Austrian Wine Terms

Our ever-expanding list of Austrian wine terms.

B

Beerenauslese (BA)

Meaning "berry select harvest," this wine label term is used to indicate a quality tier in the Prädikatswein systems used in Austria and Germany. In both countries grape berries are hand-selected for the presence of noble rot (Botrytis cinerea). BA wines are typically dessert wines. For wines to qualify as Beerenauslese in Germany, grape must density is between 110–128 ºOe (between 26–29.8 ºBx) with a potential alcohol of 15%–17.6% ABV. For wines to qualify as Beerenauslese in Austria, grape must density must be at or above 127 ºOe (29.6 ºBx) with a potential alcohol level at or above 17.5% ABV.

E

Eiswein

"Ice wine" in German and Austrian. Grapes for ice wines are harvested and pressed while still frozen.

H

Halbtrocken

In Austrian and German halbtrocken means "half-dry." In Austria, wines may have between 10–18 g/L RS (depending on acidity level). In Germany, wines may have 10–18 g/L RS unless they are labeled "Classic" and then they will have no more than 15 g/L RS.

K

Kabinett

A German and Austrian wine term. In Austria, Kabinett is a Qualitätswein with slightly higher production standards. In Germany, Kabinett is the first tier of the Pradikat quality wine system which quantifies wine quality by ripeness of grapes (measured in Oechsle or °Oe). Kabinett wines are harvested between 67-82 °Oe.

Klassik

An Austrian wine term to describe a wine made in a traditional light and zesty style. This term is commonly associated with Austrian white wines such as Grüner Veltliner.

L

Landwein

In Austria, Landweins are table wines made with one (or a blend) of the country's 36 official grapes. There are 3 Landwein regions that you may see used on Austrian wine labels: Weinland, Stiererland, and Bergland.

Lieblich

An Austrian and German term describing medium-sweet wines with up to 45 g/L residual sugar (RS).

O

ÖWT

ÖWT stands for Österreichische Traditionsweingüter and is an association of traditional Austrian winemakers founded in 1992 in Kremstal, Kamptal, Traisental, Wagram, and Carnuntum (starting in 2019). Wines labeled with 1ÖWT indicate the wine was from an ERSTE LAGEN or first vineyard site, which signifies a special vineyard site classification. In 2018, there were 72 Ersten Lagen.

Q

Qualitätswein

Austria's mark for quality wine. Qualitätswein wines are demarcated by a red-and-white striped bottle seal (typically found on the top of the capsule) that indicates the wine passed 2 inspections (a chemical and tasting analysis). Wines are made with 36 official grapes and labeled with one of the 16 wine regions or 9 Austrian states (e.g. Niederösterreich, Burgenland, Wien, Steiermark, etc).

R

Reserve

A wine label term that has many meanings depending on what country the wine is from. In the United States, Reserve is a non-regulated term. Some wineries use this term to describe a special quality level, others for marketing. In Austria, Reserve is used to describe wines made in a rich style with more than 13% ABV made with hand-harvested grapes.

T

Trocken

A German and Austrian wine term for dry wines which may contain up to 9 g/L RS (depending on their level of acidity). In Germany, when Trocken is used in combination with "Selection" (and is a wine from Rheingau) it means the grapes were hand-harvested.

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