In Search Of Quality In Wine
Not all sites where the vine is planted bring forth comparable quality. It is time-honoured wisdom among winegrowers that there are vineyards, which – with the appropriate care – consistently produce exceptional wines every year, while elsewhere wines are grown that might be no better than good or fair. Some of the attributes that distinguish an outstanding vineyard are known to us. But one can not consider them in isolation, because a meagre soil alone will not yield a great wine. It is essential to examine the interaction between soil structure, precipitation, air currents, exposure, elevation and – of course – the temperature development during the vegetation cycle (with special attention given to contrasts between day & night).
Based on these considerations, the growers’ association Österreichische Traditionsweingüter was founded in 1992. Its members set themselves the goal of classifying the outstanding vineyard sites in Austria, in order to provide the consumer with an element of orientation in navigating the great diversity of origins in the world of wine.
For nearly two decades, the members of this association have carefully observed and analysed the development of each other´s wines from the sites along the Danube in the wine-growing areas of Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental and Wagram. The result of the analysis was presented with the “Klassifikation 2010”, in which 53 vineyards were designated as “Erste Lage”. In 2018, growers from Vienna and Carnuntum decides to designate their work to a classification on the vineyards of their growing area.
With the “Klassifikation 2019”, there are altogether 81 vineyard sites that can carry the “Erste Lage” 1ÖTW designation on the bottle label. This also requires – similar to the DAC regulation – that only the two most traditional grape varieties of the Danube region can be used for these wines, vinified in a dry style.