The Österreischische Traditionsweingüter – the Association of Austrian Traditional Wine Estates – was founded in 1992 with the purpose of classifying the outstanding vineyard sites of the Danube region. And the help orient consumers to the wide variety of wines that the sites offer.
For nearly two decades, the members of this association have carefully observed and analysed the development of each other`wines from the sites along the Danube in the winegrowing areas of Kamptal,
, Traisental and Wagram.
The result of the analysis was presented with the „Klassifikation 2010“, in which 53 vineyards were designated as „Erste Lage“. In the coming years, this will be refined and verified, of course – meaning that the vineyards could either become even more significant or else could they could prove to be not adequate for Erste Lage status.
This year – 2011 the Association of Traditional Austrian Wine Estates began to invite top Danube region wineries that are not yet association members to lend their knowledge and experience to the classification process. Because the circle of those estates contributing to the classification process should be expandes, the classification is viewed as a "work in progress" – one that actually could go on for years, if not decades.
The ultimate goal, however, is to establish this classification as a part of the wine law.
With the „Klassifikation 2018“, there are altogether 59 vineyard sites that can carry the Erste Lage designation on the bottle label. This also requires – as with the DAC regulation – that just the two most traditional grape varieties of the Danube regions, Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, can be used for these wines, and the must be vinified in a dry style