The quality of viticulture in Austria's southernmost province has improved astonishingly in recent years. Carinthia can look back on a thousand-year history of viticulture. The secularisation of ecclesiastical institutions carried out under Emperor Joseph II initiated the downturn in viticulture. In addition, at the end of the 19th century the disastrous occurrence of powdery mildew inflicted enormous damage on Carinthian vineyards. In the inter-war period, viticulture came to a complete standstill and it took until 1972 for its regional history to be recalled.
At that time, Herbert Gartner, a Klosterneuburg graduate and longtime employee of the Carinthian Chamber of Agriculture, decided to plant vines again in the Oberer Weinzedl vineyard at St. Andräer Burgstall. The slumber of Carinthian viticulture came to an end. The Carinthian Winegrowers' Association was founded in 2001 and established an official marketing platform with the "Wine from Carinthia" working group, which serves to professionally promote the brand and enhance the image of Carinthian wine through public relations work and quality enhancement.
Its legal basis was given to Carinthian viticulture by the provincial parliament with the Carinthian Viticulture Act of November 2005. Carinthia was granted a planting quota of 100 hectares from the Austrian regional reserve, and in 2013 this was increased by another 100 hectares. Anyone wishing to plant here must apply to the province of Carinthia for permission to plant new vineyards. Carinthia is now a legally recognized quality winegrowing region and, together with Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, is part of the Bergland winegrowing region.
In 2011, more than 100,000 bottles of wine were produced for the first time. The centres of viticulture are the regions of Feldkirchen-Ossiacher See, Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Lavanttal, St. Veit an der Glan, Sittersdorf and the Trixnertal. "Die Stadtwinzer" have now been operating the vineyard of the provincial capital Klagenfurt am Wörthersee since 2003.
Today, the greatest density of producers can be found in the Lavant Valley, where, in addition to those already mentioned, the Gritsch, Janko, Klade, and Lippitz families must be mentioned, as well as the St. Paul Monastery. In the Feldkirchen region, the Lassing family has recultivated the terraces of the castle, which is well worth seeing; great wines can also be found at Gerhard Köck and Gerald Neumaier.
There is a lot of activity in the St. Veit area by Hubert Vittori with "Vinum Virunum" and Weinkultur Hochosterwitz, the Salbrechter family and Marcus Gruze with his "Georgium" on Lake Längsee. Felix Kucher and Johann Lamprecht are active in the Trixnertal, and Rosa and Karl Hren in Sittersdorf.
The most prominent new vintner is the entrepreneur Alfred Riedl, who has already expanded his vineyards around Taggenbrunn Castle to about 20 hectares.