Structure of wine lists

The new law of denomination has important consequences for the structure of wine lists, which are still insufficiently attended to by gastronomy and specialised trade. Still, one may find wrong denominations such as "Grüner Veltliner DAC" or "Chardonnay Kamptal" in wine or price lists.

A picture shows wine lists
© AWMB

But it is important that wines are correctly denominated and wine lists are technically correctly structured. In any case, the legal origin must be cited conforming to the law and according to the wine label. Often the legal label with all the required data is the back label, so that the front label may be designed attractively. The indication of origin, however, should be cited on the front label in any case. This is already obligatory for the DAC appellations Traisental, Kremstal, Kamptal, Leithaberg and Eisenberg.

There are many different possibilities for structuring a wine list. It depends on the type of restaurant, the range of wines and the preferences of the person in charge. But a primary classification of the wines according to basic types is essential for all wine lists.

  1. 1st Level of Classification: Wine Type
    White wines – Rosé wines – Red wines – Sweet wines (or Predicate wines) – Sparkling wines/Semi-sparkling wines (may also be named "Sparkles", "Bubbles" ...). Some exclusive restaurants have two wine lists: Whites (including rosé wines, sweet wines and sparkling wines) and Reds.

  2. 2nd Level of Classification: Country (Austria, Italy, France, …)
    Within the thus structured categories – for example "White Wines from Austria" – there are again different subdivisions. Some examples:

    Styles - Variety - Origin: In such a system one first classifies the white wines into "Fresh & Dry" ("Classic", Classic dry, Light- and medium-bodied wines) and into "Great White Wines" ("Reserve whites", etc.). So the guest may first select the desired type of wine ("We first need a fresh, dry white!"). Then he may choose according to variety (more or less aromatic, preferences, …: Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Sauvignon …?), in a next step according to origin/site and finally according to producer.

    Variety - Origin – Style: One may also firstly differentiate by variety, secondly by origin and finally by style. Within the category "variety" one would first list the lighter, younger wines in order to facilitate the guest’s choice.

    Producer - Origin - Style - Variety: Extremely comprehensive wine lists with a lot of wines per winegrower or wine lists, which only list a few growers with many of their wines, however, may also be structured by winegrowers (sorted by federal provinces/production sites), so that all wines from one winegrower are listed together. Catalogues of the wine trade should be organised in the same way. Within the assortment of one individual grower one organises wines hierarchically, from wines without denomination of origin to Landwein, generic wine region, specific appellation (DAC) and finally the reserves.