There is a clear profiling into three distinct levels observed, respective of DAC wines with designation of origin: Gebietswein (regional wine), Ortswein (local or ‘villages’ wine), and Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine).
(e.g. Weinviertel DAC or Mittelburgenland DAC …)
Here the representative wine style typical to the region has already been defined, with respect to which one must pay particular attention that the consumer receives what the name has led them to expect. From dry white wines (labelled ‘trocken’) in this category, one should expect a certain lightness of texture, refreshing character and pleasant fruit flavours. But there are also exceptions where the Gebietswein has already achieved a more sophisticated level of expression, like for example in the case of Leithaberg DAC.
(e.g. Südsteiermark DAC Kitzeck-Sausal)
One could understand Ortswein as standing in the middle ground between the Gebietswein and the Riedenwein. Ortswein should demonstrate greater body and complexity than a Gebietswein, but above all show the character typical to the municipality – like, for example, in Burgundy where despite any differences particular to the individual producers, a Gevrey-Chambertin will taste appreciably different from a Pommard. The wines bear the name of the cadastral commune or a large vineyard site (Grosslage) spread over multiple cadastral communes (when this makes more sense rather than labelling the wine with an unknown municipality – compare Côtes de Beaune Villages with Blagny). Ortswein is a profitable category, which can easily be sold by the glass in restaurants or bars; thus it is an important cagegory for the commercial success of an estate.
(e.g. Kamptal DAC Ried Zöbinger Heiligenstein)
The most narrowly defined designation of origin is Riedenwein – a single vineyard wine – which naturally sits at the top of the status pyramid of each growing region. These wines should be strategically positioned as complex, painstakingly vinified and superior wines, with the potential for longterm cellaring and development. They should always indelibly evince the character of a ‘Reserve’ wine. But so long as there are simpler wines of uncomplicated production that also carry a single vineyard designation, the term Reserve may be employed here by way of clarification.