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Austria’s Wagram region granted DAC status

As part of a wider amendment to Austria’s wine regulations, the country’s Wagram region has been given protected designation of origin. The new law will come into force as of the 2021 vintage.

With the signing off by the Austrian minister of agriculture, sustainability and tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, Wagram becomes Austria’s seventeenth DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus), following Wachau and Ruster Ausbruch in 2020, and Carnutum in October 2019.

‘This was not an easy nut for the winemakers of the Wagram region to crack,’ said Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian wine marketing board, Austrian Wine, ‘but after comprehensive discussions and much thought, the Wagram region is now able to join the DAC family.’

Alongside DAC status, Wagram is adopting a pyramidal quality scheme similar to that followed by other Austrian wine regions, consisting of three categories: Gebietswein (regional-wide wine), Ortswein (village wine) and Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine).

Thirteen grapes may be used to make Gebietswein-level wines: Chardonnay, Frühroter Veltliner, Grauer Burgunder, Grüner Veltliner, Gelber Muskateller, Roter Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Weißburgunder, Riesling, Blauburgunder, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt. Wines may be monovarietal, blends, or Gemischter Satz (field blends).

Only seven varieties are instead allowed to produce Ortswein: Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Roter Veltliner, Weißburgunder, Riesling, Blauburgunder, and Zweigelt. These village-level bottling must be monovarietal and should display the name of one of the 27 permitted communes.

Sitting at the top of the quality pyramid, Riedenweine are made with fruit from a single, officially approved vineyard. The category allows for the use of the region’s leading grape varieties only, Grüner Veltliner, Roter Veltliner and Riesling.

Regardless of category, the DAC decrees that all DAC white wines should be dry and show no dominant oak flavours.

Alongside the new protected designation of origin, the amendments of Austria’s wine regulations also affected the country’s sparkling wine (Sekt) and the Kremstal region.

In a bid to ensure that the Austrian origins are clearly communicated to the drinker, labels of the country’s sparkling wines with designation of origin (Sekt g.U.) must now show the terms Sekt Austria, Sekt Austria Reserve, or Sekt Austria Große Reserve. ‘By employing the designation ‘Sekt Austria’ for sparkling wines with all-Austrian origins, we are creating a clear position and profile for these premium wines, which come in three classes,’ explained Yorke.

All Sekt are expected to be made with grapes of Austrian origin, from a single federal state in the case of Sekt Austria and Sekt Austria Reserve, and from a single village or vineyard for the Große Reserve category. Furthermore, Reserve and Große Reserve may only be made through the traditional Champenoise method, with a minimum period of maturation on the lees of 18 and 36 months respectively.

Meanwhile, the Kremstal region gained nine legally defined Ortswein (village) origins: Krems, Stein, Rohrendorf, Gedersdorf, Stratzing, Senftenberg, Furth, Höbenbach, and Krustetten.

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