The Wachau wine region is located in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) in Austria. It occupies a narrow valley of the Danube between the towns of Melk and Krems. Riesling and Grüner Veltliner from its steep from its steep north bank from Weissenkirchen past Dürnstein to Krems are considered among Austria’s finest. 

Geology: Old, crystalline consolidated rocks form the steep slopes of the Danube Valley with for instance, various gneisses, amphibolites, marbles and quartzites. First and foremost is the finely convoluted Gföhler Gneiss, followed by a variety, on the basis of composition and structure, of paragneiss and the hard granodiorite gneiss of Spitz. Basic rock layers in the form of dark amphibolites which originated as lavas from submarine volcanoes, often alternate with the paragneiss. Marbles with characteristic grey-white banding occur in the western Wachau area.

In the deeper part of the valley flank between Wösendorf and Weißenkirchen there is an old landslide mass of weathered and chaotic layered rock and boulders. The plane of motion is marked by kaolin and red loam. Small remnants of gravels, sands, silts and clays, such as at Spitzer Burgberg and near Weißenkirchen, belong to the Molasse Zone and formed from rivers and marine transgressions during the period between 30 and 15 million years ago.

Loess is often encountered in the Wachau area as a thin layer upon the older rocks. Coarse river gravels with a covering of fine flood sediments form the present valley floor of the Danube.

Grape varieties: Chardonnay (‘Feinburgunder’).

Wine styles–Riesling: Young Wachau Rieslings tend to be steely in youth, showing lime flavours with age which become honeyed and petrol-like (Giles MacDonogh: 1992, p.34).


Certified BiodynamicNikolaihof-Wachau.

No certification: Prager.


Giles MacDonogh, The Wine and Food of Austria (Mitchell Beazley, 1992), p.34

The Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford University Press, 2006). 

The Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p.276.

Wines of Austria.