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Third region joins Austria appellation

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new region has joined Austria's growing appellation system as the country moves further to promote its wines by area rather than variety.

Traisenthal, one of the smallest wine-growing areas in Austria, became the third appellation to join the system when it signed up last month. Riesling and Grner Veltliner will be the permitted grape varieties within the Traisenthal zone.

The Weinviertel was Austria's first Districtus Austriae Controllatus (DAC), making Grner Veltliner wines only, and Blaufrnkisch specialist Mittelburgenland joined the system in 2006.

Since a new wine law was introduced in 1986, Austrian wine promotion has focused on grape varieties. In 2002, a geographically defined system was established, in contrast to previous marketing efforts.

The DAC system links a wine's origin with a clearly defined taste profile which must pass a tasting panel for typicity.

Susannah Staggl, marketing manager for Wines of Austria, said: A DAC is not about quality, and doesn't put the best wines together, but wines that adhere to a defined style. The DAC question came up because grape varieties are international - Hungary makes Grner Veltliner - and we didn't want to do varietal marketing for others to jump on the back of it.'

But Austrian producer Georg Preisinger said: We should stick to promoting our native varieties rather than the regions.'

Kurt Feilinger of Weingut Feiler-Artinger agreed: The DAC isn't a bad idea, but Wine Austria has been pushing grape varieties for so long now - Grner is our best-known product and is well marketed, but most people can't name any of our areas. The grape versus regional idea will just make Austria more complex to understand.'

Staggl admitted there was a lot of work to do, particularly outside Austria. When people think of Austria, they don't even think of wine, and we probably won't be able to change that view,' she said. She added that Wine Austria will focus on the appellation system in the long term, starting with a DAC presentation at Prowein later this month.