WESTSTEIERMARK West Styria is the smallest of the three Styrian (Steiermark) sub-regions in Austria, the others being Vulkanland Steiermark and Südsteiermark. Weststeiermark is billed as one of Europe’s most unspoilt and picturesque wine landscapes. The region is also called Schilcherland, referring to the key wine style here Schilcher, which is made from the Blauer Wildbacher grape and can be made as a light, still or sparkling pink wine, or as a forceful still red.

HISTORY Despite being the smallest wine-growing region in the Steiermark, there is evidence that the Weststeiermark was once home to viticulture as early as the ancient Illyrian Celts, and later by the Romans.

TERROIR The vineyards stretch up steep inclines in a long and narrow tier, some vines growing at a height of 600 metres (984 feet) above sea level, from the foothills of the Koralpe and the Reinischkogel mountains to the border with Slovenia in the south. The undulating nature of the terrain helps protect the vineyards against prevailing winds. The direct path between Ligist in the north, via St. Stefan ob Stainz and down towards Deutschlandsberg and Eibiswald in the south comprises deep valleys, steep inclines, and vineyards dotted with ‘Kellerstöckeln’, or small cellar huts.

GEOLOGY Weststeiermark’s geology is also quite different from its neighbouring regions, and the rocks mainly consist of old gneiss and mica schists. The climate is described as illyric, with warm and humid Mediterranean and southeastern European influences, and relatively high rainfall.

VINEYARD AREA 546 hectares (1,350 acres).

WINE VILLAGES Greisdorf, Gundersdorf, Wildbach and Wies are picturesque and offer scenic views.

WESTSTEIERMARK WINERIES

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