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The Marvel of Austrian Wine

Austria´s wine industry has undergone a highly impressive turnaround over the last two decades. The strictest wine law in the world, together with an innovative generation of winemakers, has established for Austrian wine a strong position in the home market as well as the highest export figures in decades. This development is highly acknowleged around the world – to the point that Austria actually has become the envy of many other wine countries. In fact, Austria is indeed one of the most innovative and dynamic wine countries anywhere.

This graphik shows record added value in export of wine
© Austrian Wine

At the center of it all: the toughest wine law

The introduction of one of the most rigorous wine laws in the world – which took place following the 1985 wine scandal - laid the foundation of change for Austria´s wine industry. In principle, this new wine law states that anything not explicitly permitted - is not allowed. "These rigorous legal fundamentals provide clear guidelines for our winemakers. I don´t know of any other country whose wine law is so strongly regulated officially,” says Michael Thurner, director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. "Even new methods of wine production that have come about with the international wine boom must undergo discussion here in Austria. These methods may be practiced in other countries, but here in Austria, most of them must be tested - and only under close, careful supervision."

Quality - the highest principle

Representing just one percent of the world’s wine production, Austria is considered to be somewhat of a “wine dwarf” internationally. In fact, one year’s total of the world wine surplus is equivalent to 15 – 20 times the amount of wine produced from a single Austrian harvest!

Because of the dramatic effects of the wine scandal, it became clear to the wine industry that only concentration on quality could dominate the future strategies of Austrian winemakers. Today, the new generation of producers is highly educated and has gained international experience. And their success is furthered by factors including investment in modern cellar equipment and the knowledge that quality begins in the vineyard.

Together with this dynamic development is the change in consumer attitudes that has added significantly to the popularity of Austrian wine. "The consumer values quality and is willing to pay more money for it,” says Thurner. "To know about wine is very impressive now, and with this, the Austrians are extremely patriotic."

International success confirmed

In 2004, Austria’s vintners achieved for their exports the highest-ever recorded value. Even though the export volume of Austrian wines was down by 11%, the actual value showed a significant increase of 20%. All in all, 73 million liters of wine with a value of € 83 million were exported.

Particularly noteworthy was the increase in exports of bottled quality wine. Although Austrian wine is considered a niche product - due to the size and structure of the country’s wine industry – it is nevertheless placed by international journalists, wine traders and sommeliers in the league of the world’s best wines.

The support of professional marketing

Since 1986, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board has been supporting and coordinating strategic efforts relating to the quality and sales of Austrian wine. Nationally, the aim is to dominate the quality wine market segments. Abroad, wine presentations organised by the AWMB offer a professional platform for showing the wines as well as an opportunity for Austrian winemakers to establish important contacts.

Through intensive contact with opinion leaders, the AWMB supports export efforts on a broad scale. For example, in 2004, the marketing board arranged visits to Austria´s wine growing areas by more than 700 international top wine professionals. Other activities include cooperation in training, such as with the Institute of Masters of Wine, which is, without a doubt, the most renowned wine training institution in the world.

"With this cooperation, we help to facilitate the close association between the world’s most important opinion leader and wine from Austria,” Thurner explains. “From this, we can anticipate even longer-lasting image and export success!"

That is how the international world of wine is talking about Austria:

 “Not got any Austrian wine on your list yet? You’d better hurry.”
Fiona Sims, Caterer & Hotelkeeper, England, September 2004

“We believe Austria to be a huge, undiscovered secret in the wine trade.”
Chris Murphy, Weineinkäufer Marks and Spencer, Caterer & Hotelkeeper, September 2004

“There seems to be no end to the impressive wines being created in Austria.”
Darrel Joseph, Wine International, August 2004

“Doch kaum irgendwo sonst sind die Winzer so innovativ wie gerade hier.“
Andreas Keller, Tagesanzeiger, Schweiz, 21.August.2004

“In Österreich hat die Zukunft heute schon begonnen...“
Gastrojournal, Schweiz, 30. September.2004

“I have become a great fan of Austrian wine... These stunning wines deserve to be better known.”
Sean Wood, The Halifax Herald Limited, Kanada, 17. November 2004

“Ostrigks hvidvin horer i dag til den absolutte verdenselite. (Österreichische Weißweine gehören heute zur absoluten Weltelite.)“
Finn Arosin, Samg & Behag, Dänemark, Februar 2004

“The Austrian show very clearly that the country has managed to establish itself as one of the leading producers of dry and sweet white wines in Europe and that it also makes some splendid reds as well.”
Giles MacDonogh, Decanter World Wine Awards, Großbritannien, November 2004

“Austria is back producing the kind of wine that experts rave about. If they’re not on your must-try list, the they should be.“
Simon Woods, Square Meal, Großbritannien, Herbst 2004,

“The most exciting thing of all is that this is just the beginning oaf Austrian red wine’s potential.”
Darrel Joseph, Wine International, Großbritannien, August 2004

“For years, Austria has been producing some of the world’s finest wines.”
Serene Sutcliffe MW, Hildon Magazine, Großbritannien, Juni 2004

“They make wonderful wines in Austria.”
Ronan Farren, Sunday Independent, Irland, 14. März 2004

“The Sweet wines of the Burgenland are taking their place among the world’s elite.”
Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, USA, Mai 2004

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