The Weinviertel dac is a Grüner Veltliner characteristic of its region of origin and easily recognisable by its lighter yellow to darker greenish-yellow colour and its fine peppery, spicy-fruity taste. A Grüner Veltliner has to be dry, ageing with a maximum residual sugar of 6g/l. It must not display woody or botrytis-like notes and its alcoholic strength should be at least 12 % by vol.
Grüner Veltliner must comply with the regulations for a quality wine and, above all, it must undergo a stringent wine tasting procedure which looks for the typical requirements, namely the so-called ‘Pfefferl’ taste.
The idea behind the new DAC system was not to introduce a completely new quality measure, but to translate the existing quality measure into a system of origin that is easily understandable and internationally recognised. To ensure high quality, a Weinviertel dac has to prove itself in several tests: The basic control for the Weinviertel dac is identical to that of any quality wine, because the Weinviertel dac too has to fulfil all the criteria of a quality wine. A wine is defined as of high quality when, during an organoleptical examination, four out of six tasters agree upon its quality. There are two locations in the Weinviertel where wine is tested, one in Retz and the other in Poysdorf.
Weinviertel dac wines undergo yet another, even more stringent tasting session, in order to establish whether the wine displays this taste typical of the Weinviertel region. In this session, five out of six tasters have to classify the wine as a Weinviertel dac. In this process, reference wines aid in making the results more accurate. If a wine meets all the requirements, it may proudly display the Weinviertel dac however, if it fails this very high standard, it may still be called a quality wine showing Lower Austria as its designated region of origin.
DAC stands for „Districtus Austriae Controllatus“, which means „controlled designation of Austrian origin“. Since March 2003, the DAC has designated controlles quality wines from Austria with their regional characeristics. „Weinviertel dac“ bottles can be recognised by their uniform cap bearing a stylized map of the Weinviertel region. They only differ in colour and material).
A DAC wine is not a new type of wine – this is to say that it not only fulfils the traditional requirements for a quality wine but also displays the typical taste of a particular wine growing region. A wine labelled Weinviertel dac ensures the characteristic spicy-fruity Veltliner taste appreciated by wine connoisseurs. The Austrian DAC system has been designed with reference to the designation system of the renowned wine growing regions of Italy (Chianti, Soave), France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chablis) or Spain (Rioja). This goes to show that a grape variety may be grown anywhere, whereas wines produced in a particular location are distinctive.
Austria is a country with smaller-sized wine growing units and with a multitude of grapes, vineyards and regions. In the past decades, Austrian wine growers have worked towards a higher quality and an internationally accepted reputation for their wines. However, in order to remain competitive, smaller business units, such as exist in Weinviertel, Tuscany or Burgundy, need a system of generic designation to draw the customers’ attention to their produce and to secure themselves a long-term position in the market.
On a national as well as an international level, the DAC system places the Austrian wines – and among them the Weinviertel dac – in a position that is not only first class but that also provides customers with clear information. This is designed to make wine-buyers’ purchasing decisions easier: by being able to assign taste and region to a wine, the wine becomes recognisable at any time.
For exports, the DAC system has an essential advantage. Until now, the Austrian wine exports suffered from the fact that, due to the small business units, mostly run by one family, only very few wine growers could continually supply the foreign markets with their wines. Compared with the international production quantities, Austrian output is simply too small. However, with the new system, the wine is inseparably linked to a particular wine growing region. Therefore, one name or concept (such as Weinviertel dac) is enough for wine merchants and connoisseurs to be sure that they may expect to find a wine tested for its taste and quality, regardless of which wine grower has produced it.
With the 2009 vintage, the available two-tiered DAC system, which includes the Reserve level, has been introduced also in the Weinviertel. With this, the taste profile should reflect even more typicity. And the number of wines that come on the market under the Weinviertel designation should increase.
As with the Weinviertel dac wine, the Weinviertel dac Reserve - level wine must demonstrate a clear, region-typical taste profile – it must be a peppery Grüner Veltliner from the Weinviertel. But it also must have other distinguishing features: dry; a dense structure; a long finish and a robust style. Subtle Botrytis and wood tones are acceptable. The minimum alcohol content – at least 13 % vol. - must be printed on the label. Filing for a government approval number can be done no earlier than March 15th of the year following the harvest. The purchasing of additional grapes for the production of Weinviertel dac Reserve wines is permitted only within the region. “Trauben für Weinviertel dac Reserve“ (grapes for Weinviertel dac Reserve) must be stated on the invoice, and the natural must weight in KMW (Klosterneuburger Mostwaage) must be declared as well.Regarding the application for a government approval number four out of six tasters must agree that the wine, from a sensory perspective, can be marketed under the name Weinviertel dac Reserve. Before the first-time application for a government approval number, written notification must be given to the Regional Wine Committee Weinviertel. Bottling is to take place in the production enterprise (winery) and in the Weinviertel. If bottling is to take place outside of the region, then it must be approved first by the Regional Wine Committee. Wine with the Weinviertel dac Reserve designation can be sold only when the bottle features a specific capsule. This is a uniform capsule for the Weinviertel dac and Weinviertel dac Reserve wines, and can be obtained only with the approval of the Wine Committee Weinviertel. Moreover, a per-capsule fee must be paid to, and utilised by, the Wine Committee Weinviertel.Beginning with the 2012 vintage, each winery producing a Weinviertel dac Reserve must be certified according to a regional quality management system developed by the Weinviertel Regional Wine Committee and implemented and monitored by an external auditor.