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Protection of origin for sweet wines from Lake Neusiedl

Austria’s likely best-known sweet wine now enjoys legal protection as Ruster Ausbruch DAC. And over on the east side of Lake Neusiedl, the designation of origin Neusiedlersee DAC has been expanded, and now includes also fruity-sweet and nobly sweet wines.

A picture shows vineyards in front of the skyline of Rust during sunrise.
Sweet gold from Rust (pictured) and the winegrowing region Neusiedlersee enjoys protected origins. © Austrian Wine/Marcus Wiesner

First DAC origin exclusively for sweet wine

As one of Austria’s most tradition-steeped wines, Ruster Ausbruch can look back on centuries of history. After in-depth deliberations within the region, this world-famous sweet wine has now been given legal protection of its origin as Ruster Ausbruch DAC, creating the first DAC regulation exclusively for sweet wine. With this, the number of Austria’s protected designations of origin in the DAC system has grown to sixteen.

“Ruster Ausbruch is a unique and distinctive part of our Austrian heritage,” emphasises Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB). “The fact that it has now been legally protected by the DAC regulations is an important step on our way to promoting regionally typical wines.”

A Trockenbeerenauslese from Rust

Ruster Ausbruch DAC must basically satisfy the requirements for Trockenbeerenauslese, and may be vinified from one or more white Qualitätswein grape varieties. Only selectively hand-picked berries that are infected with botrytis and harvested in the free City of Rust may be used. The minimum must weight is 30° KMW, and the sweet wine must also be vinified and bottled in Rust.

Leithaberg DAC: in the future, also for dry wines from Rust

While Ruster Ausbruch DAC has now been anchored in law, changes are currently being made to the Leithaberg DAC regulations for Rust’s winegrowers: dry Blaufränkisch and the whites Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, Neuburger and Grüner Veltliner (including cuvées made from these four varieties), which are grown in Rust and comply with the regulation may in the future be released to the market as Leithaberg DAC.

Neusiedlersee DAC opens up to sweet wine

There is also movement on the east side of Lake Neusiedl: from now on the protected designation of origin Neusiedlersee DAC will apply not only to Zweigelt, but also to fruity-sweet wines (Spätlese and Auslese) and Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve to nobly sweet wines (Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese). The detailed designation of origin “Seewinkel” will be permitted if the grapes come from the municipalities Apetlon, Illmitz, and/or Podersdorf. This recognises the district’s prominent stature as a source of excellent sweet wines.

What does DAC mean?

Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC) is a legal designation of origin for regionally typical Qualitätswein (quality wine) from Austria. So, if the name of a winegrowing region is coupled with the letters DAC on a wine label, the consumer can be sure of receiving a Qualitätswein typical of the region, vinified from grapes harvested exclusively in that region. A DAC wine may only be produced from the grape varieties specified for this DAC region and must comply with all the requirements of the regulation laid down by the respective region. There are currently sixteen DAC winegrowing regions in Austria. Wines that do not meet the DAC requirements will bear the name of the respective federal state as indication of origin, and are part of the wide diversity of Austrian wine at that level of origin.

New: Ruster Ausbruch DAC
  • Regional demarcation & grape varieties
    • Produced exclusively from grapes harvested in the Free City of Rust
    • Grapes of one or more white Qualitätswein grape varieties permitted
  • Production
    • Must comply with basic requirements for Trockenbeerenauslese
    • Mandatory harvesting by hand: only selectively-picked botrytis-affected berries are to be used
    • Minimum must weight: 30° KMW
    • Production and bottling in Rust
  • Validity
    • Applies to all wines in this category henceforth submitted for a Federal Inspection Number.
Modification to Leithaberg DAC

(not yet legally implemented)

  • Should also apply in the future to dry Blaufränkisch as well as Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, Neuburger and/or Grüner Veltliner from Rust, provided they meet the provisions of the regulation.
Modification to Neusiedlersee DAC
  • Neusiedlersee DAC:
    • In the future also permitted for fruity-sweet wines
    • Categories: Spätlese and Auslese in accordance with wine law
  • Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve:
    • In the future also permitted for nobly sweet wines
    • Categories: Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in accordance with wine law

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