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The Warsaw Voice » Other » May 10, 2006
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Raise Your Glasses
May 10, 2006   
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Austria's wine industry has undergone a highly impressive turnaround over the past two decades. The strictest wine law in the world, together with an innovative generation of winemakers, has established a strong position for Austrian wine in the home market as well as the highest export figures in decades. In fact, Austria is indeed one of the most innovative and dynamic wine countries anywhere.

By the book
The introduction of one of the most rigorous wine laws in the world laid the foundation of Austria's wine industry. In principle, this new wine law states that anything not explicitly permitted-is not allowed. "Even new methods of wine production that have come about with the international wine boom must undergo discussion here in Austria. These methods may be practiced in other countries, but here in Austria, most of them must be tested-and only under close, careful supervision," says Michael Thurner, director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB).

Quality's a must
Representing just one percent of the world's wine production, Austria is considered to be somewhat of a "wine dwarf" internationally. In fact, one year's total of the world wine surplus is equivalent to 15-20 times the amount of wine produced from a single Austrian harvest.

The new generation of producers is highly educated and has gained international experience. Their success is furthered by factors including investment in modern cellar equipment and the knowledge that quality begins in the vineyard.

International success
In 2005 alone, a total of 72 million litres of wine with a value of more than 83 million euros were exported. Austria's biggest export partners are Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and the United States. In consideration of the already given and future potential of the market, Poland is very important for wines from Austria.

"The priority goal of the AWMB in Poland is to increase the export in bottles and to establish Austrian wines in the Polish executive catering and in the Polish trade in general," says Christian Dworan, export manager at the AWMB responsible for the Polish market.

What was noteworthy is the increase in exports of quality wine. Although Austrian wine is considered a niche product-due to the size and structure of the country's wine industry-it is nevertheless placed by international journalists, wine traders and sommeliers in the league of the world's best wines.

A tough 2005
The extremely variable weather challenged many vintners to their limits, but diligent management was rewarded in the end. The white wines of the new year are fruit-driven and precisely defined, displaying a wonderful harmony. The reds are characterized by a sleek, charming "Austrian" bouquet and clear varietal expression, comprising wines that offer drinking pleasure in their youth. The dessert wines display monumental intensity and impressively brilliant fruit.

Wines from Austria are a perfect compliment to any meal.
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