The grapevine varieties grown in the Moravian vineyards more or less correspond with those produced in neighbouring countries (it does not concern only typical varieties, Moravian wine-making is similar to that of Germany or Austria with comparable wine classification - etc.), nevertheless here we can also find varieties typical only for this region or grapevine varieties cultivated directly by local experts.
Probably the most widespread Moravian variety for white wines is Grüner Veltliner. As to its acreage it covers about 14 to 15 percent of the overall area, however that is just a half of what it used to be several dozen years ago. The origin of this variety is attributed to Austrian viniculture. Incidentally, it is very common also in Austria. In our country it has been officially recorded and registered since 1941. Being of similar popularity Rhine Riesling is grown in about 7% of vineyards. Despite its exact origin not being completely clear, it is presumed that Riesling comes from Germany, where it probably came to being as a result of a spontaneous crossing of the varieties in the Rhine valley. Hence the name Rhine Riesling. Nevertheless, the attribute indicating its origin is not much used in Germany, there it is simply Riesling. Moreover, it is considered to be the most interesting variety of areas located in the north. Riesling thrives in this climate and benefits from the warm days being followed by chilly nights, and that is what the wine-growers of the Wachau wine region can make use of brilliantly. This variety is very suitable for the production of naturally sweet wines.
Although similar in name, Welschriesling has different characteristics – despite its unclear origin, it is quite obvious that this variety is not a relative of Rhine Riesling. In Moravia it has been planted for more than 100 years and now it accounts for one tenth of the acreage of Moravian vineyards. Though its development is not very dramatic, it definitely has its spot in the market and thanks to its higher acidic content it has found its fans that prefer such qualities in wine.
Müller-Thurgau is quite a typical variety, though with a somewhat infamous reputation from the past. It is a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner with its history reaching back to the end of the nineteenth century, when it was cultivated in Switzerland. Around the middle of the 20th century it started being grown here and now it covers nearly 14 percent of the overall vineyard acreage, however with no greater potential for growth, on the contrary a reduction in its vineyards is expected.
Great popularity, mainly recently, has been enjoyed by Burgundy varieties, or in other words “Pinots”, or simply White Ruländer and Grey Ruländer. By the way – the name “Ruländer” is a Czech speciality, in other languages we would not find it, in other countries these varieties are referred to as Burgundy. Their share in the Moravian vineyards is not great, nevertheless these wines have their own fans, who welcome their extract and bottle aging potential, which is why it is not expected that the area planted with this variety will be reduced.
It is obviously impossible to name and characterise all the varieties grown in our country, nevertheless it is necessary to add that some other varieties, referred to as “modern” and grown on a larger scale mainly in countries of the “new world” such as Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay are to be found in vineyards of our country, too. On the other hand, there are also entirely local plants, like the aromatic varieties of Pálava and Hibernal, grapevines cultivated by local viticulturists.
Though red wines are not the typical domain of Moravian wine-growing, it is not possible to ignore the most important blue varieties, grown in this territory. Due to the cooler climate, in general it is more suited for light red wines. The St. Laurent vine is the most popular among blue grapes. This variety holds first place in relation to its acreage not only among Moravian varieties. In total our country has the largest area covered by St. Laurent grapevines in the world. It came here more than a hundred years ago from France, where it is believed to have originated. A good partner of “St. Laurent” for producing cuvee is Blauer Portugieser. It is a lighter wine of a less distinctive colour, which has its origins in Portugal; however since the 18th century it has been grown in our vineyards. Through the years its share of the area has gone down dramatically, today it can be found in about three percent of vineyards.
Another popular blue variety is Lemberger. Although earlier it had a prime spot among red Moravian wines, later to be pushed back slightly by Portugieser and St. Laurent, it keeps holding onto its position and it is quite possible that its acreage will be increased. It is characterised by a more distinct acidic content, less vivid colour and ideally, a greater potential for longer aging.
Crossing Lemberger and St. Laurent resulted in the variety Zweigeltrebe, named after its cultivator Fritz Zweigelt, which was later brought to Moravia, now grown here on less than four percent of the vineyard acreage. This variety produces wine of distinctive colour, however not of marked flavours with a lower content of tannin.
Some blue varieties, more typical for other wine-growing regions of the world, are also grown in Moravia, on a smaller scale, these being for example Blue Ruländer (Pinot Noir), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. We can find here also local specialities, such as Neronet, a variety cultivated in Lednice na Moravì by crossing three varieties in the last century. Though currently quite unknown, some wine-growers have already discovered its qualities and started to plant it.