The white grape variety comes from Austria. There are more than 40 synonyms that testify to the great age of the vine and its earlier widespread use. These are, among others, Zierfandler Rouge(France); Zierfandler Rosso(Italy); Zerjavina, Zerjavina Crvena(Croatia); Gumpoldskirchner, Raifler, Reifler, Roter Reifler, Roter Zierfandler, Rothhinschen, Rubiner, Spätrot, Spätroter, Spätroter Gumpoldskirchner(Austria); Cirfandli, Keson Piros, Nemes Cirfandli, Piros Cirfandli(Hungary). The main name is also used in different spellings for other grape varieties (see under ornamental vine varieties). The variety must not be confused with the Silvaner (Grüner Zierfandler) or Zinfandel varieties because of apparent synonyms, morphological or name similarities. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2000, it is probably a natural cross between Traminer (Savagnin Blanc) and Roter Veltliner.
The exact origin is most likely Lower Austria; Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy, mentioned in some sources, is unlikely. The medium to late-maturing, somewhat yield-insecure vine is sensitive to frost, as well as susceptible to botrytis and downy mildew. The synonym "Spätroter" is derived from the fact that the berries only turn red when fully ripe. It produces extract-rich, alcohol-rich, acidic white wines with spicy aromas of orange and peach, and very good ageing potential. In Austria, the vineyard area covers 85 hectares, 79 of which are in the Thermenregion wine-growing region; mainly in the municipality of Gumpoldskirchen (hence Gumpoldskirchner). Here it is often blended with the Rotgipfler variety (with the same parents, by the way) to form the local speciality Spätrot-Rotgipfler. In Hungary, 32 hectares are planted with this variety. In 2010, a total of 117 hectares of vineyards were designated (Kym Anderson).
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)