The origin of our wines.
A winemaker’s comment.
Wagram DAC in short.
How it all started. For decades, the designation of origin has been on the agenda among Austrian wine experts. However, it was the region of “Weinviertel” that made a real job of it and succefully introduced the “Weinviertel DAC”, the first protected designation of origin in Austria, more than 20 years ago. More and more regions followed, with Wagram being one of the latest regions that eventually changed it’s wine regulations and introduced the DAC. By doing so, Austria has moved the focus from a traditional “Germanic” system, emphasising grape varieties, toward the “Romanic” system that stresses the importance of origin (e.g. DOC – Italy, AOC – France).
DAC at the Wagram
The Wagram DAC allows for three catagories:
- Regional wines (Gebietsweine) provide the base. Grapes can be sourced from all over the Wagram region.
- Village wines (Ortsweine) sit one step above at a higher level in the pyramide of origin. Grapes derive from one of the defined villages in the Wagram region. Naturally, our wines at a village level are named after our little hometown Neudegg.
- On the top sit the single vinyard wines (Riedenweine). Wines are produced out of grapes grown in a very specific and hance geographically limited area in the Wagram region. In our case, these very outstanding wines come from the single vinyard Wadenthal.
The higher the level, the smaller the geographical origin and hence the more individual and limited the wines. The image on the right summarises how the system reflects in our portfolio.
Not all varieties and wine styles fit the rather strict rules of DAC. Therefore, stating “Austria” as a generic designiation of origin can be an option too. Our Johahn, for example, is made out of the PIWI-varieties Johanniter, Bronner and Muscaris. According to Austrian wine law, two of these variets are not yet designated “quality grapes”. So, if you look closely, you will realise that Johahn carries the origin Austria.
The Wagram DAC regulations turned into wine law as of vintage 2021. After a year of transition, all wines from the Wagram region have to be labelled accordingly.
DAC in Austria
What does DAC mean? DAC stands for „Districtus Austriae Controllatus“ and is the legal abbreviation given to an Austrian Qualitätswein (quality wine) that is particularly typical of its region.
Why all that hussle? Here’s a simple example: Imagine, you buy Grüner Veltliner at the supermarket (which we don’t recommend 😉 Can you be sure what country it comes from? In Austrian supermarket you might believe it had been produced locally. But that’s not written in stone. Grüner Veltliner is also planted in the Czech Republic, Hungary our even oversees in the US or New Zealand. You see, the variety Grüner Veltliner can’t give your certainty about the origin of the wine. A variety simply does not guarantee. On the contrary, Wagram, Weinviertel, Wachau or Kremstal are protected names that can’t be used anywhere else. So, all that hussle to eventually make it easier, avoid confusion and put emphasise on the origin of the wines.
Origin = Quality?
No new regulation without criticism! Of course, it’s good to put emphasise on Austria as the place of origin and provide distinctive criteria for each of its wine region as this makes a wine truely unique.
But who is to decide which wines ought to carry a designation of origin and which do not? (remember the above mentioned PIWI example) All wines with a designation of origin on the lable underwent a sensorical and analytical testing. Certified “tasters” are mostly trained to positively evaltuate wines of certain traditional types and styles. Unfiltered, macerated or individually matured wines, that encance the diversity of the wine world in general and are very popular in certain markets or with certain people, might be disqualified. Although the system is developing constantly, discussions won’t end and further enhancement is necessary.
To sum up, we recommend: Trust your own tasting buds, continue drinking what you really enjoy and don’t let yourself be irritated by too many regulations, loud voices and labelling details. Then, we’re sure, everyone will have a good time tasting!