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Traminer / Heida - Weinviertel

Traminer / Heida - Weinviertel

The Weinviertel, or "Wine Quarter" is a large region to the north of Vienna extending as far as the border with the Czech republic. For decades it was the edge of the Western World, right next to the Iron Curtain!

Although this is the largest winegrowing region in Austria, with more than 15,000 hectares of vineyards, it doesn't really seem like wine country as you travel around it, as it is also the breadbasket of Vienna. Vines are scattered on the hillsides and in the most favourable areas amongst other crops - lots of wheat, fruit trees and everything from asparagus to strawberries.

It's a fascinating region architecturally with mediaeval gems of towns such as Retz, with its stunning Baroque centre and miles of underground wine cellars. The region has many more charming wine villages and towns, many with "Kellergassen", streets lined with cellars resembling stuccoed houses. Interesting towns include Eggenburg, Falkenstein and Poysdorf, possibly Austria's most picturesque wine town.

In 2003, Weinviertel was the first region to adopt a new classification system, "Weinviertel DAC", where DAC stands for "Districtus Austriae Controllatus". This is a bit like the French AOC system.

Savagnin /Heida / Traminer / Païen - this is a grape variety you find all over the Alpine regions and further afield.

For me it is one of the great white wine varieties, up there with Chardonnay and Riesling, producing great wines on several continents and able to go from sparkling to dessert with great ageing potential.

If you haven't tried the Swiss and Austrian versions, you owe it to yourself to try. Valais Heida in particular is typical - an incredibly impressive expression of the grape which has won gold medals.

The more exhuberant Gewürztraminer is a closely related grape - for more information, please go to that page.

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  • Traminer Sandgrube Weingut Hofbauer

    Styria - an intriguing terroir for Traminer, as you'll see!

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Origins and Connections

The origins of this grape are not without debate. It most likely began in north east France and south west Germany, though some believe that it is from Egypt and others, with no botanical proof, say that it is not from Vitis Vinifera but from Vitis Aminea or even other strains of Vitis.

Heida is the parent or grandparent of an impressive line-up of offspring, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Silvaner, Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, Verdelho and Traminette, among many others. It is related to Pinot but the parent/offspring relationship cannot be defined.

In Switzerland

In Switzerland it is grown only in the Valais, principally in the vineyards around Visperterminen at an altitude of some 1100 metres above sea level, where the Föhn, a warm southerly wine, helps ripen the grapes. This is a truly old variety. The first written records date from 1586 when it was referred to as "Heyda", but it has been in use much longer. Indeed, the name Heida itself is local patois for "ancient" or "from an earlier time" and the French name "Païen" descends from "Pagan", i.e. before Christianity.

Plantings today are still limited with just some 15 hectares in commercial production. In the vineyard, Heida's grapes are small and compact and are yellowish and aromatic. It ripens mid-season, later than Chasselas, but before Petite Arvine. Heida makes, in my view, some of the best Valaisan white wines which can be complex and powerful, with exotic fruit flavours including quince. Heida ages quite well and should last 5 years without problems. They can also be versatile when food matching, going well with many vegetable dishes, cold meats and fish.

In Austria

Most Traminer in Austria is either Roter Traminer or Gewurtztraminer. There is, however, a rare grape called Gelber Traminer. Do not expect to find any Traminer on our website. Have a look at the details for each wine and see what it really is!

Austrian Wine Regions

Burgenland

Burgenland

Big reds, superlative dessert wines and natural treasures.

Carnuntum

Carnuntum

Red wine terroir and ancient roman cities

Kamptal

Kamptal

Elegant and spicy wines on hills north of the Danube.

Kremstal

Kremstal

Mineral Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.

Leutschach in Styria

Styria

Impossible rolling hills, world class whites and unique rosé.

Thermenregion

Thermenregion

Directly south of Vienna. Serious red wines and characterful whites.

Traisental

Traisental

Wine terraces South of the Danube. Amazing value wines.

Vienna

Vienna

Vienna - the only capital which is its own wine region.

Wachau

Wachau

Some of the best whites on the planet.

Wagram

Ancient rock and modern winemaking.

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Weinviertel

North of Vienna - the home of classic Grüner Veltliner.

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