Austrian Reds: Difficult to Pronounce, but Easy to Drink

Posted by | Posted in White's Wines | Posted on 05-26-2015

heinrich_salzbergAs regular readers know, I write a free, twice monthly wine column that’s distributed to newspapers across the country.

These columns are hosted by Grape Collective. If you don’t see my column in your local newspaper, please send an email to your paper’s editor and CC me (David – at –

In my latest column, I praise Austria’s red wines — and predict that they could soon take off.

Austrian Reds: Difficult to Pronounce, but Easy to Drink

Blaufrankisch. St. Laurent. Zweigelt.

The names of these Austrian red grape varieties do nothing to put consumers at ease. Wine is intimidating. And consumers have always been most comfortable talking about wine when the words roll off the tongue. Few struggle with grape names like Merlot and Malbec or regions like Bordeaux and Mendoza.

Across the country, though, boutique wine merchants and sommeliers are falling hard for Austrian reds. Regular consumers will undoubtedly follow suit.

“These last three days have shown me that I don’t need to explain these grape varieties and their styles,” explained wine educator Andreas Wickhoff, founder of a group called the “Premium Estates of Austria,” during a recent visit to the United States. “Several of the buyers I met have already been tasting these wines. And I think we are slowly gaining momentum, especially in the more premium segment.”

Check out the rest of the piece on Grape Collective!

Comments (1)

  1. Dear David,
    this is a great article – thank you! Let me just add, that Zweigelt and St. Laurent can also produce great, complex wines, but while it is very difficult to make ligher and easy drinking Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent work both ways depending on the terroir and the intention of the winemaker.
    Two moths ago I was in California hosting 2 Austrian red wine tatings: To my big surprise they created a lot of interest and attraced many pros from retail and restaurant business. So I am as optimistic as Andreas Wickhoff MW that Austrian red is rising in this market.