Skip to main content

That was VieVinum 2024 – showing signs of strength in the Austrian wine industry

From 25–27 May 2024, wineproducing Austria demonstrated that it knows very well how to provide positive impetus in times of challenge: 16,000 visitors from fifty-eight nations responded to the invitation and came to Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, setting a new attendance record for the wine fair. In addition to the significantly higher proportion of international attendees, exhibiting winegrowers and wine merchants were delighted to welcome even more visitors from the retail and hospitality sectors.

This year’s VieVinum wine fair came to a close on Monday with positive feelings all round. An important success, providing momentum to carry the existing enthusiasm for Austrian wine even further out into international markets, as Federal Minister Norbert Totschnig emphasised in his opening address. The teams from trade fair organiser M.A.C. Hoffmann and Österreich Wein Marketing (ÖWM) have always joined forces to make VieVinum a success. At the invitation of the ÖWM – Austrian Wine Marketing Board – more than 1,200 international retailers, sommeliers, restaurateurs and journalists came to the Hofburg Palace. The image of VieVinum as the loveliest wine fair in the world was reinforced by Johannes Schmuckenschlager, president of the Austrian Winegrowers’ Association and member of parliament, in his speech: ‘With Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, we have the most elegant venue for any event of this kind. This shows how important wine is to us.’

New tasting zone

Over the three days of VieVinum, attendees enjoyed a multi-faceted tasting programme. Some 550 exhibitors from Austria and many other parts of the world showcased their wines, demonstrating just how diverse and dynamic the wine scene has become. In addition, new special programmes offered the opportunity to delve deeper into individual topics. For example, a tasting zone was set up where visitors could sample the award-winning wines of Sauvignon Selection 2024 from the Steiermark, alcohol-free wines as a major trend, and particularly priceworthy wines. Meanwhile, under the rubric ‘United Nations of Blaufränkisch’, there were more than one hundred Blaufränker from six countries waiting to be discovered at a tasting bar in the Hofburg Lounge.

Promoting the next generation

The spotlight also shone on the young generation of winegrowers. In 2022, VieVinum organiser Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann launched the Gerd A. Hoffmann Academy – a cross-mentoring programme in which noted personalities from business and society act as mentors to young winegrowers for a few months. This year, thirteen young up-and-coming talents were accepted, who organised a master class at the fair and with their wines provided insights into their ways of thinking and goals for the future.

From Greece to Ukraine

Visitors were treated to some international flavour by this year’s guest country Greece, featuring autochthonous white grape varieties such as Malagousia, Assyrtiko, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Savatiano (Retsina) and the red-wine vines Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro. Delegations from the Germany’s Verein Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) and Ukrainian winegrowers also presented their oenological treasures. Smaller groups or individual exhibitors were on hand from countries that included Georgia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and the Czech Republic.

‘The Ultimate Riesling Comparison Challenge’

The School of Wine was also very popular, with a series of high-calibre guided tastings. This extremely varied programme featured topics such as ‘masterpieces from Zweigelt and top sweet wines’ from the region Neusiedlersee DAC, ‘analysing the future of Grüner Veltliner in a changing climate’ presented by Vinea Wachau or ‘the inimitable character and authenticity of single-vineyard wines’ by Renommierte Weingüter Burgenland.

Grüner Veltliner brought freshness in all its facets to the programme under the flag of Weinviertel DAC, as did a ‘view from the outside’ regarding Sekt Austria, along with Sauvignon Blanc from Welt.Meister.Winzern, cool-climate wines from ERUPTION Winzer from Vulkanland Steiermark and the playful master classes presented by Junge Wilde Winzer. Alcohol-free wines made their VieVinum debut and international wines were put on the stage by the guest country Greece – as well as by Wein & Co showing the great Brunello vintage 2019, along with affordable up-and-comers from Burgundy.

The national competition between Austria and Germany organised by the trade magazine Vinum, which was billed as the ‘ultimate Riesling comparison’, also proved to be exciting and entertaining. Under the direction of the two team leaders, Vinum editor Claudia Stern for Germany and Walter Kutscher from the Vienna Sommelier Association, this yielded a home-team victory for Austria.

Thirty years of event management

This VieVinum marks a special milestone for Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann. In 1994 – four years before the first VieVinum took place – her family founded the trade fair and event management agency M.A.C. Hoffmann, and is thus celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. Alexandra Graski-Hoffmann said in her speech: ‘Like most wine estates in Austria, we are a family business. A company in which everyone takes part, and enjoys taking care of our clients’ needs. A company in which team spirit helps to overcome challenges and is therefore an important pillar of success.’ To mark the occasion, the VieVinum team – dressed in Dirndls from Wenger Austrian Style – staged the most frequently mentioned headlines from the past as large dialogue balloons.