Vulkanland Steiermark or Steirisches Vulkanland is a region in Styria, Austria. It was formerly known as Süd-Oststeiermark or South-East Styria. For many centuries, the region was the centre of an ongoing borderland dispute, hence the presence of imposing castles and fortified towns sitting on basalt clifftops such as Riegersburg, Schloss Kapfenstein and others.
Geography: Four main wine roads link the picturesque hills and dales, and a good port of call is the vinotheque in St. Anna am Aigen, that stocks virtually all of the region’s wines. There are also a wide selection of tourist attractions, including the thermal health spa resorts, located along the volcanic fault. The most significant wine-growing towns are Bad Radkersburg, Feldbach, Gleisdorf, Hartberg, Kapfenstein, Klöch, Riegersburg, St. Peter, Straden, Tieschen and Weiz.
In the north of the region, the Ringkogel vineyards near Hartberg reach a peak of 650 metres above sea level, amongst Austria’s highest cultivated vines. The climate is described as illyric, meaning that the continental effects of the hot and dry Pannonian climate meet the warm and humid Mediterranean influences. The majority of the vines are cultivated on warm soils of volcanic tuffs, basalt, sand, loam and weathered schists and gneisses.
Key Towns: Bad Gleichenberg. | Fürstenfeld. | Hartberg. | Kapfenstein. | Klöch. | St Peter am Ottersbach. | St. Anna am Aigen. | Straden.
Economy: The majority of the wines are sold through the Buschenschank wine taverns or cellar doors.
Tourism: Styrian Vulkanland is one of Austria’s most unspoilt tourist destinations, popular for its well signposted themed hiking routes.
Regional specialities: Styrian pumpkin seed oil.
Terroir: The vineyards form pockets on fertile slopes comprising deposits left by long extinct volcanos in a unique wine landscape. The vines are cultivated compactly around the wine-growing towns of Klöch, St. Anna am Aigen and Straden.
Vineyard area: 1,400 hectares (about the same as the Margaux AOC.
Wine styles: The aromatic Traminer is a regional speciality.
Wine styles: Vulkanland Steiermark has a wide variety of wines, more so than in other Austrian regions.
Grape varieties: Gelber Muskateller or Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (w). | Grauburgunder or Pinot Gris (w). | Morillon or Chardonnay (w). | Riesling (w). Sauvignon Blanc (w). | Traminer. | Weisburgunder or Pinot blanc (w). | Welschriesling (w). | Zweigelt (r).
Certified Biodynamic: Weingut Ploder Rosenberg.
Website: Wines of Austria.