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Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Austria

In Austria, viticulture has been practised since the time of settlement by the Celts almost 3,000 years ago. The Burgenland community of Zagersdorf and the Lower Austrian community of Stillfried in the Weinviertel are considered to be the oldest wine-growing communities in Austria. In both places, grape seeds were found that date back to 700 and 900 BC respectively and can clearly be assigned to the European grapevine species Vitis vinifera. The lifting of the ban on planting vines outside Italy by Emperor Domitian (51-96) by Emperor Probus (232-282) had a positive effect on viticulture. This was the beginning of an orderly viticulture in the Roman provinces of Noricum (Upper Austria and Lower Austria) and Pannonia (Burgenland). During the almost 200-year-long turmoil of the migration of peoples from the end of the fourth century onwards, viticulture almost came to a standstill due to many devastations.

Österreich - Landkarte politisch


A revival of widespread viticulture did not take place again until the 9th century under the great influence of Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). The Catholic orders of the Benedictines and Cistercians can be credited with special services to viticulture. In the Middle Ages, the monasteries of Göttweig Abbey (Kremstal), Klosterneuburg Abbey (Wagram), Melk Abbey (Wachau) and Heiligenkreuz Abbey (Thermenregion) were the main pillars of viticulture. The now abandoned Dinstlgut (Wachau, Lower Austria) also made an important contribution. The oldest Austrian winegrowing regulations with rules on working hours and fixed penalties for grape theft were issued by the Habsburg Duke Albrecht II (1298-1358) in 1352. As early as the Middle Ages there was also a division into wine quality classes.

Largest area under vines

In the 16th century, viticulture in Austria reached its peak; the area under vines was at least three times as large as it is today, at around 150,000 to perhaps even 200,000 hectares. Salzburg's Mönchsberg was planted with vines, as were the slopes of the Semmering. There were vineyards near Linz (Upper Austria), near Salzburg and on a large scale in Carinthia and Tyrol. And the capital Vienna was literally built on vineyards. The wine book of the clergyman Johann Rasch (1540-1612) describes in detail the viticulture, cellar techniques and drinking culture of the time (see picture). However, the rise of beer, high tax burdens and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) brought about a decline in the 17th century. Problems were caused above all by the tax, also called Ungeld, because it was increased from 10% to 30% within only twelve years. This led to many vineyards being grubbed up and wheat or other products being grown instead. Now inferior grape varieties were preferred and cheap mass wine was produced from them.

Rasch Johann - Buch und Kalender


Under Maria Theresa (1717-1780), decrees were issued for the exploitation of cheap wine. Many vinegar distilleries, schnapps distilleries and mustard production from grape must were established. Under Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790), a written decree was issued on 17 August 1784 permitting the sale of one's own fechsung even in one's own house. He thus laid the foundation stone for the Heuriger. The 19th century saw a number of catastrophes. An extreme cold spell, fungal diseases introduced from America and, as a negative highlight, phylloxera devastated entire wine-growing regions. The pest probably arrived in Austria in 1867, when August-Wilhelm Freiherr von Babo (1827-1894), director of the Klosterneuburger Weinbauinstitut founded in 1860, was given American vines from Germany.

Sparkling wine

A milestone in Austrian wine history was set by Robert Schlumberger (1814-1879). In 1846 he introduced his "Vöslauer white sparkling wine" produced according to the méthode champenoise, which became a great success. After the Second World War, the old structures were changed through rationalisation and mechanisation. The conversion to the new vine training of the so-called high culture by Lenz Moser III (1905-1978) in Rohrendorf near Krems in Lower Austria made it possible to use the most modern equipment. The use of diethylene glycol for sweetening caused a wine scandal in 1985. However, this led to the introduction of stricter laws and above all controls in Austria, which contributed decisively to the improvement of quality. In 1993, the project certification of vines was started with the aim of improving quality in the long term by analysing and selecting the healthiest possible vines.

Climate and Soils

Austria is characterised by a continental Pannonian climate. There are cold winters and hot, dry summers with a long vegetation cycle. Warm, sunny summer days with often cool nights and mild autumn days are typical for most wine-growing areas. Annual precipitation averages 400 mm in the east, in Styria it can even be 800 mm or more. The Danube and its two tributaries Krems and Kamp as well as Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland have a positive influence on the climate. On the shores of Europe's second largest steppe lake, grapes of the Ausbruch, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese (or Ausbruch) predicate levels often ripen in late autumn. Due to the often very low temperatures from December to January, considerable production of ice wine is also possible in the east.

The altitude of most vineyards is mostly about 200 m, in Lower Austria up to 400 m, the highest vineyards are in Styria up to 560 m and Tyrol at 1,000 m above sea level. The wine-growing areas are mostly located in temperate climates without great extremes, roughly on the 47th and 48th parallel; roughly comparable to the French Burgundy. The soil types are quite different. In Lower Austria, loess predominates in the Weinviertel and the Danube Valley, primary rock in the Krems Valley and the Wachau, and limestone in the Thermenregion. In Burgenland the soils consist mainly of slate, loam, marl, loess and sand, and in Styria of brown earth and volcanic soils.

Österreich - Weinbauregionen

Wine-growing regions

Austria is divided into three wine-growing regions (until 2009 there were four, including Vienna). These are Weinland (with the generic wine-growing regions of Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna), Steirerland (Styria) and Bergland (the remaining five federal provinces). All nine federal provinces are generic wine-growing regions, the largest four are divided into specific wine-growing regions (e.g. specific wine-growing region Wachau in the generic wine-growing region Lower Austria). All wine-growing areas are located in the European wine-growing zone B (Germany largely in A). From the 2002 vintage onwards, the origin-specific DAC system (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) was introduced.

Österreich - Karte der generischen Weinbaugebiete

Wine-growing region










WINE COUNTRY (Burgenland, Lower Austria, Vienna)










Eisenberg DAC (formerly Südburgenland) 708 670 515 511
Leithaberg DAC (formerly Neusiedlersee-Hügelland) 924 579 3.097 2.875
Mittelburgenland DAC 358 234 2.104 2.035
Lake Neusiedl DAC 1.339 886 6.675 6.110
Rosalia DAC - 107 515 241

Lower Austria





Carnuntum DAC 282 207 906 832
Kamptal DAC 823 585 3.907 3.574
Kremstal DAC 747 587 2.368 2.252
Thermenregion 693 554 2.182 1.872
Traisental DAC 451 382 815 848
Wachau DAC / Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus 502 455 1.344 1.323
Wagram (formerly Donauland) 926 638 2.720 2.459
Weinviertel DAC 3.791 2.621 13.858 13.911
without winegrowing region 54 5 45 2

Vienna DAC










South Styria DAC 623 580 2.563 2.788
Vulkanland Steiermark DAC (formerly Südoststeiermark) 1.199 1.058 1.524 1.657
Western Styria DAC 261 246 546 641
without winegrowing area 2 2 0,3 0






Carinthia - 87 - 123
Upper Austria - 74 - 78
Salzburg - 1 - 0
Tirol - 34 - 14
Vorarlberg - 9 - 5

Österreich - Karte der spezifischen Weinbaugebiete

Winegrowing enterprises and production volumes

The figures refer to surveys in 2022 compared to 2015 (farms) and 2017 (vineyards). The number of farms has extremely reduced from 45,380 with an average farm size of 1.28 hectares (1987) to 20,181 with 2.26 hectares (2009), to 14,133 with 3.2 hectares (2017) to finally 10,763 with 4.2 (2022) to about a quarter of the farms.

The number of small farms (with a sales volume of less than 5,000 litres) has almost halved. Many small winegrowers with a vineyard size of one hectare or less have sold their land to larger farms or given up cultivation. The number of efficient farms over 30,000 litres has risen to around 1,500. The number of producer bottlers of quality wine has fallen to around 4,000 farms. In 2021, 2.46 million hectolitres of wine were produced, of which 1.73 million hectolitres were white wine (70%) and 0.73 million hectolitres were red wine and rosé wine (30%). The long-standing trend from white wine to red wine did not continue, but was reversed (see under wine production volumes).

Vineyards and grape varieties

With the INVEKOS system introduced by the EU, all planted vineyards are digitally recorded. In Austria, 26 white wine and 14 red wine varieties are defined as quality wine grape varieties, which may be used for all quality types. The designations Weißer Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Blauer Burgunder, Rheinriesling and Blaufränkisch are not permitted for "wine with and without grape variety/vintage" in order to exclude confusion by supposedly indicating regions of origin (Burgundy, Rhine, Franconia). Instead, the designations Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling are permitted for these wines. Furthermore, there are additional permitted grape varieties for these wines.

Development from 1951

The largest area under vines was in 1980 with 59,545 hectares. Austria is a typical white wine country, special red wine regions are Mittelburgenland, Südburgenland, Weststeiermark and Thermenregion. The red wine areas have increased continuously over the last 70 years, since 1951 the share has increased from 10% to 32% or quadrupled. However, this trend was stopped recently. In 2022, the vineyards covered a total of 44,728 hectares of vines. Compared to 2016 with 4,633 hectares, this was a reduction of 1,787 hectares (3.8%). Of these, 30,300 hectares (68%) are planted with white wine varieties and 14,428 hectares (32%) with red wine varieties. The organic vineyard area in Austria amounted to 6,976 hectares in 2021, which corresponded to 15.3% of the total area. Of this, Burgenland 2,280, Lower Austria 3,866, Styria 569 and Vienna 202 hectares. This area is cultivated by 873 farms. The development of vineyards since 1951:

Österreich - Tabelle Entwicklung der Rebflächen

Changes 2017 to 2022

Compared to 2017, the area under vines has decreased by 1,787 hectares (4%). Grüner Veltliner is the undisputed leader with 32.5% of the total area and almost 50% of the white wine varieties. Zweigelt dominates the red wine varieties, followed by Blaufränkisch and Merlot. The biggest climbers were Chardonnay, Goldmuskateller, Merlot, Muscaris and Sauvignon Blanc, the biggest relegated were Blauer Portugieser, Müller-Thurgau, St. Laurent and Welschriesling. The 5 top varieties:

Österreich - die Top-5-Rebsorten

Grape varieties

The most important varieties; the quality wine grape varieties in comparison 2017 with 2022:

Grape variety
Main name

in Austria
permitted synonyms






Grüner Veltliner Weißgipfler white 14.549 32,5 14.423 31,0
Zweigelt Blue Zweigelt, Rotburger red 6.130 13,7 6.426 13,8
Welschriesling - white 2.882 6,4 3.338 7,2
Blaufränkisch - red 2.597 5,8 3.009 6,5
White Riesling Riesling, Rhine Riesling white 2.040 4,6 1.986 4,3
Chardonnay Morillon (Styria) white 1.934 4,3 1.618 3,5
White Burgundy Pinot Blanc, Klevner white 1.873 4,2 1.971 4,2
Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Sylvaner white 1.692 3,8 1.248 2,7
Muscat Blanc Yellow M., Red M. / Muscat Blanc white 1.480 3,3 864 1,9
Müller-Thurgau Rivaner white 1.273 2,8 1.788 3,8
Merlot - red 806 1,8 724 1,6
St. Laurent - red 596 1,3 732 1,6
Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir red 590 1,3 616 1,3
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 572 1,3 589 1,3
Blue Wildbacher - red 520 1,2 459 1,0
Blue Portugieser - red 483 1,1 1.263 2,7
Blauburger - red 460 1,0 742 1,6
Muscat Ottonel - white 319 0,7 357 0,8
Grey Burgundy Pinot Gris, Ruländer white 313 0,7 226 0,5
Scheurebe seedling 88 white 303 0,7 357 0,8
Roesler - red 274 0,6 238 0,5
Traminer Gewürztraminer, Red T., Yellow T. white 264 0,6 284 0,6
Neuburger - white 253 0,6 497 1,1
Frühroter Veltliner Malvasia white 244 0,5 367 0,8
Bouvier - white 210 0,5 220 0,5
Roter Veltliner - white 191 0,4 195 0,4
Syrah Shiraz red 152 0,3 153 0,3
Rotgipfler - white 112 0,3 119 0,3
Cabernet Franc - red 98 0,2 75 0,2
Blossom muscatel - white 89 0,2 - -
Muscaris - white 86 0,1 - -
Zierfandler Late red white 62 0,1 78 0,2
Souvignier Gris - white 61 0,1 - -
Rathay - red 42 0,1 35 0,1
Gold muscatel - white 40 0,1 - -
Goldburger - white 37 0,1 98 0,2
Furmint - white 27 0,1 11 -
Sylvaner Green Sylvaner white 24 0,1 38 0,1
Gold muscatel - red 9 - - -
Jubilee vine - white 3 - 6 -
other varieties - - 1.046 2,3 1.370 2,9
















Wine categories / quality levels

The EU wine market regulation, which came into force in 2009, brought fundamental changes to the quality levels. The new EU-compliant designations PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and PDO (Protected Origin) were banned in Austria in order not to confuse consumers and the old designations Landwein and Qualitätswein/Prädikatswein were retained. The three levels are (the first two are considered one):

  • Wine without a narrower indication of origin (formerly the now banned term Tafelwein).
  • Wine with grape varieties and/or vintage indication
  • Landwein (use of PGI is not permitted)
  • Quality wine and Prädikat wine (use of PDO is not permitted)

Wine without indication of variety and/or vintage - Wine from Austria:

  • maximum three times the average yield per hectare
  • no other cultivation and production rules
  • minor wine defects such as slight " Böckser " are permitted.

Wine with indication of variety and/or vintage - wine from Austria

  • free from defects in appearance, smell and taste
  • Maximum yield per hectare 10,000 kg grapes or 7,500 l wine (see below under yield)
  • at least 3.5 g/l total acidity
  • Quality wine grape varieties as well as others by country-specific regulation
  • Indication of variety exclusively for the quality wine grape varieties listed above.
  • minimum alcohol content 8.5% vol.
  • maximum enrichment 2%

Country wine

  • Grapes from one wine-growing region; only this region is permitted as origin
  • Maximum yield per hectare 10,000 kg grapes or 7,500 l wine (see below under yield)
  • Only quality wine grape varieties
  • At least 14 °KMW must weight
  • Alcohol content max. 13.5% vol. for white wine, max. 14.5% vol. for red wine
  • at least 4 g/l total acidity
  • Sweetening to a maximum of 15 g/l

Quality wine

  • positive sensory and analytical test = state test number
  • Grapes from a wine-growing region (origin for DAC is specific wine-growing region, other quality wines only generic wine-growing region)
  • production in the wine-growing region of the wine-growing area or adjacent region
  • only quality wine grape varieties
  • Maximum yield per hectare 10,000 kg grapes or 7,500 l wine (see below under yield)
  • at least 15 °KMW must weight
  • at least 9% vol. actual alcohol content (Prädikatswein 5% vol.)
  • at least 4 g/l total acidity
  • sweetening to a maximum of 15 g/l


  • higher quality wine level (in contrast to Germany no Prädikatswein)
  • at least 17° KMW
  • maximum 12.9% (13% until 2016) vol. alcohol content maximum 4 g/l residual sugar or 9 g/l

Prädikat wines

According to EU law, also a quality wine, as officially there are only the three quality levels mentioned. However, traditional designations may continue to be used, which is also used by other countries such as Germany, Italy (DOC and DOCG) and Spain (DO and DOCa). According to Austrian wine law, a Prädikatswein is thus a higher level of quality wine. There are the six Prädikat wine types Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese or Ausbruch, Strohwein and Eiswein. General regulations are:

  • must comply with all quality wine regulations
  • Residual sugar may only be achieved by interrupting fermentation.
  • Sweetening or enrichment is not permitted
  • Alcohol content at least 5% vol.
  • from Auslese Grapes with overripe, noble rotten and dried berries (Botrytis)


At least 19°KMW; fully ripe grapes.


At least 21 °KMW; fully ripe, selected grapes.


At least 25 °KMW; overripe and/or noble rot grapes.


At least 27 °KMW, exclusively noble rotten, overripe and dried berries. The designation may only be used for the Ruster Ausbruch.


At least 30 °KMW; noble rotten, shrivelled grapes.

Straw wine

Since 2002, the designation " Schilfwein" (reed wine ) has also been permitted as an alternative. At least 25 °KMW must weight. Must be produced from fully ripe and sugar-rich berries that have been stored on straw, reeds or hung on strings for at least three months before pressing. According to an amendment to the law in 2002, however, the grapes can be pressed after only two months if a must weight of at least 30 °KMW has been reached. If the must degrees are not reached, the wine can (must) be marketed as quality wine.

Ice wine

At least 25 °KMW. The grapes are pressed in a frozen state. If the must degree is not reached, the wine can (must) be marketed as quality wine.

Special types of wine

There are a number of specific designations or wine types with wine law specifications. These are Auswahl, Ausstich, Classic (Klassik), Dreikönigswein, Gespritzter, Leopoldiwein, Jubiläumswein, Jungfernwein (First Harvest), Martiniwein, Messwein, Nikolowein, Primus (First), Premium, Reserve (Große Reserve, Grande Reserve), Selection (Selektion, Grande Selection), Stefaniwein, Tradition and Weihnachtswein. Other wine types are:


Permitted for Landwein and Qualitätswein if the grapes come from terraced vineyards or steep vineyards with a slope of more than 26% (45 degrees).


Designation for wine irrespective of the quality level from grapes harvested exclusively in Austria and produced in Austria. However, the wine may only be sold to resellers by 31 December of the year following the harvest at the latest and to consumers by 31 March of the following year. Heuriger is also the common name for Buschenschank in Austria.


Protected designation for a partially fermented grape must. The actual alcohol content must be at least 1.0% and can be up to 10% vol.

Gemischter Satz

This origin-protected term is exclusively reserved for Austria within the EU. Wiener Gemischter Satz is a DAC wine in the wine-growing region of Vienna.

Organic wine

The production is at least subject to the guidelines according to the EU Organic Regulation, as well as, if applicable, the often even stricter rules of various organic associations. The Austrian umbrella organisation is Bio Austria. In 2021, Austria had 6,976 hectares of vineyards (which is about 15% of the total area) that are cultivated organically and is among the world leaders (see the table above and under organic viticulture).

Sekt Austria

Starting with the 2015 vintage, a sparkling wine quality pyramid with the three levels "Classic", "Reserve" and "Great Reserve" was introduced and changed to "Sekt Austria", "Sekt Austria Reserve" and "Sekt Austria Great Reserve" starting with the 2022 vintage.

Important wine law provisions

The Austrian standard work regarding wine law is "Weingesetz" (Manz-Verlag), which comprises 818 pages in the 5th edition published in 2012. It offers a presentation of the entire wine law including all regulations and EU provisions. Furthermore, there is the electronic database RIS (Legal Information System) with, among other things, contributions on wine law (see also Wine Law and EU Regulations).

Must weight

For each quality level there is a minimum must weight (see above).


The INVEKOS system mentioned above also had an influence on the maximum permitted yields per hectare. The maximum yield per hectare may now be 10,000 kg of grapes or 7,500 l of wine (previously 9,000 kg of grapes or 6,750 l of wine). 1.33 kg of grapes thus yields 1 l of wine. The Ministry of Agriculture may, at the request of the National Wine Committee, reduce or increase the maximum quantity per hectare for the harvest of a year by up to 20% by decree, if this is required by the climatic or viticultural conditions for that year. For wine without grape variety/vintage, a maximum of three times the average hectare yield of a farm; for all other quality levels, a maximum hectare yield of kilograms of grapes or litres of wine applies. If the maximum quantity is exceeded, the entire harvest of a vintage must be marketed as wine without a grape variety or vintage designation. The yields must be reported to the BKI (Bundeskellereiinspektion - Federal Winery Inspectorate) by means of a harvest report, which also checks compliance.


For wine (without grape variety/vintage) only EU or Austria may be indicated, for table wine the wine-growing region must be indicated, smaller units (wine-growing region, Großlage, municipality) are not permitted. For quality wines and above, closer origins (wine-growing region, wine-growing area, Großlage, municipality, Ried in connection with municipality name) may be used if the wine originates 100% from the specified area.


An indication is only not permitted for wine without grape variety/vintage. For the other quality levels, the percentage must be at least 85% of the indicated vintage. Sweeteners, dosage do not count towards the 15%. In the case of ice wine harvested in the following year (January or later), the previous year must be indicated.

Grape varieties

Only wine (without grape variety/vintage) may not be indicated. In the case of the other quality grades, the proportion must be at least 85% of the vine variety indicated. In the case of two or more vine varieties, the names may be indicated in descending order of quantity if they add up to 100%. The indication of varietal purity is only permitted if the wine originates 100% from the indicated grape variety. For Spätlese and Auslese wines, the grape variety(ies) must be indicated.

The blending of grapes, mash, must or wine from red wine and white wine grapes is only permitted for wine without vintage/variety indication. However, these wines may then not be described as red wine or white wine, but only as "wine from Austria".

Sugar content

Austria has made it compulsory to indicate the Restzuckerresidual sugarcontent on the label. A wine is considered dry with a maximum of 4 g/l (formerly the now no longer permitted extra dry) or with a maximum of 9 g/l if the total acidity is not more than 2 g/l lower than the residual sugar. At 8 g/l, for example, this requires at least 6 g/l total acidity. The other grades are semi-dry with 12 g/l or 18 g/l if the total acidity is not more than 10 g/l lower, medium sweet with a higher value than for semi-dry but a maximum of 45 g/l, as well as sweet with at least 45 g/l. Not relevant from a wine law point of view are herb and Austrian dry.

Sweetening (increase in residual sugar)

Wine with and without grape variety/vintage may be sweetened by a maximum of 4% vol. alcohol content; this is approx. 68 g/l residual sugar, which corresponds to approx. 5 °KMW. In contrast, Landwein and Qualitätswein may be sweetened up to a maximum of 15 g/l residual sugar. Landwein and Qualitätswein may be sweetened up to a maximum of 15 g/l unfermented sugar. This can be done by adding grape must, concentrated grape must or (which is rarely done) RCGM (rectified grape must). Sucrose is prohibited as a sweetener. In principle, sweetening is not permitted for Kabinett and Prädikat wines.

Enrichment (increase of the natural alcohol content)

May be carried out on all types of wine by a maximum of 2% vol. alcohol content by means of the authorised agents. After application, a maximum of 18 g/l residual sugar (previously 15 g/l) is permitted in the case of Landwein and Qualitätswein. The alcohol content may be reduced to a maximum of 12% vol. for white wine and 12.5% vol. for red wine; to a maximum of 13.5% vol. for white local wine or quality wine; and to a maximum of 14.5% vol. for red local wine and quality wine. In the case of Kabinett and Prädikatswein, enrichment is in principle not permitted.

Institutions and bodies

Important institutions, bodies, authorities and research institutes that carry out research, organising, controlling, publicising or training functions in connection with viticulture include the BKI (Federal Winery Inspectorate), Klosterneuburger Weinbauinstitut, ÖWM (Austria Wine Marketing), Silberberg (Viticulture Institute) and Weinakademie Österreich (see also under Viticulture Institutions).

Influential wine authors or wine critics are Christa Hanten, Helmut O. Knall, Walter Kutscher, Peter Moser, Michael Prónay, Peter Schleimer, Viktor Siegl and Rudolf Steurer. They contribute to many wine magazines and wine guides such as A la Carte - Magazin für Trink- und Esskultur, Falstaff Wein Guide Österreich/Südtirol, Gault Millau, Kutschers Kostnotizen, Vinaria Weinguide and Wine-Guide-Austria / Wine-Times (see also under Literature).

Austria political: by Tschubby - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Austria generic and specific
e wine-growing regions: ÖWM - Österreich Wein Marketing GmbH.
Grape varieties: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI).
Table Vineyard development and wine book: Norbert F. J. Tischelmayer

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