Austrian Wine Law is incorporated in the hierarchical structure of EU wine legislation. At the top of the EU wine law is the definition of "EU wine market organization", a Council of the European Agriculture Ministers Regulation (passed by decree in April 2008).
This EU Council Regulation of the marketing of wine was integrated into the Single CMO Regulation in 2009. For the sake of simplicity, we speak further of the wine market regime within the wine market organization in the European Union. The fundamental elements of the wine law are identical, and these are binding and regulated for all EU member countries; for example the system of planting rights, the subsidy funds and market interventions (distillations, grubbing up, and so on), the permitted oenological practices, the protection of the origins and the wine labeling regulations. The national wine laws of the member countries - such as the Austrian Wine Law 2009 - form a "bridge" between the general rules of the EU wine market organization and the specific circumstances required in each member country, particularly in the area of quality wines and in wine regulation.
The Austrian Wine Act 2009 contains, in addition to the respective rules of the EU wine market organization, regulations on the following issues
- Production and correct oenological treatment of wine (Chaptalisation and forms of enrichment, deacidification, use of sweet reserve, blending etc. are regulated)
- Definition and regulations of the different levels of quality (wine, wine with declaration of variety and/or vintage, Land wine, Qualitätswein (quality wine), including wines with predicate, such as the definitions of Spätlese, Auslese and Eiswein). Please refer to the detailed descriptions below.
- Which place of origin and which traditional description 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.