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Young Winegrower. ©Hans Krist

History of Viticulture

Due to its favourable geographical position and the climatic conditions that share some features of Pannonian climate and are ideally suited to winegrowing, the name Perchtoldsdorf has for many centuries been almost synonymous with the tending of vines.

It is hard to say when viticulture was first introduced in the area. The farmers who, around 1000 AD, settled on the eastern outskirts of the Vienna Woods under the protection of a chain of fortified castles, probably concentrated on field crops and animal husbandry. Although the first written winegrowing records date back to 1248, it cannot be excluded that vines were already planted there in the 11th and 12th centuries. Only gradually were more and more fields converted into vineyards. The incentive for the conversion was mainly the higher yield produced by vineyards, the possibility to manage smaller surfaces profitably and the favourable types of land leasing that were developed in viticulture. As a result, almost the entire arable land was planted with vines in the 16th century. At the time, huge profits could be made from exporting large quantities of wine to Bavaria, Upper Austria and Salzburg.

At the end of the 16th century, heavy duties were imposed on this export trade. With the resulting drop in sales, viticulture suffered a decline. Another event that had fatal consequences for the wine industry in Perchtoldsdorf was the Turkish siege of Vienna from July to September 1683. It took a long time until the region recovered from the terrible loss in population. Many of the immigrants settling down in Perchtoldsdorf came from Alpine regions and knew nothing about winegrowing. The first vineyards to be converted into fields and pasture land were the less favourable humid areas in the east of the municipality. Around and after 1700, the export trade ceased completely and wine was predominantly bought by innkeepers and private individuals from the area. Selling the wine by the glass in Perchtoldsdorf itself was still a popular trade. The producers sold the wine that was one or two years old and used what was older for their own needs since it quickly deteriorated in quality.

The vine fretter blight of 1887 brought the severest crisis in history for the wine producers. Many despondent vintners who could not afford the costly and time-consuming change to blight-resistant American vines had to abandon their vineyards that were then sold, often at ridiculously low prices, divided into lots and then built up. From 1880 until 1912, the wine-growing surface declined by 38%, from 248 ha to 154 ha.

Extensive construction activities before and after the two World Wars further diminished vineyard areas in Perchtoldsdorf, leaving only about 14% of the entire municipal territory for the production of wine.

Today, the Buschenschank (Heuriger), a rustic type of wine tavern run by the vintner himself, is the most common outlet where wine from Perchtoldsdorf is sold. About 90% of the quantities produced are sold at such places.

The area around Perchtoldsdorf on the outskirts of the thermal region is ideally suited to producing high-quality wines derived from Welschriesling, Weißburgunder (pinot blanc), Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, Blauer Portugieser and Zweigelt grapes.