Wild & unpredictable weather.
It is not a climate, but rather there are many microclimates that influence the terroir, better: the terroirs of the Steiermark. Headed west to east, the precipitation becomes less insistent and less frequent; it gets hotter and there are more sunny days.
The annual rainfall in the Weststeiermark, close to the Alps, lies at an average of 1,200 mm per year per metre and it decreases in the east, in Vulkanland Steiermark, to 800 mm. As a result of these climatic opposites, wines with a variety of bouquet & flavour are vinified in the Steiermark like in no other wine country.
The amounts of rainfall, especially in the Weststeiermark & Südsteiermark, may seem high compared to other European viticultural regions and may not always make wine production any easier, but this will be beneficial if climate change continues to cause more extended periods of drought. Another special feature of the Styrian climate interface is the tendency toward violent thunderstorms, often in combination with hail – and the many foggy days in the year.
On most days every autumn, intense sunlight hits the steep slopes and heats up the soil and the plants. The cold, which sets in at night, flows down from the vineyards into the valleys, creating a frequently enormous temperature swing, which exerts a considerable effect on the fragrance & bouquet in the grapes. Due to these differences in temperature – which occur almost daily in the autumn – wines are produced in all three regions of the Steiermark that show a variety in flavour that is difficult to find elsewhere in the world.
A wine will be particularly expressive growing in a place the vine feels most comfortable. Almost every growing region has its own climate, which is determined by its location, its proximity to the Alps, the presence of forests, waters, the orientation of the vineyards and other influences. As variable as the climate here is, the soils are equally diverse, just like the contrasting character of the grape varieties harvested in the Steiermark.
On the other side of any vineyard there’s another soil, a different climate & another sort of vine. The Steiermark’s terroirs offer great variety.