To the north west of Vienna, along the Danube and centred around the town of Tulln lies Wagram, previously known as Donauland. This is a wine-growing district of some 2,730 hectares producing wines including Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and the regional speciality Roter Veltliner.
In the eastern part of the Donauland is Klosterneuberg with its imposing 900 year old monastery (which houses the largest winery in Austria), is the famous research centre and school of viticulture. A place where heaven and earth meet - and the result is wine.
Like many other Austrian wine regions, Wagram's terroir is affected by its distinctly continental climate. Warm breezes coming from the warm Pannonian Plain to the east are tempered by cool Alpine influences from the north. Warm and dry days followed by much cooler nights help to preserve the vital flavour profiles of the grapes.
The Wagram plateau is bordered on its northern side by a ridge 20m (65ft) high that runs parallel to the Danube for around 25km (15 miles). This is an ancient shore of the river, and Wagram's name comes from the word Wogenrain, meaning shore.
Soils in Wagram are more or less uniform across the entire region, with a deep and dominant layer of loess – a point of pride for local vignerons. This loess has good water-storage capacities and there is little need for irrigation during the dry growing season.
Wagram is a well-known area for growing walnuts as well as many grapes.
The walnut is thought to be the oldest tree fruit. It originated in Persia, where findings of the remains of fossilised shells verify that it was already in use there in 7000 BC. From Persia it spread to Central Asia, China and Greece via trade routes. Roman legionaries brought the walnut to the Roman Empire as well as to the lands on the other side of the Alps.
At first, the tree was known in German as Walschbaum, which is derived from the word Walsch or Welsch, the original Germanic term for Celts or the inhabitants of Italy. It was only in the 18th century that the name Walnussbaum came into use. Occasionally the walnut is called “Persian walnut” due to its origin.
Battle of Wagram, July 1809
While it is not a tradition to have a battle every year, there are a large number of re-enactment societies in Austria and this battle is one that is often re-enacted, especially since the 200th anniversary in 2009. It was a turning point in Napolean’s campaign and eventually led to an armistice.