Austria’s Thermenregion finalises the DAC implementation phase
“We’ve made it!” confirms Heinrich Hartl, President of the Thermenregion regional wine committee, delighted at having wrapped up the “Thermenregion DAC” project. This means that the implementation of Austria’s 20-year-long DAC project, which kicked off very successfully with the Weinviertel DAC in 2003, has been concluded.
The first DAC wines from this wine-growing region south of Vienna in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) will be produced from the 2023 harvest. Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine) represents the pinnacle of the three-tier origin pyramid for the Thermenregion DAC and includes the flagship varieties of Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir, alongside Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. The Ortswein (villages wine) occupies the centre DAC tier and includes the above varieties, as well as Pinot Gris and Zweigelt (Rotburger). The DAC villages of the Thermenregion are Perchtoldsdorf, Gumpoldskirchen, Tattendorf, Wiener Neustadt and Bad Vöslau. The regional wines, with no mention of the municipality or Ried on the label, are sold as Gebietswein Thermenregion DAC and include all the above varieties, together with Neuburger, Gemischter Satz (field blend) and Blauer Portugieser, resulting in a traditionally wide diversity of wines.
“I am delighted that the Thermenregion DAC has now completed the DAC family,” says Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (Austrian Wine). He adds, “The DAC system is an Austrian success story. It enables every region to legally protect its regionally typical wine styles. This is extremely important in the wine industry because grape varieties are interchangeable. Origins aren’t!” Johannes Schmuckenschlager, Chairman of the Austrian Winegrowers Association, is equally delighted, “After 20 years, the Austrian DAC system is now complete!”
The key points of the DAC regulation, which is currently in the final phase of legal implementation, were presented alongside the marketing strategy at the Thermenregion DAC press conference held in Baden bei Wien at the end of May. In order to facilitate the marketing of Thermenregion wines at both a national and international level, the region’s winegrowers have decided to create larger wine-growing municipalities by extending them beyond official boundaries, solely within the scope of the DAC regulation. For example, from the 2023 vintage onwards, wines from the politically divided cadastral municipalities of Pfaffstätten, Traiskirchen, Guntramsdorf and Mödling can be sold as “Thermenregion DAC Gumpoldskirchen”. “This new approach to organising municipalities may seem a little unusual at first, but establishing the cross-boundary wine-growing municipalities of Perchtoldsdorf, Gumpoldskirchen, Tattendorf, Wiener Neustadt and Bad Vöslau will make us more competitive in the future,” explains Heinrich Hartl.
Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC) is a legal designation of origin for Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine with regional typicity. This means that if the name of a wine-growing region appears on the label in conjunction with “DAC”, the wine in the bottle is a typical Qualitätswein for the region and has been made from grapes harvested exclusively in that very region. A DAC wine can only be produced from the specific grape varieties permitted for that particular region and must meet all of the requirements set out in the decree for that region. There are 18 DAC wine origins in Austria. Wines that do not meet DAC requirements are labelled as originating from the generic wine-growing region (=corresponding federal state) and add to the diversity of wines at this level of origin.
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