Known for its unique blend of flavors and high acidity, it stands out among other wine grapes, captivating wine enthusiasts everywhere.

This versatile grape is the most widely planted in Austria, accounting for about 32.4% of the country’s vineyards, which amounts to over 14,409 hectares. Its rising popularity can be attributed to its refreshing taste and its perfect pairing with various foods.

Whether you are a seasoned wine lover or a curious beginner, discovering Grüner Veltliner will introduce you to a whole new world of wine, taste, and enjoyment.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of Grüner Veltliner and explore what makes it so unique.

What is Grüner Veltliner?

gruner veltliner wine bottle

Grüner Veltliner is a white grape variety primarily grown in Austria. It is highly valued for its unique and distinctive flavors, which include hints of starfruit, gooseberry, green bean, and white pepper.

One of the most exciting things about Grüner Veltliner is its versatility. It can produce many wine styles, from light and zesty to rich and full-bodied. This makes it a favorite among wine lovers exploring different tastes and experiences.

In Austria, Grüner Veltliner holds a special place as the most widely planted grape variety. The grape thrives in Austria’s climate and soils, which help to bring out its characteristic high acidity and fresh, crisp flavors.

This Austrian wine’s acidity makes it refreshed and allows it to pair well with various foods, from creamy dishes to spicy foods.

Grüner Veltliner is popular in Austria and is also grown in other countries, such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and even the United States. However, Austrian Grüner Veltliner wine remains the most well-known and appreciated worldwide.

Thanks to its approachable yet complex profile, it appeals to both seasoned wine drinkers and those new to the world of wine.

Historical Background

The history of Grüner Veltliner is as rich and exciting as the wine itself. This grape variety has been a part of Austrian viticulture for centuries. It is believed to have originated from a crossing between the Traminer grape and another grape variety found in St. Georgen in Burgenland, Austria.

Key Historical Points:

  • Origins: The exact origins of Grüner Veltliner are not entirely known, but it is believed to have emerged in Austria’s Niederösterreich region.
  • Name: The name Grüner Veltliner means “Green Wine of Veltlin,” referring to a region in the lower Alps.
  • Popularity Surge: The grape’s popularity surged in the 1950s when Lenz Moser introduced a high vine training system that improved the quality and yield of the grapes.
  • Modern Day: Grüner Veltliner is recognized internationally and is Austria’s flagship grape variety for producing Austrian white wine.

Grüner Veltliner gained international recognition in the late 20th century. Its unique taste and the marketing efforts of Austrian winemakers helped it stand out on the global stage.

Characteristics of Grüner Veltliner


Grüner Veltliner is a white wine grape variety that stands out for its unique and appealing characteristics. From its flavor profile to its aroma and texture, this grape offers wine lovers a diverse and rich experience. Let’s explore the key characteristics that define Grüner Veltliner wine.

1. Flavor Profile

Grüner Veltliner is renowned for its distinctive and vibrant flavor profile. Here are some of the typical Grüner Veltliner tasting notes and flavors you might encounter:

  • Green Apple: Green apple is one of the most common flavors in Grüner Veltliner. It gives the wine a fresh, fruity taste that is very refreshing.
  • Citrus: Citrus notes such as lime, lemon, and grapefruit are also prevalent. These flavors add a zesty element to the wine.
  • White Pepper: A unique feature of Grüner Veltliner is its subtle white pepper flavor. This spiciness sets it apart from other white wines.
  • Herbaceous Qualbeans: The wine often has delicate herbaceous notes, including hints of green beans and fresh herbs like basil and chives.

This combination of fruity, spicy, and herbal flavors makes Grüner Veltliner a complex and enjoyable wine. It’s no wonder it’s a favorite among many wine enthusiasts.

2. Aroma

The aromas of Grüner Veltliner are just as captivating as its flavors. When you take a sniff of this wine, you might notice:

  • Lime and Lemon: These citrus aromas are often the first to hit your nose, providing a fresh and invigorating scent.
  • Grapefruit: Alongside lime and lemon, grapefruit adds another layer of citrusy aroma.
  • Fresh Herbs: The wine also exudes the scent of fresh herbs, such as parsley, chive, or even a touch of mint, giving it a green and lively bouquet.

These pleasant aromas prepare your palate for the vibrant flavors that follow. The citrus and herbaceous notes make each sip a refreshing experience, especially when you taste some of the Best Grüner Veltliner wine.

3. Texture and Body

One of the standout features of Grüner Veltliner is its texture and body. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Crisp Acidity: Grüner Veltliner is known for its high acidity. This crispness makes the wine refreshing and perfect for pairing with various
  • Medium to Full Body: The body of Grüner Veltliner can range from medium to complete, depending on how it’s made and where the grapes are grown. Lighter styles are zestier and refreshing, while fuller-bodied versions offer more richness and depth.
  • Complexity and Depth: High-quality Grüner Veltliner wines can develop a lot of complexity and depth, especially as they age. Older bottles might have nutty and waxy characteristics, adding to the wine’s richness.

This combination of high acidity, varying body, and potential for complexity makes Grüner Veltliner a versatile and intriguing wine. Whether you prefer a light and zesty wine or something more prosperous and complex, Grüner Veltliner has something to offer.

Growing and Production Methods


Growing and producing Grüner Veltliner requires careful attention to detail and specific practices that bring out the best in this unique grape variety. Each step, from the vineyard to the winery, plays a crucial role in creating the distinctive flavors and characteristics of Grüner Veltliner wines.


The viticulture practices for growing Grüner Veltliner are tailored to maximize the grape’s potential and ensure high-quality wine production.

  • Soil: Grüner Veltliner flourishes in well-draining soils, particularly loess and primary rock soils. These soil types contribute to the wine’s minerality and flavor concentration.
  • Climate Conditions: This grape variety prefers cooler climates. The moderate temperatures help maintain the high acidity Grüner Veltliner is known for. However, it can also adapt to slightly warmer regions, where it develops more ripe fruit flavors.

Vineyard Management Techniques:

  • Canopy Management: Proper canopy management is essential. This includes leaf removal and shoot thinning to ensure good sunlight exposure and air circulation, which helps prevent disease and ensures even ripening of the grapes.
  • Yield Regulation: Grüner Veltliner can be pretty prolific, so controlling yields is essential to maintain quality. Winemakers often practice green harvesting (removing some grape clusters before they fully ripen) to focus the vine’s energy on fewer, higher-quality grapes.


The vinification process for Grüner Veltliner wine involves several vital steps that influence the final taste and quality of the wine.

  • Harvesting: The grapes are typically hand-harvested to ensure that only the best quality fruit is used. This careful selection helps maintain the purity of flavors in the wine.


  • Spontaneous Fermentation: Some winemakers opt for spontaneous fermentation using native yeasts, which can add complexity and unique characteristics to the wine.
  • Controlled Fermentation: Others use selected yeast strains to achieve more consistent and controlled results, often highlighting the wine’s fruit-forward aspects.

Aging Practices:

  • Stainless Steel Tanks: Many Grüner Veltliner wines are aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve their fresh and crisp qualities.
  • Lees Aging: Some winemakers choose to age the wine on its lees (the dead yeast cells) for a period, which can add body and subtle toasty or nutty flavors.
  • Oak Barrels: A few producers experiment with oak aging, adding hints of spice and smoke, though this is rare.

Popular Grüner Veltliner Wine Producers

Grüner Veltliner has gained recognition in the Austrian wine market and internationally, thanks to the efforts of dedicated winemakers who bring out the best in this versatile grape.

Here are some of the top producers of Grüner Veltliner wine in Austria and worldwide.

Top Austrian Producers

Austria is home to some of the finest producers of Grüner Veltliner, each with their unique style and approach.

Grüner Veltliner by Weingut Knoll

Grüner Veltliner by Weingut Knoll

  1. Weingut Knoll: Located in the Wachau region, Weingut Knoll is renowned for producing some of the most potent and age-worthy Grüner Veltliner wines. Their attention to detail and traditional methods make their wines highly sought after.
  2. Weingut Bründlmayer: Situated in the Langenlois region, Weingut Bründlmayer is known for its elegant and refined Grüner Veltliners. Their wines often perfectly balanced fruit, acidity, and minerality.
  3. Schloss Gobelsburg: This historic winery in the Kamptal region produces exceptional Grüner Veltliner wines that are both rich and complex. Schloss Gobelsburg’s commitment to quality and tradition shines through in every bottle.

International Producers

Grüner Veltliner is also gaining popularity outside of Austria, with notable producers in the United States and New Zealand making a mark.

  1. Illahe Vineyards (USA): Located in Oregon, Illahe Vineyards is known for its estate-grown Grüner Veltliner. Its wines are characterized by fresh and vibrant flavors, making them a favorite among American wine enthusiasts.
  2. Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard (USA): In the Finger Lakes region of New York, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard produces excellent Grüner Veltliner wines that reflect the area’s cool climate and unique terroir.
  3. Forrest Wines (New Zealand): This winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, is making waves with its Grüner Veltliner. Their wines are noted for their bright acidity and expressive fruit flavors, capturing the essence of this Austrian grape in a new terroir.

Food Pairings with Grüner Veltliner


Grüner Veltliner is a versatile wine that pairs beautifully with various foods. Its high acidity and unique flavor make it an excellent companion to many dishes, from traditional Austrian fare to creative and spicy cuisine.

Here are some creative wine pairings to enhance your Grüner Veltliner food pairing experience.

Classic Pairings

Grüner Veltliner’s crisp acidity and complex flavors make it a perfect match for several classic dishes:

  • Schnitzel: This traditional Austrian dish, made with breaded and fried meat, pairs wonderfully with Grüner Veltliner. The wine’s acidity cuts through the richness of the schnitzel, perfectly balancing the flavors.
  • Seafood: Light, flaky fish and shellfish are ideal companions for Grüner Veltliner wines. The citrus and herbaceous notes of the wine complement the delicate flavors of seafood dishes.
  • Light Salads: Salads with fresh greens, herbs, and citrus-based dressings work well with Grüner Veltliner. The wine’s zesty acidity and green apple flavors enhance the freshness of the salad.

Creative Pairings

Grüner Veltliner’s versatility also shines with more adventurous and creative pairings:

  • Asian Cuisine: Dishes like sushi, Thai salads, and Vietnamese spring rolls pair perfectly with Grüner Veltliner. The wine’s acidity and subtle spice notes complement the fresh herbs and spices used in these cuisines.
  • Spicy Dishes: Whether it’s spicy Indian curry or Mexican tacos with a kick, Grüner Veltliner’s high acidity and refreshing qualities help balance the heat and enhance the flavors.
  • Vegetarian Fare: Dishes featuring roasted vegetables, creamy risottos, or herbed tofu can be amazingly paired with Grüner Veltliner. The wine’s herbaceous qualities and acidity bring out the best in vegetarian cuisine.

What is Grüner Veltliner (FAQs)

Is Grüner Veltliner sweet or dry?

Grüner Veltliner is primarily known for its dry style, featuring high acidity and refreshing flavors. However, some versions may have a hint of residual sugar, but the high acidity often masks any sweetness, making it taste crisp and dry.

Is Grüner Veltliner Sauvignon Blanc?

No, Grüner Veltliner is not Sauvignon Blanc. While both are white grape varieties known for their high acidity and citrus flavors, Grüner Veltliner has unique characteristics such as white pepper and herbaceous notes that set it apart from Sauvignon Blanc.

When to drink Grüner Veltliner?

Grüner Veltliner is best enjoyed young and fresh for its zesty and vibrant flavors. However, higher quality bottles can age well, developing complex and nutty flavors over time, making them enjoyable for several years.


Grüner Veltliner is a fascinating and versatile white wine that stands out in viticulture. Known for its distinctive flavors, high acidity, and versatility in food pairings, this Austrian white wine has something to offer everyone.

Whether you want to savor it with classic Austrian dishes like schnitzel or explore creative pairings with Asian cuisine, Grüner Veltliner promises a delightful and refreshing experience.

Understanding what is Grüner Veltliner opens up a world of unique taste and enjoyment, making it a must-try for any wine enthusiast.

Related Posts

Go to Top