It's perfectly fitting that Austrian/ Germanic grape varieties grow at Hahndorf Hill Winery, as our boutique vineyard is located at the edge of historic Hahndorf village, the oldest-surviving German settlement in Australia.
Hahndorf Hill's first owner was a German migrant who arrived in the early 1990s and who quickly planted his favourite red varieties, Trollinger and Blaufrankisch (otherwise known as Lemberger in Germany).
A decade later, Hahndorf Hill was taken over by ourselves - the new owners, Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson. We too were migrants (but from South Africa), and we were extremely happy to continue with the Germanic/ Austrian theme, subsequently adding Gruner Veltliner, Zweigelt and St Laurent to the property.
Our research had indicated to us that the Adelaide Hills is very well suited to the growing of these varieties, as our region's climate shares many similarities with Austria's top wine regions where warm days are balanced by cold nights.
Australia's first Austrian varietal wine
In the early vintages, our Blaufrankisch and Trollinger grapes were blended to make a popular, dry-style rosé, but in 2008 we took the plunge and produced our debut Blaufrankisch wine - a seductively smooth, medium-bodied red which became the first Austrian varietal wine to be made in Australia.
Our 2008 Blaufrankisch proved to be a great success, taking out a trophy and two gold medals. Our 2009 Blaufrankisch vintage also took out a trophy and went on to scoop a gold medal at the prestigious Vienna International Wine Challenge in Austria!
In 2012 Hahndorf Hill became the first Australian winery to produce a wine made from Austria's other favourite red grape, Zweigelt, and it is currently being used in our Zsa Zsa Zweigelt label. This is a perfumed, spicy, medium-bodied red that is perfect for light summer sipping. In addition, we have now produced the first Australian St Laurent wine, The Foundling Saint Laurent 2020, which is due for release in 2023. This is yet another exotic Austrian variety that holds great promise for our cool-climate wine portfolio.
Perfect soil for our Austrian red varieties
The soils at Hahndorf Hill vineyard have an extraordinary range of diversity, as indeed is the case in many parts of the Adelaide Hills region, which is blessed with some of the most ancient soils on the planet. It is estimated that its sediments were deposited between 500 and 870 million years ago.
Whilst our Gruner Veltliner is nurtured by loamy topsoils that are rich in red-blue slate, our red varieties that consist of Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Shiraz and now also St Laurent, have all been planted in ancient clay-loam topsoils that are brimming with ironstone, over red clay subsoil. The ironstone appears as small-sized structural aggregates that are polyhedral, lenticular or blocky - as per the opposite image. This combination of ironstone and clay is perfect for our red varieties, and especially for the Shiraz and the Blaufrankisch, as it helps to express a gentle spiciness in these wines.
Discover more about Austrian red grape varieties
Keen to learn more about Austrian reds? Click on the links below.
The Rise of Blaufränkisch Wine
The spread of Blaufränkisch
Austria's Red Wines are Ready for Prime Time
Blaufrankisch is Austria's terroir red
The Glorious Grapes Defining Austrian Red Wine
Everything You Never Knew About the Wines of Austria
Austria's great reds
Blaufrankisch of the blue Danube
The reds of Burgenland
The big deal about Blaufrankisch
Guide to Austrian wine regions
An introduction to Blaufrankisch and Grüner Veltliner
Austria's native reds
Austrian wines you should try