At Hahndorf Hill we are passionate about Austrian varieties and are pioneering Gruner Veltliner, Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and St Laurent in Australia.
It is our familiarity with Blaufrankisch, which has grown at Hahndorf Hill for nearly 35 years, that led us ultimately to its exciting white counterpart - Gruner Veltliner.
Having been unable to source Gruner plant material in Australia, we managed in 2006 to import three different clones directly from Austria, and again in 2009 a further three clones/clonal selections from Austria, all of which passed successfully through the Australian quarantine system.
In 2010 we released our debut vintage - which we affectionately named Gru. This was the first production of Gruner in South Australia (and the second within Australia, the first being Lark Hill from the Canberra wine region in 2009).
Gruner Veltliner defined
Gruner Veltliner is a noble white grape variety whose spiritual home is in Austria but, because of its extraordinary qualities and complexity, is now being planted around the globe.
Stylistically, this variety is amazingly versatile with wines ranging from the fine and refreshingly vibrant, all the way through to rich, seductive and layered wines of glorious complexity and deliciousness that are also profoundly age-worthy.
The two most important defining features of Gruner Veltliner wines are that they have texture and savouriness - and it is this texture that gives this variety that fantastic mouthfeel and makes this variety such a killer match at the dinner table!
The savouriness can include features such as salty soy sauce, dried sage, loose tobacco, fennel seed and wild thyme.
There can be - but is not invariably so - a white pepper component which is related to this variety's high levels of Rotundone. Some Austrian commentators believe that the absence or presence of this white pepper may be yield related, temperature related or to other possible factors.
Being an aromatic grape variety, there will be additional charms playing a supporting role to the textural and savoury elements. A range of citrus - from bright lime through to ruby grapefruit - can join the joyous tumble of stone fruit, apple, pear or even tropical notes such as guava or pineapple.
Happily match this wine to all seafoods and white meats and it's exceptionally exciting with the most hard to match vegetarian food options. Our classic style, Gru Gruner Veltliner, is also startlingly good with rare beef!
Gru becomes a hit
After 13 vintages our Gru continues to be enthusiastically received by the wine critics, who applaud its fresh feel and varietal authenticity.
In The Sydney Morning Herald, Huon Hooke wrote of our debut vintage: 'I was shocked by how authentic an Adelaide Hills gruner veltliner tasted. It's a strikingly close replica of the Austrian model.'
Since then, our Gruners have been awarded Gold Medals at the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge in Austria, at both the Frankfurt International Trophy and the Berlin Wine Trophy competitions in Germany, and at the Decanter World Wine Awards and the London Wine Competition in the UK. In addition, they have been awarded 17 Trophies within Australia, including the Best Wine of Show Trophy at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 2020 and also Best Wine of Show Trophy at the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show 2022. Both our Gru Gruner Veltliner and White Mischief Gruner Veltliner have been honoured by being included on James Halliday's Top 100 Wines list on several occasions.
Commenting on our Gruner Veltliner journey, James Halliday wrote: '2010 marked the first release of a South Australian gruner veltliner and Hahndorf Hill has led the way ever since.'
The HHW Gru has made waves on the international stage, too. Austria's influential Falstaff magazine rated our 2012 Gru as the best Gruner Veltliner outside of Austria in its 2013 International Gruner Veltliner Tasting. For the full results, click here. And in 2022, Falstaff International magazine included the Hahndorf Hill Gru Gruner Veltliner 2018 on their list of 'The Best Of Global Grüner Veltliner'.
In addition, our Gru Gruner Veltliner 2017 was ranked as the joint top-rated example outside of Austria, together with another winner from Germany, in the Global Gruner Challenge 2019. The Challenge was held in Austria by the country's influential Vinaria magazine in conjunction with Winestate magazine. 170 Gruner Veltliners wines from both within and outside Austria were tasted in this international competition. The top 12 wines included 10 Gruners from Austria, one from Germany and one from Australia (the Hahndorf Hill Gru Gruner Veltliner 2017). This Hahndorf Hill Gruner achieved 4˝ stars and was ranked alongside top Gruner Veltliners from Austria's most famous and iconic wineries in the Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal wine regions.
Recent international awards
In 2020 our Gru Gruner Veltliner 2019 was rated as the top Gruner Veltliner, with the only Gold Medal awarded in the Gruner Veltliner category, at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards 2020, London. This was despite competition from celebrated Gruner producers in Austria. More recently, at the London Wine Competition 2021, the Gru Gruner Veltliner 2020 was the highest rated Gruner Veltliner with a Gold Medal and the Hahndorf Hill Reserve Gruner Veltliner 2019 was the second highest rated Gruner Veltliner, also with a Gold Medal award.
Our different styles of Gruner
We now produce four different styles of Gruner Veltliner: