NEWSAustria makes it sparkle

Austria makes it sparkle

Austria is not only an up-and-coming wine country, but also an emerging sparkling wine country, which differs from Germany in its structure here. Leading the way is the Austrian Sparkling Wine Committee, which invited to a presentation at the Carinthian Wörthersee.

AUSTRIA (Velden at Wörthersee) – 200 Austrian companies produce sparkling wine, many do so ambitiously. A few dozen are members of the sparkling wine committee founded in 2013, which launched a three-level quality pyramid as early as 2014. The basis here is the “Klassik” category, in which tank fermentation is also permitted after at least nine months of yeast storage. The sparkling wine must come exclusively from Austria; it thus complies with the regulations for sparkling wines of protected origin (PDO). The prices of these sparkling wines are not infrequently well above the 10-euro mark. Nevertheless, a total of 12.4 million liters of it have been bottled in the last three years. “Reserve” stands for at least 18 months of yeast storage; only the classic process with bottle fermentation is permitted. The grapes must come from one state. 1.4 million liters were bottled between 2018 and 2020. The absolute top, which definitely reaches the level of very good champagne, is still rare (200,000 liters), because quite a few sparkling wines still have more than the required 30 months of yeast aging (origin from one place) behind them and the price is usually well over 30 euros.

In Velden am Wörthersee, 21 producers presented their products in comparison with Prosecco, Franciacorta, Crémant and Champagne. A certain superiority was evident, but this was partly due to the fact that the international competition was not the very best. Nevertheless, the sparkling wine committee hopes that a message will reach the Austrian gastronomy. Herbert Jagersberger, chairman of the sparkling wine committee and also head of Sektkellerei Schlumberger, says, “Our wines have a market share of 85 percent on restaurant menus, and only 30 percent for sparkling wine.”

Austria Sparkling Wine
21 producers presented their products in Velden am Wörthersee in comparison with Prosecco, Franciacorta, Crémant and Champagne. (Photo: Gerd Schneider)

It helps with quality that there are a number of ambitious winemakers on the Austria sparkling wine scene, for example the pioneers Bründlmayer and Steininger from Langenlois, who first launched vintners’ sparkling wines on the market 30 years ago. Also among the notables are the houses of Schloss Gobelsburg, Jurtschitsch, Malat, Loimer, Stift Klosterneuburg and Topf. And then there are two eager verse makers with Szigeti from Burgenland and Harkamp from Styria, who are active for numerous colleagues in addition to their own first-class sparkling wines. It was interesting to note that in the meantime some self-marketers in the mountain region of Carinthia, which for a long time was vinous wasteland (now over 140 hectares under vine), are also involved in sparkling wine, namely the houses Weinhof Vulgo Ritter, Trippelgut, Domäne Lilienberg and the largest of all with 40 hectares, the young winery Trippelgut, which has its sparkling wines made by Szigeti.

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