A journey to Vulkanland Steiermark: “Volcanic Hillsides & Spicy Wines”.

by Elena

Styria is known to be the prime Austrian travel destination for foodies. Many titles, such as the so-called “Culinary Capital City Graz“, hint towards the region being a great destination for anybody who loves great food. And truth be told, the density of excellent local producers- wine, juices, schnapps, vinegar, oil, ham, cheese, chocolate – is especially high in the Vulkanland district, an area in Eastern Styria. I have already travelled and eaten my way through here in 2014, whereas this year adds another interesting component to the mix: Wine tastings and viticulture portraits. Worth noting when travelling around the Vulkanland district is the highly aromatic Traminer, which we have sampled at all our tasting stops in the area.

Altogether on this trip, we have visited and stayed in all three wine growing districts of Styria: Besides the Vulkanland Steiermark, I will tell you more about the Schilcherland wine growing district as well as the South Styrian Wine Road in my next blog posts.

Los geht's im Schlummerparadies Vulkanland: Starten wir den (Ein)T(r)ag mit einem Frühstück. Aber nicht irgendeinem Frühstück, nein. Sondern einem ganz besonderen: Dem aus der Schinkenmanufaktur Vulcano in Auersbach in der Oststeiermark.

Starting our journey in the Vulkanland with a sampling of the famous Austrian “Vulcano” ham, known for its excellent meat quality.

 

Auch hier sind übrigens erste Spuren des späteren Weinerlebnisses zu finden: Eine gut sortierte Vinothek ergänzt das erlesene, vielfältige und überaus schmackhafte Schinken-Angebot.

The “Vulcano” World of Ham, which can be visited as part of a truly insightful tour, also offers a well selected wine shop with wines from Styria …

 

... denn was wir hier essen, ist alles außer gewöhnlich: Zart schmilzt dieser 15 Monate gereifte Schinken im Mund, dazu gibt es - selbstredend - das erste Gläschen Wein.

… and of course, the same Styrian wine is offered to top off any ham tasting following a tour of the premises.

 

Und habt Ihr schon mal einen echten "Schinkenhimmel" gesehen? Auch so etwas gibt es bei der Führung durch die Vulcano Schinkenmanufaktur zu bestaunen.

Have you ever seen a “ham heaven”? An image more known to Spain or Italy, this Austrian ham will surprise and delight you with its excellent taste. Some hams are stored here for years, hence their wonderful melt-in-your-mouth taste.

 

An overview of the Vulkanland food & wine district, and which places not to miss.

Das Steirische Vulkanland beschreibt eine nahezu märchenhaft-schöne Kulturlandschaft, die ganz auf den hier vorherrschenden Weinbau zurückzuführen ist.

Pictures like these appear out of a fairy tale: The cultural landscapes of Eastern Styria have predominantly been shaped by the wine growing trade.

 

Viticulture in this area spans a surface of 1.500 hectares; the main grape varieties are well-known Austrian varieties, such as WelschrieslingWeißburgunderSauvignon BlancMorillon or the aromatic Traminer. If you’d like to know more about the terroir, the single wine growing districts of the Vulkanland, as well as more details about the 200 plus wine estates, you are welcome to check out the (well-done English) website about “Austrian Wine”: https://www.austrianwine.com/our-wine/wine-growing-regions/steiermark-styria/vulkanland-steiermark. Starting with the 2018 vintage, you may also find the prestigious certificate of origin Vulkanland Steiermark DAC (“Districtus Austriae Controllatus”), a well-known international quality label that includes nine different varieties. We recommend you visit Richard Hofner, managing director and head sommelier at the Gesamtsteirische Vinothek in Sankt Anna am Aigen, a wine shop whose tasting range includes wines from all over Styria.

 

150+ open bottles for tasting, more than 200 tasty items for sale: Make sure to visit the wine shop “Gesamtsteirische Vinothek” in Sankt Anna am Aigen.

"Luftig" und überaus einladend, betreten wir den Empfangs- und Verkostungsraum der Gesamtsteirischen Vinothek.

An “airy” welcome to the spacious, modern tasting room at the wine shop in Vulkanland, Styria.

 

Hier empfängt uns Richard Hofner "wort- und weingewandt" mit einem überaus interessanten Querschnitt durch typisch-steirische Rebsorten, Weinbaugebiete und Winzer-Koryphäen.

We are welcomed by Richard Hofner, who loves to tell us all he knows (and that’s a lot!) about Styrian wine, its main wine growing districts as well as top wine growers known nationally and internationally.

 

Persönlich entdecke ich hier den "Sämling 88" wieder: Eine überaus aromatische Sorte, die mich an den Gelben Muskateller erinnert und die in meinem Wein-Gedächtnis bereits in Vergessenheit geraten war.

I am happily rediscovering the “Sämling 88” grape variety during this wine tasting: A wine that reminds me of the Gelber Muskateller wine which I love so much.

 

Unterwegs mit Verena Autherith genießen wir den Tag im Sonnenschein auf der Terrasse.

From the terrace of the wine shop, the view in the background ranges all the way towards the border with Slovenia and Hungary.

 

In addition to shopping for wines from Styria, you can buy other regional products, such as quality liqueurs, wine accessories or other local craft items. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time for the so-called “Wine Trail of the Senses” (we have opted for the nearby “Traminer Trail” instead!), it is definitely recommended to do though if you can spare some more time around Sankt Anna am Aigen.

 

Lisa Frühwirth, of the Frühwirth Wine Estate, has us (re)discover the so-called “Klöcher Traminer” wine. Do check out her wine shop and estate.

"Ihr wollt am Traminerweg spazieren gehen? Wart', da komm' i gleich mit!", lacht uns Lisa Frühwirth zur Ankunft auf ihrem Weingut entgegen.

“You want to walk on the Traminerweg Trail? Hang on a second, I’ll come out and join you”, Lisa laughs as she welcomes us at her family-run wine estate.

 

Sie und ihr Mann bewirtschaften insgesamt ... Hektar Rebfläche, vorwiegend mit den Sorten ...

Lisa and her husband Fritz Junior grow wine on a surface area of about 13 hectares, predominantly marked by Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer/Gewürztraminer, Welschriesling and Weissburgunder.

 

Die nahezu vollständig reifen Traminer-Trauben haben es mir Anfang September, kurz vor der Lese, besonders angetan: "Nur zu, natürlich dürft Ihr hier auch ein bisschen naschen", lacht Lisa.

I love nibbling off the ripe Traminer grapes, as we take a walk through the vineyards of the Frühwirth family.

 

Und ist der Blick in diese wunderschön gepflegte Kulturlandschaft nicht einfach etwas ganz Besonderes? Glücklich, wer hier wohnen (und arbeiten?) darf!

Again, don’t you just love the cultural wine landscape around here? All of the gently rolling Vulkanland hills are of volcanic origin, hence the German term “Vulkanland”.

 

Lisa Frühwirth, who guides us around in the afternoon, loves a good laugh and is happy to show us several shortcuts right through the vineyards on our way along the Traminerweg Trail. A week ahead of the grape harvest, we have come at precisely the right time to nibble some ripe grapes here and there. I love that she takes the time to show us some excellent lookout points, places you would not normally find on your own but only with a local.

After a sunny vineyard walk, we get to relax and sit down on her restaurant terrace, adjacent to the main wine shop and cellar area of the wine estate. Do make sure you order a typical “Winzerjause” (a typical food platter of all things good and local), as well as a tasting selection of the acclaimed Weingut Frühwirth wines.

Ehre, wem Ehre gebührt: Blick auf die zahlreichen Auszeichnungen ...

Next to the main wine shop area, you can find an overview of all the national and intentional awards the wine estate has earned.

 

Kurz "über den Zaun g'schaut" haben wir mit einem Besuch und Verkostung im Weingut Klöch und dieser markanten Vulkanland DAC-Statue ebenfalls.

On our way around the area, we come across this Vulkanland Steiermark DAC statue, paying tribute to the area’s DAC wines.

 

Danke für die spontane Verkostung, liebes Team des Weingut Müller Klöch!

Thank you for another quick tasting stop, dear team at Müller Klöch Wine Estate!

 

Diese Terrasse lädt anschließend zum Genießen ein ...

We love hanging out at the small restaurant terrace of the family-run wine estate Frühwirth after our sunny afternoon walk …

 

... abschließende Jause und Weingenuss auf dem Weingut Frühwirth: Danke, Lisa Frühwirth und Team!

… and why not treat yourself to some more delicious local snacks? Thank you very much for having us, Lisa Frühwirth and team!

 

If you care to check out even more landscape photography and winesome travel tips from Styria, I recommend you head over to my Flickr Photo Gallery:

 

Disclaimer: I have been invited by the Austrian Wine Marketing Agency as well as local partners to visit the wine growing districts of Styria. All opinions are my own.

You may also like

Join the discussion

This website uses cookies to make your visit more efficient and to offer you more user-friendliness. By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies. Accept Read More

Cookies Policy