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.
With a wide range of soils, Weinviertel is an area that can produce any type of wine. However, the predominance of loess soil means it is perfect for white grapes in particular with Grüner Veltliner dominating. For Austrians, it is Weinviertel that is the quintessential style of the grape
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