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Trending Now - Grüner Veltliner

Well trending yes, but unfortunately for this underappreciated Austrian white grape, the trend may be downward.  In what is a typical wine cycle of fad and fade, Grüner Veltliner's hay day may have been in the late 1990's and early part of this century.  Sommeliers raced to add GruVe (pronounced groovy) as it was known, to wine lists around the United States.  Grüner was perceived as a welcomed alternative to Chardonnay and its obscurity added to its allure.  By the early 2000's however, Grüner had been replaced with new fads, Albarino, Picpoul and Verdelho.  Despite having completed the cycle, Grüner should remain a stalwart member of the classic white wine varieties.

Half the enjoyment of Grüner Veltliner may come from pronouncing the name.  Phonetically it is grew ner felt LEEN er, made best with a slight rolling of the “r” in Grüner and heavy accent on the LEEN syllable of Veltliner. This brief clip from Laurenz V, a leding producer of Grüner from Austria, pokes fun at the pronounciation while educating.

Grüner Veltliner is a native of Austria, and its parentage is the subject of considerable debate.  Believed to be the offspring of Savagnin and an obscure indigenous Austrian varietal, it took until the 1930's for the name Grüner Veltliner to be officially recognized.  Thanks to a vine training system developed by Lenz Moser known as the Hochkultur or “High Culture” system, the variety took hold, and by the later part of the nineteenth century, became Austria's most planted variety. 

Where is Grüner Veltliner Grown?

Rudi Pichler Vineyard
Rudi Pichler Vineyard
Austria – Grüner Veltliner remains the most widely populated white grape variety in Austria, although the 33,403 acres of vineyard in 2009 had decreased by more than 20% since 1999.  Most Grüner available for purchase in the United States originates from one of the five Austrian Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC), where Grüner Veltliner is a permitted grape variety - Weinviertel, Leithaberg, Traisental, Kremstal, and Kampstal - the most prolific being the Weinviertel and Kremstal regions.

Austrian producers to look for: Ewald Gruber, Pfaffl, Rudi Pichler, Weingut Hirsch, Willi Bründlmayer.

Eastern Europe – Grüner Veltliner is widely planted in the Southern Moravia region of the Czech Republic, as well as in Slovakia, Hungry and Croatia.  Despite the prevalence of the grape variety in the region, very limited quantities of wine from this region are imported to the United States.

United States – A handful of wineries around the U.S. have experimented with growing and bottling Grüner.  Regions that have more challenging growing seasons such as the Finger Lakes in New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Long Island and even New Jersey have tried their hand at Grüner.

United States producers to look for: Illahe Estate (Willamette Valley), Syncline (Columbia Gorge), Dr. Konstantin Frank (Finger Lakes),  Solminer, Dancing Coyote (California), Black Ankle Vineyards (Maryland), Baker & Brain (Edna Valley), Bethel Heights Vineyard (Willamette Valley), Tatomer (Edna Valley) and Darcie Kent Vineyards (Monterey County).

Rest of the World – Small quantities of Grüner Veltliner are also planted in the Adelaide Hills region of Australia, and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

Grüner Veltliner Styles

Grüner Veltliner is produced in a variety of styles.  The most common style is a light to medium bodied wine with elements of fruit, spiciness (white and black pepper) and minerality.  The color is yellow with green touches, and the acidity produces a lingering freshness.  Grüner can also be aged for years, producing a rich full bodied wine with aromas of citrus and peach reminiscent of white Burgundies.  A small amount of Grüner is used to produce a sparkling wine.

Known as being a great “food wine”, Grüner pairs well with almost any food.  Light meats, fish, curried dishes, and a wide variety of cheeses work well with this food friendly work horse.











White Pepper

Black Pepper

Green Apple
White Peach



Medium (Full bodied in aged styles)
Moderate to high acidity. 

Moderate Alcohol levels

No Tannins



Most Grüner Veltliner wines from Austria are less than $20.  Some of the more well-known producers command prices in the $20 - $50 range.

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