Landschaft, © Paul Landl

History of winegrowing

Winegrowing since Roman times

The sunny region south of Vienna has been used as a winegrowing area for more than 2000 years. Roman legionnaires, who were stationed in Carnuntum and Vindobona, improved the existing viticulture material with vines from Italy and they also brought their knowledge of winemaking in the province of Pannonia in addition to the plants.

Several Roman thermal baths, after which the region was later named, were developed at the sulphur springs in and around the settlement of Aquae (the current spa town of Baden) at around the same time.

In 1141, the Cistercian monks of the Heiligenkreuz Abbey in the thermal region established the Freigut Thallern, which is one of the oldest wineries in Austria. In the 13th century, the region was granted the right of "Leutgebens", i.e. the right to serve wine. At that time, the custom of those offering their own heuriger wine for sale displaying a bush of pine twigs came to pass.

Winegrowing in the region suffered a severe setback during the Turkish wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, when several crops were destroyed. A quick recovery was ensured not least by the Teutonic Order, which planted Blauburgunder grapes here for the first time from 1760.

The Austrian imperial family also knew to appreciate the high quality of wines from the thermal region. Emperor Ferdinand I. had his own tunnel dug to preserve the best sites when building the Southern Railway in 1840.