Qualitätswein (quality wine) is a traditional Austrian term that is used to mean “wine with a protected designation of origin”. These designations of origin refer to the country’s generic and specific winegrowing regions.

European wine law differentiates between three main groups of wine:

  1. Wine with no specific geographical indication (referred to in Austria as “Wein” [wine] or, previously, as “Tafelwein” [table wine])
    For “Wein”, the only permitted origin indication is: Austria
  2. Wine with a protected geographical indication (referred to in Austria as “Landwein”) 
    For “Landwein”, permitted origin indications are: Weinland, Steirerland, Bergland
  3. Wine with a protected designation of origin (referred to in Austria as “Qualitätswein”)
    Based on the Austrian origin marketing strategy, Qualitätswein is classified as either “generic” or “specific” with further differentiation between DAC and non-DAC wines.


Qualitätswein from generic wine-growing regions

Variety & scope

Qualitätswein can be produced from 40 approved grape varieties in nine generic wine-growing regions – which are named ­after their respective federal states – or the specific wine-growing regions listed below. The most important generic wine-growing regions are Niederösterreich, Burgenland, Steiermark and Wien. Within the framework of the designations of origin for generic Qualitätswein regions, winemakers are able to fully explore the scope of stylistic diversity of their region. The only limitation is the list of 40 permitted grape varieties for the production of Qualitätswein. Consumers enjoy a fascinating diversity of wines in this category, ranging from fresh and fruity wines made from aromatic grape varieties to high-quality branded wines and iconic cuvée blends.


Further information about generic Qualitätswein winegrowing regions


Establishing the typicity of a region’s wines

Within Austria’s generic winegrowing regions, there are also a number of “specific” winegrowing regions. All specific wine-growing regions strive towards positioning their terroir wines with distinctive flavour profiles. The first step entails defining focal varieties and regionally typical styles. Once this has been accomplished, the region can apply to the Ministry of ­Agriculture – via the Regional Wine Committee and National Wine Committee – for DAC status. This then becomes law by means of a ministerial decree. If a region is subject to a DAC decree, wines from this region may only use the region’s name as the designation of origin on the label if they meet the typical stylistic features defined for that specific region. Qualitätswein made from other grape varieties can still be marketed using the name of their state’s generic winegrowing region (the federal state in which it was produced).

Austria currently has 17 specific winegrowing regions:

Specific origins for DAC wine

If a specific region believes that it has a clear focus with its wine and that only one or a few specific grape varieties and types represent the region, then use of that specific region’s name can be limited to just those particular types of wine.* A DAC status is a clear commitment from winemakers to respect the typicity of a region’s wines. After all, the region often shapes the style of the wines much more than the variety of grape or sugar content.

*Exceptions to this are the regions of Wien and Rust, where the winegrowing method (Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC) or the wine style (Ruster Ausbruch DAC) are rooted in the region in such a way that these descriptive terms have been legally protected.

Since the beginnings of the DAC system in 2003, all specific wine-growing regions have confirmed their focus on regional typicity with a legally protected DAC status.

Facts about Austria’s DAC system


Qualitätswein in wine law
Regionally typical Qualitätswein (DAC)
More specific designations of origin​​​​​​​




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