Until the 19th Century, most of the local economy of Altnau revolved around three-field agriculture. About 1880 a dairy company was founded in the village, and livestock and cheese production became common. Viticulture was common from the middle ages until 1912. In 1840 the Seestrasse (Lake Road) was built, and in 1870, the Seetalbahn (railroad line) was added. However, neither the road or the railroad led to a boost in the local economy, as the station was too far away.