The State of Austrian Wine
Austrian wines, known for their world-class quality, are sought after by wine lovers across the globe. With over four thousand years of winemaking history, the industry has changed dramatically as it attracts more and more international attention.
Austria is traditionally known for its sweet wines. The European country also produces acclaimed dry whites and reds. There are around 40 approved grape varieties in Austria, 26 of them are white while 14 are red.
Austrian wines are made in a diverse range of styles including sparkling and dessert wines. Red, white and rosé still wines are also presented in the scope of profiles. Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s specialty grape variety, is widely regarded as one of the most exciting white wines in the world.
Austrian Wine in China
Austrian wine industry took a hit when it was revealed in 1985 that some of its wineries had been adding diethylene-glycol to bulk out and sweeten their wines. After years of struggles, the country is now reaping the rewards for positioning its wine as a high-value niche product in the international market.
2018 was a record-breaking year of sales for Austrian wines. Worldwide export figures registered US$190.6 million, up by 6.9%. The largest markets for Austrian wines are Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Around 30% of the total export value came from the non-European markets like China, Canada, Russia and the United States.
In Asia, China remains the number one market for Austrian wine. While Austria’s share in the Chinese market is less than 1%, opportunities are expanding. Export value has increased over the last 10 years by more than 460%. China imported around 254,106 liters of bottled Austrian wines worth US$1.98 million.
Popular Brands in the China Market
The selection of Austrian wines available in China is improving but still limited. Some wine producers known in the country are Loimer, Wieninger, Gobelsburg and Kaiser. The most popular Austrian wine in China is the Grüner Veltliner. The citrusy and spicy flavors of the white wine match well with many Chinese dishes.
Other Austrian wine styles that are well suited for Chinese cooking are the fruity white wines Welschriesling and Muller-Thurgau. For red wines, the most well-liked are the Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Blauburger and St. Laurent. Their styles range from fresh, fragrant and light to dark, structured and tannic.
Austrian winemakers also make wines using international varieties. These include Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for whites, and Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for reds.
Though it took more than twenty years, Austria gained back its reputation as a wine powerhouse in the world. With the right sweetness and acidity, Austrian wine has been steadily carving its place in the Chinese market. Based on the increasing imports and sales year after year, it will not be long until it becomes as popular as other imported wines in the country.