Mittelburgenland in Austria has just become the second of the country´s 19 wine growing areas to officially adopt the DAC appellation system.
Mittelburgenland is the first DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) with a red wine focus, as most of its 2,100ha of vineyards are planted with red grape varietals.
The DAC in Austria went into effect with the introduction of Weinvertel
DAC in 2003. It is similar to the AOC in France and the DOC in Italy.
All Mittelburgenland DAC wines must be made with the Blaufränkisch grape. Wines from the only other DAC appellation, Weinviertel DAC, are made of Austria’s native white varietal Grüner Veltliner.
Mittelburgenland DAC wines can be produced in three styles: Classic, Brand or Reserve. For each style, different oak regimes, barrel sizes, and alcohol levels are specified.
Presently, there are 42 producers producing Mittelburgenland DAC wines. Estimated production of 2005 wines is 700, 000 bottles.
The DAC system is generally reckoned to benefit lesser-known areas that need to build a reputation.
Unofficially it is understood that this is the reason there are only two DACs so far. While Weinviertel, which was known for bulk wines, has seen its image transformed by becoming DAC three years ago, other regions fear that DAC on the label may bring down their image.
Winemakers in the Wachau, for example, might resist joining – on the grounds that their already stellar reputation could not be enhanced.
Written by Darrel Joseph