Reinforcing Heritage & Character
Grüner Veltliner & Riesling figure as the leading grape varieties in the Kremstal, representing over 70% of wines submitted for federal control numbers; for this reason, the designation KremstalDAC was established for these two varieties. According to law, the wine must be monovarietal: a ‘Kremstal’ is therefore either a Riesling or a Grüner Veltliner. Only wines that come from Kremstal vineyards, vinified & bottled in the Kremstal, may bear the commercial designation KremstalDAC.
This is the same as in the French province Burgundy and in many other world-renowned winegrowing regions: the most detailed origin, the vineyard site – or in Austria the Ried (unique to Austria; German growers do not use it) – is of the utmost importance. With this appellation system as a model, the winegrowing regions Kamptal, Kremstal & Traisental began to discuss existing regulations relevant to their wines of protected origin, Grüner Veltliner & Riesling KamptalDAC, KremstalDAC or TraisentalDAC a few years ago.
As a result of this lengthy process, a three-tier system has now been anchored in the regulations. According to this, as of the 2016 vintage, winegrowers can submit their wines in the categories Gebietswein (regional wine), Ortswein (village wine) or Riedenwein (single vineyard wine) for approval by the federal control authorities. The respective category should be immediately recognisable on the front label. Examples: a Gebietswein is then simply called ‘Kamptal’, an Ortswein ‘Langenlois’, or a single vineyard wine ‘Heiligenstein’.
Also new: there are now lower limits for alcohol content, but no more upper limits. This rules out a wine running the risk of obligatory marketing as Landwein ‘Niederösterreich’ due to high alcohol content. Reserve wines will continue to be available on the market, but will only differ from the other DAC wines in terms of their release date, and not in terms of alcohol. Reserves can only be submitted for the control number from 1 July after the harvest, and the term ‘Reserve’ is now only a supplementary designation; it is no longer a separate category. In order to avoid any confusion of vineyards with brand names, an amendment to the Wine Law of 2009 stipulates that the word »Ried« must appear on the label before the name of any wine with a vineyard designation.
With the three-tier designations Gebiet – Ort – Ried in the appellation system, explanations are now much easier, especially in the international realm where the system is already familiar. But awareness of provenance is also growing in Austria. Critical consumers want to know where the origin of the purchased product lies, and are grateful for clear regulations. With the new statutes, individual vineyards are given more attention and thus gain in value.
One can see here images of the ‘pyramid’ and sample labels – now in use – as they might appear very soon in the Kremstal.