Dry Stone Walls

Dry stone walls make winegrowing possible on Wachau’s steep slopes. They have shaped our terrace landscape for over 1,000 years and will play a big role in a sustainable future.

The concept of laying stone atop stone is simple enough, yet dry stone walls rely on an artisanal tradition handed down over generations. For many centuries, they have served as a visible reminder of Wachau’s wine culture, and a dominant feature of the regional landscape. And in truth, their importance cannot be overstated. For starters, dry stone walls are the innovation that makes wine growing possible on steep slopes in the first place. The terraces also prevent erosion in the face of heavy rainfall and ensure slow water drainage.

Dry stone walls are also important ecologically, since they establish a microclimate all their own. While their surfaces warm up to 70°C in summer, their moist interiors remain around 20°C. This helps the flora and fauna: well over 100 types of insects, spiders, beetles, and other animals, and countless plants, call them home, providing a unique biodiversity that benefits the entire vineyard.

Maintaining them is no laughing matter. And keeping them in good shape is part of why we have to plan in up to 1,500 hours of work per hectare per year!