The unusual weather conditions during the 2022 growing season certainly put Austrian winemakers through their paces. Initially, it seemed that it would be a very dry year, were it not for the occasional showers of rain – which not always came at the best of times. However, the great dedication and hard work of Austria’s winemakers were recompensed with ripe, well-balanced white wines with a fine display of fruit. The red wines are outstanding, showing power, structure and velvety tannins.
The 2022 vintage was a little more differentiated than 2021, for example, depending on the grape variety, microclimatic conditions and soil characteristics. Overall, however, the wines display a pronounced ripeness, fine fruit and harmonious acidity. With a harvest volume of 2.5 million hectolitres, 2022 is slightly higher than the long-term average (2.4 million hl). Repeated rainfall before the main harvest resulted in a higher harvest volume than was initially expected because of the drought.
Lower Austria – Whites With Varietal Typicity, Ripe Reds
The weather conditions described above essentially applied to the whole of the region, yet some of the autumnal precipitation in the western part of the Niederösterreich wine-growing regions was heavy, which necessitated a rapid counteractive response. In general, the wineries in Niederösterreich are expected to deliver ripe white wines with fine fruit aromas and a little less acidity than in the previous two years. Dense single-vineyard and Reserve wines could also be produced without complication.
The flagship variety Grüner Veltliner expresses a pronounced varietal typicity, albeit slightly less peppery than usual, as do the surprisingly racy Rieslings and the Pinot family, which has benefited from the season’s conditions. Although the wines have slightly less acidity, there was no reason to fear flat or flabby wines. The undesirable effect of the heat, which was seen in the 2000 and 2003 vintages, as well as in certain wines from 2011 and 2018, was not encountered anywhere, regardless of the region or grape variety.
Aromatic varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Muskateller and Traminer also showed their true colours. This was also the case for regional varieties such as Roter Veltliner in Wagram and Rotgipfler and Zierfandler in the Thermenregion.
Red-wine growers also have reason to be delighted. In the red-wine centres of Carnuntum and the southern Thermenregion, winemakers turned unusually small-berried grapes into powerful reds with good structure and mature tannins. These wines should have a promising future ahead of them.