Understanding Austrian Wine Labels – Terrassen, Alte Reben, Hefeabzug

Wine labels can be confusing to consumers, let alone when they’re in another language! This is the beginning of a month-to-month series where we will debunk some of those hard-to-understand terms. Soon enough, you’ll be able to differentiate the producer from the region from the vineyard. (We kid! we know you are more advanced than that!)

Here are some common words you may have seen on wine labels recently:

Terrassen : Terraces. Easy enough when you have the two terms side-by-side! Basically, a wine labeled as Terrassen means the grapes used to make the wine were sourced from terraced vineyards… easy enough!

Alte Reben: Old vines. If you’re an Austrian wine fan, you’ve likely seen many wines from various appellations labeled with this term. What’s the significance of old vines? Well old vines mean smaller yields, which means  a better quality grape will, likely, be grown, which, in turn, creates a better quality wine.

Hefeabzug: Sur lie. Sur lie means that the wine is fermented on its lees and it bottled without racking. This adds to the creamy mouthfeel of the wines and can also add a slightly nutty character.

Next up: We’ll take a trip to the Wachau to explain just what those terms mean…

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Categories: Austrian Wine Terms

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2 Comments on “Understanding Austrian Wine Labels – Terrassen, Alte Reben, Hefeabzug”

  1. November 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Hello!
    Nice description, but on the other side – hefeabzug is a very uncommon term and not very often used in Austria – just by one… famous producer.
    best, Gottfried

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