The Austrian Wine Law is integrated into the hierarchical structure of the EU wine laws. The EU wine market regulation was instituted by the European Council of Agricuture in April 2008.
This ‘EU-Weinmarktordnung’ was then integrated into the so-called Unified Marketing Regulation in 2009. This EU wine market organisational regulation applies to all of the EU Member States, and accepts the fundamentals of the wine law, such as the system of planting rights, the subsidies and market interventions (restructuring of vineyards, marketing, distillation, clearing of vineyards and so on.), the permitted oenological practices, protected origins and labelling laws. The national wine laws of the member states, similar to the 2009 Austrian wine law, build a bridge between general regulations in the EU wine market organisation and the specific conditions applicable for each country, particularly on the subject of wines with protected designation of origin (Qualitätswein).
The 2009 Austrian wine law contains amendments regarding the relevant legislation of the EU Wine Market Organisation with respect to the following issues:
Definition and classification of the individual quality categories, these being; “Wein” (wine), “Wein mit Angabe von Sorte oder Jahrgang” (wine with indication of variety or vintage), “Landwein” (wine with protected geographical indication) and “Qualitätswein” (wine with protected denomination of origin) including the “Prädikatswein” (such as Spätlese, Auslese or Eiswein) are defined
Which places of origin and which traditional names may be used?
Regulations on wine sector procedures (Registration of the harvest yield, declaration of wine production, vineyard register, Erntemeldung, Bestandsmeldung, Rebflächenverzeichnis, viticultural land registry, the registered "Banderole" capsule, entry into the cellar log, stipulation of the competence and organisation of the Federal winery inspection.)
- Fruit wine (definitions and production procedures)
- Administrative regulations (e.g. penalties and fines, regulations to promote the wine industry)
These rules are supplemented and specified in numerous fields by additional implementing regulations defined by the Minister of Agriculture. For example, the Wine Act Designation Regulation, the definition of the permitted quality grape varieties, and the regulation on the establishment of industrial bodies.
Under the aspect of origin, the new EU wine law differentiates fundamentally between wines with and without geographical indication.
Wine with protected geographical indication
(German g.g.A.: English PGI=Protected Geografical Indication; French IGP = Indication Géographique Protégée; Italian IGP = Indicazione Geografica Protetta)
Wine with protected designation of origin
(German g.U.: English PDO=Protected Designation of Origin, French AOP=Appellation d'Origine Protégée, Italian Denominazione di Origine Protetta) Protected designation of origin and protected geographical indication are established and confirmed by the member countries and reported to Brussels. They are, therefore, guaranteed also by EU law.
Austrian wine law is based on European wine legislation. However, Austria has maintained its autonomy to a certain degree, upheld by its controlled origin, its legal maximum yield, a designation for quality wine, as well as an official quality control of wine. Austrian wines are either wines with origin (Quality Wine, DAC, Landwein) or generic wines from Austria. The categories are defined by the origin of the grapes and the sugar content of the must, as expressed by the Klosterneuburg Must Weight (KMW) scale
The terms Traubenmost (grape must or partially fermented grape must), as well as Wein (Wine), Perlwein (sparkling wine, since perlend=bubbling) and Schaumwein (sparkling wine, since schäumend=foaming) are defined by EU law and further refined by Austrian national regulations as follows...
The Federal Inspection Number & the red-white-red capsule
Austrian Qualitätswein, regionally typical wines (DAC) and Austrian Prädikatswein have undergone two rigorous inspections, firstly through a chemical analysis and additionally through a tasting commission by qualified and state authorised wine tasters.