Is a new Slow Food Presidium – the 9th in Austria
On the north side of the Danube river around the ancient city of Krems there is an area which is perfectly-suited for wine production, with splendid terraces that extend over a radius of 30 km and cover five wine regions: Wagram, Traisental, Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal.
This wide valley formed by the Danube in the last ice age has a microclimate ideal for wine production. The latest Slow Food Presidium in Austria is one such wine: the Roter Veltliner, the production of which started to decrease significantly in the 1950s, with only haven remaining: the terraces of Wagram. The industrialization of viticulture, which involves the use of tractors and synthetic chemicals to maximize yields and flattens wines, has caused the almost total disappearance of the Roter Veltliner vines. By the 1980s, these wines had practically disappeared from the market.
Fortunately, some tenacious winemakers have continued to grow this grape variety, whose sensory characteristics are increasingly appreciated: its delicate floral scents, spicy notes, and long, elegant finish. The winemaking model differs from cellar to cellar according to the terroir, a feature that gives each Roter Veltliner its own unique character.
In 2008, a small group of organic producers from Roter Veltliner decided to challenge the industrialized system, and started to embark on the long and difficult process of product recovery and promotion, with the help of Slow Food Waldviertel. “We always loved to work with Roter Veltliner, but everyone did it alone. So some friends and colleagues came together to develop a brighter future for this great vine together”, declares Hanz Czerny of the Wimmer-Czerny winery and coordinator of the Danube Terraces Roter Veltliner Slow Food Presidium. The product was first submitted for inclusion on the Ark of Taste, and from there the producers began to build a relationship with the local Slow Food network.
The creation of the Slow Food Presidium aims to safeguard and increase the production of Roter Veltliner, and to share the rich history of this grape with consumers and the media. The production protocol requires adherence to the principles of organic cultivation, as well as the use of indigenous yeasts in the winemaking process and manual harvesting techniques, which allow for better grape selection. The addition of sugars or acidifiers is not allowed. The simpler versions of the wine may age between 3 and 5 years, while the more prestigious can be aged for 15 years or more. The producer group has also decided to adopt a single price which is considered fair for both producers and consumers.
The production area of the Danube Terraces Roter Veltliner Slow Food Presidium includes the municipalities of Fels am Wagram, Großriedenthal, Kirchberg am Wagram, Ruppersthal, Gedersdorf, Glaubendorf, in the wine regions of Wagram, Traisental, Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, all in Lower Austria.
To find out more:
Read the full description of Danube Terraces Roter Veltliner Presidium, with details of the coordinators and producers.
Check out the full list of all Slow Food Presidia in Austria.
The Slow Food Presidia project sustain quality production at risk of extintion, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Today, almost 600 Presidia involve more than 13,000 producers worldwide.