The winegrower as mountain farmer
The Steiermark is the most mountainous winegrowing region in Austria, packed onto foothills of the Alps. Here the roads and trails are constantly either going up, or back down – or following along one of the many ridges. To the eye of the visitor, this is very pleasing. But:
Viticulture here is very hard work.
Harvesting the grapes and the often tedious preparatory work must be accomplished by hand. Over a quarter of the slopes have between forty & seventy per cent incline; almost two-thirds of the sites have a gradient of over twenty-six per cent – properly level land is rarely found.
In the Steiermark no two vineyards are identical. So, each winegrower must have a particular wealth of experience, as well as knowledge & infinitely profound sensitivity.
Viticulture in the Steiermark is primarily focused upon the region’s inhabitants. Here the tradition remains of driving to visit the winegrowers on the weekend, to pick up one’s own wines. Also typical of the Steiermark: the traditional wine tavern – called Buschenschank – in which growers offer house-made and local products.
In the past twenty years some of the wine growers have earned international fame with their wines. One now drinks them in Bangkok or in Hong Kong, in New York or London, just like in Berlin or Lyon, Graz or Vienna.