Austrian wine has had a recent chequered history. In the middle of the last century, they were the third largest producer in the world although a significant percentage of their production was designed for the bulk, entry-level end of the market, often to be blended with cheap wines from Germany.

In the eighties, Austria had a few bumper years where increased production favoured lighter white wines with high acidity which quite simply weren’t in fashion at the time. This resulted in a glut of wine that had to be shifted one way or another. Some bright spark realised that the addition of diethylene glycol to these light wines would add sweetness and body to the wine, thus making them more sellable. Diethylene glycol is more commonly found in antifreeze, hence the famous Austrian wine antifreeze scandal of 1985. They would have gotten away with it too had they not tried to reclaim the cost of the diethylene glycol on their tax return.

The Austrian wine market collapsed overnight, and that should really be the end of the story. However, what subsequently happened is a true phoenix from the ashes tale. The winemakers started focussing on the quality end of the market using indigenous gapes and a unique terroir to eventually create some of the best wines available in Scotland today.

Also in 1986, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board was created to ensure that the quality controls were put in place to reassert Austria on the wine map for all the right reasons. To this day, Austria has the most stringent quality controls in terms of wine-making in the world. We will never see a repeat of 1985 from this country.

Because of our incredibly long memories in the wine world, Austrian wine still represents amazing value for money despite the fact that they are producing world class wines. The whites from Gruner-Veltliner, Riesling and Neuburger are fantastic. And you should really check out a red from Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch or Sankt Laurent.

Weingut Johann Donabaum Riesling Spitzer Federspiel 2017 (Inverarity One to One, £21.99). This incredibly refreshing wine is my current favourite to go with a smoked salmon starter.

Tinhof Neuburger 2016 (Inverarity One to One, £12.49). This is an organically produced Neuburger (a grape which is responsible for less than 3% of the country’s overall production), and it’s perfect for mid-week glugging with pasta and pesto. Enjoy!