Despite the diversity of Austrian wines
, there is a constant factor that distinguishes them from other wines in the world: the freshness of their aromas and the optimum physiological maturity of the grapes.
Of course, there are many differences between the regions of production, including the diversity of soil types and micro-climates. There are 5 climate zones: the Danube area, Weinviertel, the Pannonian area, Steiermark and Bergland. These influence the character of the wines.
In Austria, 35 grape varieties are permitted for wine production (22 white and 13 red). The proportion of red wines has doubled in the last 20 years and now represents one-third of the vineyards in Austria.
The country has good conditions for the growing of international varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. But its main advantage remains its valuable selection of native varietals, with Grüner Veltliner at the top of the list. In addition to Grüner Veltliner, other varieties such as Neuburger (white), or Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent (red) are recognised, appreciated and turned into good quality wines.
As in France (and other European countries), Austria has a controlled designation of origin system. The DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) indicates where the grapes are harvested, irrespective of the location of the wine estate.
There are currently 9 DACs recognised by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture: Weinviertel DAC (Grüner Veltliner), Kamptal DAC (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling), Kremstal DAC (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling), Traisental DAC (Grüner Veltliner, Riesling) Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC (Gemischter Satz), Neusiedlersee DAC (Zweigelt), Leithaberg DAC (Weissburgunder, Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Neuburger, Blaufrankisch), Mittelburgenland DAC (Blaufrankisch), Eisenberg DAC (Blaufrankisch).