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St. Georgen

The white grape variety was discovered in 2000 in St. Georgen, a district of Eisenstadt in Burgenland (Austria) and named after the place where it was found. For a long time, stories have been told here about a supposedly ancient grapevine on a former vineyard site that was cultivated centuries ago. Michael Leberl from the "Dorfblick" association and the winegrower Hans Moser followed the traces. At the end of May 2000, Leberl found a rose hip perennial on the long overgrown reed Viehtrift, which was used as a vineyard in the Middle Ages and then served as a pasture for hatting, "and above the perennial something green has shone". It is a vine that is already several centuries old, of which only this one example is known so far. As the vine had been hidden in the undergrowth for a very long time under a lack of light, it was very weak and only had small leaves the size of a thumbnail.

St. Georgen - Weintraube und Blätter

In the following years, detailed studies of the St. Georgener Rebe were carried out by experts from the Klosterneuburg Viticulture Institute. The variety was not to be found in any directory and also when comparing it with varieties from neighbouring countries, no results were found. Finally, in 2005, DNA analyses by the Austrian biologist Dr. Ferdinand Regner determined that this is the second parent of Grüner Veltliner; whether it is the father or mother variety is not yet clear. However, the characteristics of St. Georgen have become much more prevalent than those of the traminer, which was already identified as the first parent. The care of the vine has been taken over by the winegrower Hans Moser from St. Georgen.

The history of the former vineyard has also been studied on the basis of historical documents. A mountain book from 1570 shows a small part of the Viehtrift reed as vineyards. In 2009, several eyes were cut off the vine by unknown perpetrators and stolen. In an expert opinion that followed, the ideal value of the ancient plant was estimated at more than € 100,000. In February 2011 a vandalism took place, the vine and a tree standing next to it were cut up. Whether there was a chance of survival was still unclear at that time. However, the survival of the vine has been secured since 2008, as the vine was propagated and grafted at three different locations in Austria.

In May 2011 the vine sprouted again. In September 2013, 2 kg of grapes were finally harvested at the Götzhof experimental vineyard of the Klosterneuburg Viticulture Institute and 1.25 l of wine was pressed by micro-vinification. The tasting of the first wine took place on 20th February 2014. It was certified a fresh, fruity, spicy taste with good aroma and amazing extract. This year, 500 vines were planted out by the Scheiblhofer Wine School in Andau in the experimental vineyard in St. Georgen. One year later, towards the end of September 2015, a total of 481 kg of grapes were harvested. The "Verein zur Kultivierung der St. Georgener Rebe" offers a vine sponsorship. The grape variety could have more than just historical significance in the future.

Picture left: By Ferdinand Regner - Own plant, CC BY 3.0 at, Link
Right image: From Loimo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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