Domäne Wachau's vineyards are located on both banks of the Danube and on steep, dry terraces throughout the Wachau region.To the trained eye, the quality of the future wine is already apparent in the vineyard. Oenologist Heinz Frischengruber works closely with the grape producers to achieve this vital, early insight. Terraced estates cost four times more to cultivate than vineyards on level ground. If one adds to the mix the comparatively low yield of less than 5,000 kg/ha, the costs of cultivating vineyards in Wachau are roughly five times higher than mechanically-cultivated vines on level ground.Terraced vineyards with their dry stone walls make up much of the terroir in Wachau. The dry stone walls are built from natural or quarry stone, without the use of binding agents such as mortar or concrete. Laying the stones for these unique structures takes patience, intuition and experience.The main varietal at Domäne Wachau is Grüner Veltliner. This premium white wine variety, which now enjoys international recognition, accounts for around 55% of the vineyards. However, in no other winegrowing region of Austria does Riesling account for such a high proportion as in Wachau, and Domäne Wachau is no exception, being 18% Riesling. Neuburger is a regional speciality – Domäne Wachau is the world's largest Neuburger winery. Rivaner, Pinot blanc and Muskateller are other notable white wine varietals. Red wine accounts for around 6%, Blauer Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot noir being the main red grape varieties grown here.Thanks to the quality rating system and strict supply arrangements, oenologist Heinz Frischengruber has the best fruit at his disposal, and he takes a gentle approach to the wines, which he crafts with precise stylistics.The mash is handled to extract maximum fruit and a consciously reductive approach is taken to crafting the wines. Degumming takes one to two days, followed by cool fermentation with very clear must. At 16° to 18° Celsius (a little higher for Smaragd wines), fermentation therefore takes a little longer and sulphur is added to the young wines as late as possible in order to maximize the stability of the wine. In practice, this often entails twice-daily tasting (of more than 50 different wines in the cellar!) in order to get the timing just right. For Smaragd wines, sulfurization does not take place until up to six weeks after the end of fermentation.Both in the vineyard and in the cellar, Domäne Wachau pursues an uncompromising quality philosophy. Thanks to far better collaboration with grape producers in recent years, the near-completion of a vineyard quality programme and the gentlest possible handling of the must and wines in the cellar, the wines always turn out precise and clear.