Weißgipfler, Veltliner, Grüner, Weißer, Grüner Muskateller, Weißer Muskateller, Manhartsrebe (Austria) · Veltliner (Germany) · Zleni Veltinac (Balkan) · Veltlinske zelené (Czechia, Slovakia) · Veltelini (Hungary)
Grüner Veltliner makes up around one third of the vineyards of Austria. It covers 50 % of the vineyards in the Weinviertel. It is a highly versatile variety but is rarely grown in any other wine regions, and as such remains Austria's real point of difference.
The origins of Grüner Veltliner are a little uncertain, and although the name „Veltliner“ comes from the village of Veltlin in the South Tyrol, there is no trace of the variety in the vicinity today. It would seem that the grape originally hails from the northern part of Lower Austria. Grüner Veltliner can be traced back to medieval times when it was part of the „mixed plantings“ found in vineyards at the time. It was not until the 1930s when more individual grape varieties started to be planted separately that it was really recognised as a quality grape variety in its own right.
Genetic research into the variety's origins is currently underway in Austria and it seems fairly certain that the Grüner Veltliner is a direct descendant of the Traminer grape variety. Grüner Veltliner is probably also related to Roter Veltliner, a speciality of the Donauland, which also counts Zierfandler, Rotgipfler and Neuburger (unique to the Thermenregion) in its genetic family. The exact genetic connection between Grüner Veltliner and Roter Veltliner, however, is yet to be established.
Grüner Veltliner responded extremely well to the „Hochkultur“ method of vine training developed in Lower Austria by Lenz Moser in the 1930s. At that time Lower Austria was planted primarily with Sylvaner, but Grüner Veltliner responded so well to the microclimate, terroir and vine training method, that it soon took precedence over Sylvaner. Plantings of Sylvaner dwindled dramatically, and there is virtually none present today, Grüner Veltliner reigning supreme. Even today excellent results can be achieved with the „Hochkultur“ method as long as the yield is limited.
Cool nights are important for Grüner Veltliner in order to achieve perfect acidity and aromatic expression, the grapes ripen fairly late, and therefore benefit from the warm summer and autumn days that Austria's continental climate offers.
While perhaps at its best on primary rock, covered with a fertile top soil of either loess or shale, Grüner Veltliner is exceptionally versatile and works well on a variety of soils, including chalk. In general, Grüner Veltliner prefers soils with good drainage, so that the roots remain fairly dry, and a relatively dry climate (annual rainfall in Lower Austria is 500mm on average).
Grüner Veltliner wines are usually an excellent expression of their terroir, but a „classic“ Grüner Veltliner is known for its spicy, smoky character with a distinctive white pepper and tobacco bouquet. Fruit character can range from citrussy to rich, peachy flavours, and there is always an excellent dose of balancing acidity.
The most prominent characteristic of this grape variety, is its fantastic suitability to accompany food. Where other grape varieties above all in their youth - have too much of a dominant, pointed or one-dimensional effect, the Grüner Veltliner harmonically adapts. With advanced maturity the wine reveals the potential of these characteristics. GV matures extremely well but it is hard to get wines older than a view years as Austrians like to drink it very young - even the late harvested qualities.