With the introduction of the highest Austrian sparkling wine category Sekt Austria (PDO) in 2015 local producers set the course for Sekt of uncompromising quality. Since then, Austrian Sekt with a protected designation of origin and certified quality has been instantly recognisable for consumers via the red-white-red banderole on the capsule and the three categories of Sekt Austria (PDO), Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) and Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO), which only Sekt Austria (PDO) is permitted to list on its label.

While the Sekt Austria (PDO) category is synonymous with freshness, vivid lightness and simple pleasure, Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) must mature on the lees for a significantly longer period (at least 18 months), and bottle fermentation is mandatory. This places it somewhere in the same league as Spumante, Cava and French Crémant. Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO) has a justified claim to being one of the best sparkling wines in the world, on a par with the likes of Franciacorta and Champagne.

All quality levels of Sekt Austria (PDO) are excellent companions for a wide range of dishes. When drunk alongside food, the carbon dioxide actually works as a flavour enhancer. A general rule: the more full-bodied the Sekt, the richer the dish may be.

Sekt Austria (PDO) pyramid

Sekt Austria Sekt Austria Reserve Sekt Austria Große Reserve
Grapes must be harvested by hand and pressed within a single municipality. Produced exclusively by traditional bottle fermentation with a minimum of 36 months maturation on the lees.
Grapes must be harvested by hand and pressed within a single federal state. Produced exclusively by traditional bottle fermentation with a minimum of 18 months maturation on the lees.
Grapes must be harvested within a single federal state. Any Sekt production method is permitted. Minimum of 9 months maturation on the lees for bottle fermentation or 6 months for méthode Charmat
The individual tiers encompass additional quality assurance standards, such as vineyard cultivation methods, harvesting conditions, dumping heights, gentle pressing techniques and yield rates.

Sekt Austria (PDO)

Sekt Austria (PDO) has stricter minimum requirements than the basic category for quality sparkling wines without a protected designation of origin (“Austrian Sparkling Wine”). It primarily guarantees that the grapes originate from one Austrian federal state and that the Sekt is matured on the lees for a minimum of 9 months when fermented in the bottle or 6 month when fermented in tanks.

Perfect as an aperitif, Sekt Austria (PDO) also pairs delightfully with lightly smoked dishes, for example freshwater fish like trout and char, as well as with light and/or spicy finger foods. 

Requirements for use of the Sekt Austria (PDO) designation:

  • Grapes harvested within a single federal state
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • At least 9 months of maturation on the lees when the wine is bottle fermented or at least 6 months when the Sekt is fermented in tanks
  • All methods suitable for Sekt production are permitted
  • All styles, dosages and “colours” (white, rosé, red) permitted
  • Mandatory indication of an Austrian federal state as the protected designation of origin; a more detailed geographic indication than the federal state is not permitted

Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO)

From the Reserve level upwards, only Sekt that has been produced using the Traditional Method (bottle fermentation) is permitted. The grapes and base wines must come from one generic winegrowing region (federal state) and they must mature on the lees for at least 18 months.

Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) offers a perfect sparkling middle ground and is a correspondingly versatile accompaniment to food such as richer antipasti, light meats, poultry, well-seasoned vegetable dishes, rice and pasta dishes – the list is endless. Tip: a slight residual sweetness makes the Reserve an excellent accompaniment to cheese.

Requirements for use of the Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) designation:

  • Grapes harvested and pressed within a single federal state
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • Made exclusively using traditional bottle fermentation
  • At least 18 months of maturation on the lees
  • Exclusively brut, extra brut or brut nature, and/or a residual sugar content of at least 12 g/l
  • Mandatory indication of an Austrian federal state as the protected designation of origin; the indication of a municipality is permitted
  • Juice yield not exceeding 60% (juice from the volume of grapes)
  • Mandatory hand-picking (max. container unloading height 35 cm)
  • Whole-bunch pressing

Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO)

For the highest category, Grosse Reserve (i.e. the bottle-fermented high-calibre Sekt), grapes must be hand-picked in the same winegrowing municipality and this must be listed on the label (e.g. Poysdorf, Langenlois, Gols, Gamlitz, etc.). Single-vineyard designations are also allowed. After bottle fermentation and maturing on the lees for at least 36 months, the Sekts in this category are brought onto the market no earlier than three years after harvesting.

With a substantial yet extremely elegant structure, Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO) is an outstanding solo performer for special occasions and also a perfect accompaniment to richer dishes. It is the perfect complement to flavoursome vegetable dishes, light meats and poultry, not to mention pâtés, seafood and more luxuriant fish like smoked salmon, and – with a slight residual sweetness – sweet and spicy Asian fish dishes.

Requirements for use of the Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO) designation:

  • Grapes harvested and pressed in a single municipality
  • Made exclusively from varieties approved for the production of Qualitätswein
  • Made exclusively using traditional bottle fermentation
  • At least 36 months of maturation on the lees
  • Exclusively brut, extra brut or brut nature and/or a residual sugar content of at least 12 g/l
  • Mandatory indication of an Austrian federal state and a municipality (or a specific part of a municipality). The additional indication of the Grosslage (large collective vineyard site) or Ried (single vineyard) is permitted.
  • Juice yield not exceeding 50% (juice from the volume of grapes)
  • Mandatory hand-picking (max. container unloading height 35 cm)
  • Whole-bunch pressing

Sekt & Enjoyment

How Sekt should appear on wine lists

Sekt Austria Brut Muskateller NV Niederösterreich g.U., Weingut Mustermann
Sekt Austria Reserve Extra Brut NV Niederösterreich g.U., Weingut Musterfrau
Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve Brut Grüner Veltliner 2015 Niederösterreich g.U. Langenlois Ried Steinhaus, Weingut Musterperson

Examination by the Federal Viticultural Authorities

Sekt Austria (PDO), Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) and Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO) may only be offered for sale once its marketability has been certified by the Federal Office for Viticulture in Eisenstadt or the High School and Federal Office of Viticulture and Pomology in Klosterneuburg.

A picture shows the Sekt banderole
© Austrian Wine

The “Protected designation of origin. Certified quality” seal

Sekt Austria (PDO), Sekt Austria Reserve (PDO) and Sekt Austria Grosse Reserve (PDO) may only be sold in glass bottles or dispensed at the place of distribution when the bottle is marked with the “Geschützter Ursprung. Geprüfte Qualität” (“Protected Designation of Origin. Certified Quality”) seal.

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Three-tier pyramid (JPG)

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