Life's hard in
VINEYARDS AGAINST ALL ODDS
Steep hills, unpredictable weather, a wide range of soil types – Styria would not exactly seem like an eldorado for winegrowers at first sight. But with hard work, experience, and determination, the unique advantages of the region are beginning to show through.
HARD WORK AND BLESSING
Some vineyards in the STK region are close to 100% inclined. What makes hand-picking for STK winemakers so difficult and the use of machinery impossible is a blessing for the wine: the steeper the hills, the more the grapevines are exposed to the sun, in turn rewarding the winegrowers with a higher ripeness. Located at altitudes between 400 and 550 metres above sea level, they are protected from dew and mildew spread by the fog, and the bowl-shaped sites store the heat, protecting them from extreme night frost.
THE SUBSTRATUM OF DIVERSITY
The STK region consists of five different types of soil: sand & gravel, shell-bearing limestone, marls, schists, and soils of volcanic origin that ensure highly diverse and individual characteristics in the wine, from the floral aromas of a gravelly soil to the expressive aromas of grapes grown on meanwhile long-extinct volcanos. Covered in herbs, grass, and other crops, the vineyards are home to countless microorganisms that ensure a highly vital, aerated soil structure.
EXTREME TEMPERATURE VARIATIONS
In the STK region, cool winds from the Alps meet with warmer air masses from the Adriatic. This Mediterranean-Alpine climate provides ideal conditions for the grapevines to produce fully mature grapes on warm summer and autumn days. In addition, diurnal temperature variations of up to 20°C make for cool nights and lend the wines their typical freshness and aroma. This unique climate allows for particularly vital grapevines and is, among other things, responsible for the unmistakeable taste of Styria.
A DAILY CHALLENGE
An average precipitation of more than 1,000 millimetres per year is not at all rare in the STK region, but rather standard. What ensures vigorous growth on the one hand is a health risk for the grapes on the other, and a daily challenge for STK winemakers. In spite of partly sub-tropical temperatures in summer, cool rains drive the average temperature down the line, and a volatile temperature curve fosters the characteristic taste of the grapes.
STK wineries cultivate their vineyards in accordance with Integrated Production guidelines, some of them are even bio-organic. The preservation of beneficial animals and natural landmarks, landscape conservation well beyond their vineyards, and a sustainable approach to energy, resources, and social issues are particularly important to STK winemakers.