Viticultural area: Wachau

Associated viticultural areas Austria Austria Wachau Wachau

Niederösterreich - Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal

Vineyards in WachauWine-making was first mentioned by Eugippus when writing the autobiography of his mentor, Saint Savino in 511 AD. According to him, in 470 AD the saint lived in a retreat, called “an die Weingärten” (at the vineyard), near the Roman fort of Favianis, today the town of Mautern.
In 1156 the Bavarian border area was turned into the Principality of Austria and in 1285 Leuthold II became the “Oberster Schenk in Östrreich”, who today would be the top sommellier in the country. That century saw the first great wine-growing period. Bavarian monasteries took possession of vineyards in Wachau, planting vines on the slopes.
“Thal Wachau” was the name used to refer to the area around the villages of Weissenkirchen, Wösendorf, Joching and St. Michael from 1250 until 1850, when the Austrian law on wine approved the natural borders that had formed over six centuries, bringing together the villages of  Dürnstein, Mautern, Gergern, Rossatz, Weissenkirchen and Spitz into a single region, Wachau.

Facts and figures

Total wine-growing area of Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal (ha.)


Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain

(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)


Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)


Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)


Area terraced (ha.)


Altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

210 - 450

Vineyards on difficult terrain

Wachau 650 ha

Kremstal 350 ha

Kamptal 150 ha

(data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

60% of the area belongs to wineries cultivating over 3 hectares. These make up 23.4% of all the wineries. Holdings from 1 to 3 ha.occupy 25.9% of the area with 28.5% of the wineries. There is 10.8% of the area and the majority of wineries, 40.8%, made up of holdings between 1 and 0.2 ha. Under 0.2 ha. there is 0.7% of the area with 7.3% of the wineries.

Wine-growing landscape

The terrain is mostly of primary eroded rock on the terraces and small islands of loess, and light, sandy soil on the faces. Vines are grown up to 450 m above sea level, i.e. 250 m above the Danube. The quality Wachau wines are mainly from the terraced vines.
Viticulture in eastern Wachau is specialised and complements fruit-growing. The cellars are mostly in Verband within the villages. The most important town in the area is Krems with 28,000 inhabitants.
Wachau has been a World Heritage Site since 2000 and has been awarded the European Diploma for Environmental Protection.
Main vines

White grapes

  • Grüner veltliner
  • Riesling
  • Müller Thurgau
  • Neuburger
  • Pinot bianco
  • Frühroter veltliner
  • Muskateller
Black grapes:

  • Blauer zweigelt  
  • Blauer portugieser
  • St. Laurent
Data provided by: