What is the climate of Austria?
Why are the winemaking regions in Austria clustered in the eastern part of the country?
Because the Alps in western Austria are unsuitable for viticulture.
What is the world's only political capital that is also a premium winegrowing region?
Which river runs through Vienna?
The Danube River
Why are summers generally warmer in Austria than in Germany?
Because Austria opens up to the Pannonian Plain, which is a large flatland (and former sea) that helps usher in warm air that accumulates between the Alps and Carpathian Mountains.
This warm air helps eastern Austrian reds achieve full ripeness and gives Austrian whites greater body and alcohol compared to their German counterparts.
How are the warm growing days in Austria counterbalanced to maintain acidity and freshness in the wines?
Cool winds originating in the north (Poland, Czech Republic) that cool down everything at night, creating a big diurnal shift.
What are the main white grapes of Austria?
Grüner Veltliner - most planted
Welschriesling - second most planted
Secondary varieties include:
- Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
- Sauvignon Blanc
What are the main red grapes of Austria?
Zweigelt - most planted black/red grape
- St Laurent
International grape varieties that are on the rise:
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
What are the parent grapes for Zweigelt?
Blaufränkisch x St Laurent
What are the 3 main soil types found in Austria?
- Volcanic debris
What was the 1985 wine scandal in Austria about?
Austrian wines suffered a blow to their reputation in 1985 when it was discovered that a few wine merchants were adding diethylene-glycol to bulk up, sweeten, and alter cheap wines.
Referred to as 'the anti-freeze scandal,' it wasn't literal anti-freeze being added to the wines (anti-freeze uses ethylene-glycol, not diethylene-glycol). There were no fatalities.
As a result, many positive changes and developments were made to Austrian wine law. Austria now has some of the most strict wine laws in the world and makes some of the world's most dynamic wines produced via sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming methods.
How can you tell a wine is Austrian just by looking at the capsule?
All Austrian Qualitätswein carry the red and white striped banderole on the capsule (it looks like the Austrian flag).
What is the must weight scale used in Austria?
KMW, or Klosterneuburger Mostwaage
It is measured in degrees from roughly 10º to 30º.
What are the 4 major winemaking regions, or federal states, in Austria?
- Wien (Vienna)
In dialect a federal state is known as Weinbauregion.
What are the 3 quality levels for wine in Austria?
From lowest quality to highest:
- Landwein (PGI)
- Qualitätswein (PDO)
What geographical indication may bottles of Wein, the lowest quality level of wine in Austria, carry?
Wines labeled 'Wein' may not have a specific geographical indication.
The labels will simply state that the wine is from Austria by using the term "Österreich” or “österreichischer Wein,” an equivalent to 'Vin de France'.
What is Landwein's geographic designation?
PGI, or Protected Geographic Indication
Landwein may be labeled with a broad geographic area. What are these 3 broad geographic areas?
All 3 geographic areas are PGIs.
What is Qualitätswein's geographic designation?
PDO, or Protected Designation of Origin
What are the 3 designations under Qualitätswein?
- DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus)
How many DACs are there in Austria?
How does a region become a DAC?
There are 14 DACs in Austria. See them here.
To be awarded DAC status, producers within a region have to come together and agree on:
- the style of wine they feel best represents their region (white, red, dry, sweet, etc.)
- the grape or grapes allowed in that style
Once the region has been approved DAC status, the producers have to make wines in the style and use the grapes they agreed upon. If a winemaker veers from these parameters, they cannot use DAC on that wine and the wine will be declassified to the federal state (Niederösterreich, Burgenland, etc.)
The DAC designation of Qualitätswein focuses on what?
Dry, still white and red wines.
In Austria, the Prädikatswein level focuses on medium-sweet and sweet wines.
What are the classifications of Prädikatswein?
- Strohwein (aka Schilfwein)
Note that Kabinett is not under Prädikat in Austria as it is in Germany; rather, Kabinett in Austria is a subset of Qualitätswein.
In terms of size, Niederösterreich is the ___ of the four federal states in Austria.
Niederösterreich translates to what in English?
What are the most important subregions of Lower Austria that make quality export wines?
- Kremstal DAC
- Kamptal DAC
Which wine-growing area in Austria is largest in terms of size?
What was Austria’s first DAC, and what is the only grape allowed under that DAC?
Weinviertel DAC, in 2003 starting with the 2002 vintage.
Grüner Veltliner is the only grape allowed to be labelled with Weinviertel DAC (read: Rieslings, or any other grapes besides Grüner Veltliner, from Weinviertel cannot be DAC as Grüner Veltliner is the sole grape allowed under the Weinviertel DAC).
What are the characteristics of Klassic wine in Austria?
What are the characteristics of Reserve wine in Austria?
Klassic wines must be made in a light, fresh style with no perceptible oak flavors.
Reserve wines must have higher alcohol than Klassic, are usually fuller bodied, and allowed to have perceptible (new) oak flavors.
Which subregion of Niederösterreich has most of the top-quality vineyards?
What is the word used for a single vineyard in Austria?
Ried, e.g. Ried Achleiten
What is common amongst the Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal in terms of the land and aspect?
All three subregions have steep, terraced, south-facing hillside vineyards that maximize sun exposure.
All three subregions are subject to the warm Pannonian air during the day and the cool, northern breezes at night, giving way to delicate aromatics and vibrant acidity in the grapes.
There is a select group of producers in the Wachau that formed their own organization that categorizes wines from their region as they chose not to become a DAC.
What is the name of the organization?
The full name is Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus, but it is known as Vinea Wachau.
What are the classifications used by Vinea Wachau?
What styles and grapes are allowed?
Codex Wachau is the name of the Wachau producers' weight classifications for wine.
It is used for dry, still Grüners and Rieslings based on must weight and alcohol content:
What is Wiener Gemischter Satz?
Wiener Gemischter Satz is a field blend of white grapes that are grown together, harvested together, and fermented together.
There are 20 varietals permitted, but a Gemischter Satz need only be made of at least 3 varietals.
These are big-boned white wines that are not allowed to show woody notes.
Name some top Niederösterreich producers.
- Emmerich Knoll
- Rudi Pichler
- FX Pichler
- Schloss Gobelsburger
- Willi Brundlmayer
- Sepp Moser
What is the eastern region of Austria that borders Hungary?
What styles of wine is Burgenland best known for?
What grapes are grown in Burgenland?
Burgenland is best known for dry reds and sweet whites, but it does make some still, dry whites.
- St Laurent
- some Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Blanc
- Grüner Veltliner
What is the principal red grape in Mittelburgenland?
What is the principal red grape best associated with Neusiedlersee DAC?
Autumn fog and high humidity around Lake Neusiedl and in eastern Austria make them key areas for producing what?
Botrytis-affected sweet wines.
The most commonly used grape for these wines is Welschriesling, but Weissburgunder and Chardonnay are also used.
What is Ausbruch? What are the permissible grapes?
Ausbruch is a sweet wine specialty from the village of Rust on the western side of Lake Neusiedl.
Permissible grapes include Furmint, Chardonnay, Muskateller, Neuburger, and Welschriesling.
Grapes are harvested at least 30º KMW.