you are here - / itchy feet / southern styria

Listen Radio Swiss Jazz

Photo Gallery
Southern Styria

Sleep, eat and drink
Winzarei Tement
Weingut Polz
Magnothek Tement

  New Content

  About this Website


  Top of page

southern styria     walk the wine roads

Josefina & Wolfgang Bleier
Austria, August 2014

This summer was a very special one. We have welcomed our daughter’s new baby girl in our family. Of course we wanted to spend as much time as possible with the newborn baby and have therefore shortened our summer holiday. Now we are back to Vienna from a short but very nice summer vacation in Southern Styria, one of Austria's most interesting provinces. The region is often compared to Italy's Tuscany for its distinctive landscapes, but to us it is a special place, one of a kind.
Southern Styria is located in the southeast of Austria. It is a relatively small region bordering the Austrian federal state Burgenland in the east and Slovenia in the south. The hilly landscapes are shaped by vineyards and forests, small villages or farmhouses sit on top of the hills. In this region there is almost no piece of land where wine isn’t cultivated. When we arrived there it was love at first sight.


Winzarei Tement

We stayed at the "Winzarei Tement", which turned out to be an extremely nice and comfortable accommodation. The inviting facility belongs to the well-known, family owned vineyard estate "Tement"
Two guest houses, the "Steinhaus" and the "Herrenhaus", which stand on top of the hill "Zieregg" next to the border to Slovenia, provide six beautifully furnished apartments in individual styles. It's so nice to see how much they care about detail. Everything is done right, and the view down to the vineyards of the estate and the gentle rolling hills of Slovenia further away is magic. It is a place of silence and tranquility. The Landlady herself takes care about arriving guests, and as everybody else at the Winzarei she isn’t just nice and friendly but also very much down-to-earth. At our arrival in the apartment a delicious snack was waiting in the kitchen and the refrigerator was filled with bottles of wine made on the estate. Tomato, paprika, chili, and zucchini were growing in front of our apartment's terrace; its a very nice treat to the guests. Voilà - let’s cook!


Every morning a picnic basket filled with mouth-watering food was waiting in front of our entrance door, the basket decorated with fresh flowers growing on the estate. It contained much more delicacies than we ever needed. What a delightful way to start our day. No doubt, we have made a good choice for our vacation in Southern Styria. The "Winzarei Tement" is a lovely, calm place - simply exceptional. Should God once retire, he may do it there.

Walk the wine roads

Southern Styria is a great place to go for hiking. It has countless trails and most of the streets connecting the villages are very small with only little traffic. During the warm season the bigger roads winding up and down the hills are an Eldorado for people who parade their top down vintage cars and for bikers. The best views to admire the picturesque landscapes of Southern Styria of course one will have when setting out for a hike. On the day when we’ve been walking the "Berghausen trail" we had to escape from a quickly approaching thunderstorm. The only chance to stay dry was to get into a vivarium for bears, where we could find shelter in a pig-stall together with pot-bellied pigs. While waiting for the rain and thunder to stop we could watch not only the pigs but also Willi, a huge brown bear, from very close distance. Willi did not care at all about the rain and not too much about us, since he was quite busy in finding some food and scratching his itchy back.


Another nice route leads from "Berghausen-Zieregg" to "Sulztal" partly on the small road "Wielitsch", which forms the border between Austria and Slovenia, and partly on a trail in the midst of vineyards. Even though it wasn’t that far to walk we spent one whole day in that area, because we couldn’t stop gazing here and there at the beautiful scenery. There is no need to bring much food but water for a hike, because en route one will always come by one of those taverns called "Buschenschank". These are family run wine taverns where excellent cold cuts, wine and cooked dessert is served. The rule is that any food served is to be home-made, beverages include only wine, water and locally made natural juices, but no industrial soft drinks ("Like"). The regulations relevant to Austrian wine taverns, for example whether cold food only or both, cold and warm food may be served to the guests, are based on federal state law, which is different in various provinces.
Anyhow, in Southern Styria it's all about fresh and nutritious slow food. On our walk to "Sulztal" and back to "Zieregg" we stopped for a bite to eat at the homely Buschenschank "Zweytick", which is one of the smaller wineries. We had a delicious snack and salads made with the ever-present styrian pumpkin seed oil dressing, and a very inspiring conversation with the senior owner. We didn’t know him before, as he didn’t know us, but we could chitchat with him as if we knew each other since many years. Lovely people they are.


A story of success: slow living, slow food & excellent wine

Southern Styria has undergone substantial transformations in the past 30 years and was rewarded not only by becoming one of the number one Austrian wine regions, but also an internationally renowned wine area. Most of the important changes happened behind the scenes where visitors can’t really notice, except for the artistically designed new wineries built on the foundation of well-earned success and a sustainable tourism, but the region’s nature and local traditions remained well preserved. Today Southern Styria’s exquisite wines, its cozy wine taverns, fine restaurants and, last but not least, its popularity to its visitors all year round are the result of a smart way of managing things in tourism as well as hard work in agriculture and winemaking. This region a true delight for people who love nature, slow living and good food.



Great wines with character and a sense of origin

Southern Styria is influenced by the South European climate. Organic winemakers lay their focus on dry, crisp, fruity and aromatic white wines, but also on some types of red wine. Grapes are grown up to an altitude of 560 m, the steepest and highest-lying vineyards are growing in the "Sausal" area. To set out a new vineyard is an investment for well fifty years or at least two generations, and particularly expensive in Southern Styria due to its steep hills, the necessity to stabilise the slopes and provide for sufficient drainage of the soil. Winemakers take great care when preparing and working the vineyards in order to maintain the fertility of the soil, which together with the mild climate provides the natural prerequisites for good quality.
As a result best-quality wines of great body and freshness are stored in the cellars, in which the winemakers take pride by all means. Except for white wines of the international mainstream like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, regional varieties like "Gelber Muskateller, Welschriesling, Weißburgunder, Sämling, Ruländer (Grauer Burgunder, Pinot Gris)" or "Müller-Thurgau" are also very successful and increasingly draw the interest also of international connoisseurs. "Morillon" is the Styrian name for Chardonnay, its name is derived from the grapes’ place of origin, Morillon in Burgundy, France. One of the shooting stars among Southern Styrian wines, "Gelber Muskateller", became the favourite aperitif wine of many gourmets to start a good meal.


In general the Southern Styrian white wines appear fruity, aromatic and dry. The character of the variety of wines is shaped by factors like the microclimate of the location, soil and position, and last but not least the quality of the wine greatly benefits from deliberately limited production. Substantial efforts are made to cultivate less dense growing grapes in order to sustain extended rainy periods with higher humidity. It seems that the people of Southern Styria like doing what they do - which is to make exceptional products.


Leaving Zieregg - wistfully but with peace of mind

Well, of course Southern Styria is much more than you can read in our short travelogue. It is a most liveable land one can truly enjoy. But most important of all, Southern Styria is a place one has to appreciate, and appreciate the people living there for what they do to make this region what it is. After a good day’s walk we used to have a break in the "Firmenich" wine tavern to enjoy a peaceful late afternoon. It was the right moment to realise that Southern Styria is a perfect melange of lovely people, gorgeous landscapes, delicious food and excellent wine.

Later in the evening we absorbed the scents of the fresh air on the terrace of our apartment at the Winzarei Tement. No bar tender was around to spoil the moment. Just the two of us, watching the sun to settle over the vineyards, while sipping a well-earned glass of wine …

Yes, it’s a place we love to return.

  New Content           About this Website           Lounge           Top of page