Austria introduces sparkling wine tiers
Following on from the success of Austria's still wines their sparking wines have been attracting growing interest. In an effort to improve its reputation and help consumers to better understand the category a 3 tier quality pyramid has been introduced. The 3 tiers are as follows:- Level One: Guarantees that all grapes and base wines are from Austria and that production takes place in Austria. Maturation on the lees must last at least nine months.
Level Two: Requires that wines undergo the methode traditionnelle process – secondary fermentation in the bottle. The origin of the grapes and base wines must be from one generic wine growing region, such as Lower Austria. Wines must be matured on the lees for at least 18 months.
Level Three: Requires the grapes and the wines, fermented according to methode traditionnelle, to be from a specific community, such as Poysdorf or Langenlois. Wines must be released at least three years after harvest and with no less than 30 months of maturation on the lees. Austria produces around 12m bottles of sparkling wines annually and exports upto 2.5m bottles.
This will be incorporated into Austrian Wine Law in Spring 2015.