Austrian wine takes a bow at expo


By Ye Jun
BEIJING, Dec. 1 — Austrian winemaker Stefan Potzinger was proud and a little surprised at Prowine China 2013, held in Shanghai for three days in November. Eight of the wines he brought to the wine expo won medals at the China Sommelier Wine and Spirit Challenge.
Potzinger and his wife hail from a small vineyard of 18 hectares in Sudsteiermark, a region in south Austria. They focus on making white wine, which the region is famous for, handpicking grapes of 10 varieties to make wines that taste fruity and mineral.
Gelber Muskateller 2012, for example, is an aperitif wine Potzinger suggests to pair with Chinese food, because of its acidity, fruitiness and good balance. Many of the wines are considered good because of the freshness.
“In Europe, Austria is famous for its white wines,” says Potzinger. “The cold weather from the Alps to the north gives it a good flavor.”
But the country also produces good red wine, says Thomas Gratzer, marketing representative of Zantho winery. Zantho has 90 hectares of vineyard based in east Austria’s Neusiedlersee region.
Zantho’s Zweigelt Burgenland 2012 is an easy-going red, elegant with a good balance. Umathum Joiser kirschgarten’s Blaugrankisch 2009, on the other hand, is considered a grand cru, with a silky, smoky and spicy taste.
Gratzer says 17 percent of all of Austria’s production is red wine from the Zweigelt grape. The most common white wine grape, on the other hand, is Gruener Veltliner.
Austria’s sweet dessert wine is also quite famous. Winery Schuckert’s Eiswine Gruener Veltliner 2012 was selected by the China wine challenge judges as the best sweet wine at Prowine China 2013.
It is the second year of Prowine in China. The event attracted nearly 600 exhibitors from 28 countries. It’s affiliated with the important Prowine expo in Dusseldorf, Germany, usually held in March. Wines from small countries made a strong appearance at Prowine China. Countries such as Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Georgia and Bulgaria presented their wines alongside traditional strong importers such as France and Australia.
“In the past three or four years I have seen smaller wine countries becoming more important in the market,” says Hermann Mayer, chief executive officer of WM, a wine marketing agency based in Vienna.
There are representatives from 30 Austrian wineries at the show, says Mayer, because China has become more important as a wine market. Mayer says Austria exported 250,000 euro [db:内容2]