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Austria Introduces New Qualifications for Still and Sparkling Wine

Wagram above the Danube valley, Austria / Getty

Earlier this month, Austrian wine made its fifth amendment in the last five years. The Wagram region became the country’s 17th Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC), a legal designation of quality and typicity for a geographic area. In addition, Sekt wines made with a protected designation of origin will take on the name Sekt Austria (PDO).

The Wagram recognition comes after seven years of exhaustive discussions. On February 2, the Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Sustainability and Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, signed the decree declaring that all wines labeled Wagram DAC must be dry by law, and white wines cannot be dominated by the influence of oak or any wood. The rules will start to apply with the 2021 vintage.

“It was a long process,” says Franz Leth of Weingut Leth, one of the committee members representing Wagram. “All parties needed to be happy and we finally came to an agreement to have a similar concept like in Wachau or in Styria.”

Wagram was known as Donauland until 2007. It spans over 5,000 acres of vineyards and can be divided into two considerably different zones. North of the Danube, bordering Kamptal, is large, flat terrain. Meanwhile, areas south of the Danube mainly consist of little villages in the Tullnerfeld basin, plus Klosterneuburg, a historic wine town that is home to Austria’s largest private wine estate, Stift Klosterneuburg.