Vienna Gemischter Satz set for DAC status21st August, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
One of Austria’s most distinctive and traditional wine styles, Wiener Gemischter Satz, is on track to win approval as the country’s ninth DAC.
Gemischter Satz refers to the field blends – vineyards planted with a mix of different grape varieties – that for hundreds of years have been used to produce wine within the city boundaries of Vienna.
Much of the wine produced from Vienna’s 612 hectares of vineyard has historically been sold through the city’s Heuriger, or wine taverns, although improved quality in recent years has seen it spread onto high end restaurant lists.
The system was originally implemented as a means of minimising risk, since the presence of so many varieties, each with different ripening times, enabled a more consistent quality and quantity of annual wine production.
Following a 10-year quality drive, including new cultivation regulations, by the local WienWein group, the Regional Wine Committee of Vienna has now applied for this style to be awarded DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus) status, equivalent to DOC in other parts of Europe.
If successful, the classification will be applied to Wiener Gemischter Satz wines from the 2013 vintage onwards.
Under the new regulations, Wiener Gemischter Satz vineyards much include at least three white “quality” grape varieties, such as Riesling, Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. However, no variety is allowed to comprise more than 50% of the field blend and the third variety must represent at least 10% of the vineyard.
In terms of wine style, 12.5% abv is the maximum alcohol content permitted, while the wine must be dry and show no “strongly recognisible expression” of wood.
A separate single vineyard designation is also available as part of the DAC classification. In order to qualify, these wines must have a minimum of 12.5% alcohol and do not need to be dry. However, they may not be released before 1 March of the year following the harvest.
With the DAC classification due to apply only to Vienna’s Gemischter Satz-style wines, other wines produced within the city will be designated as Wiener Wein. Likewise, other Gemischter Satz falling outside the DAC requirements will be marketed as Landwein.
“The new DAC for the Wiener Gemischter Satz is a much more stringent guarantee of quality and origin than the previous regulation,” explained Willi Klinger, managing director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.
Herbert Schilling, head of Vienna’s Regional Wine Committee, welcomed this “milestone in the consistent, years-long quality policy for wine growing in Vienna,” saying: “the new regulations sharpen the origin profile of Wiener Gemischter Satz and, at the same time, reflect Vienna´s diversity in the glass.”
Vienna is not the only capital city with an urban vineyard scheme. While the Chilean capital of Santiago has expanded around an estate belonging to Cousiño Macul, London can also now boast its own vineyards.