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Quality class

Regarding wine, see under quality system.

The final decision on the quality of a wine is made by the consumer and, despite all the scientifically sound methods of analysis, is a mixture of not purely objective but largely subjective impressions. Whether a wine "tastes good" also depends on physiologically determined likes or dislikes (someone does not like red wine because they may have once had a bad experience due to high histamine levels ), the consumer's cultural background and personal experiences. Strictly speaking, experiences are subjective, but on the other hand they are an objective criterion ( acidic wines give someone heartburn, which means that such a wine is of poor quality).

The chemist describes through objective analyses how the wine is, the consumer or wine critic describes subjectively how it tastes. The former brings the same result when repeated, the latter is not certain. Ultimately, the saying must be accepted: De gustibus non est disputandum (One cannot argue about taste). A qualitative wine evaluation in the form of a grade and textual description is determined by professional tastings. There are already attempts to determine the "tasteable" quality by means of glycosyl glucose assay.

Origin & Quality Pyramid

Wine quality is influenced by origin (source), methods of vineyard management (vineyard), as well as the type of vinification (cellar). The custom of dividing wines into quality classes already existed in antiquity, whereby the origin of the grapes has always played a major role in the assessment. From the 1970s onwards, a system based on origin was introduced in many countries. In the 1990s, the EU established a multi-level quality system with the levels table wine (but see there), table wine, table wine and quality wine (or QbA = quality wine of specified regions), which was valid until July 2009. In some countries there were also intermediate levels or special designations, such as Prädikatswein in Germany and Austria. In the countries of the European Union and partly also in the New World, a mostly multi-level quality wine scheme with different designations was or still is valid.

EU Wine Market Regulation 2009

On August 2009, an extensively adapted EU wine market regulation came into force with serious changes in the quality levels and designations. The system of protection of origin of the Community food law was also adopted for wine and the criterion of origin was given great importance. The new system now distinguishes between "wine without geographical indication" and "wine with geographical indication". Thus, the quality philosophy of the "Romanesque wine law", which is modelled on the French appellation system and which has always been based on origin for wine, but also for food and agricultural products, was adopted. The aim is to replace the quality hierarchies, which in many countries are set by the state, sometimes arbitrarily and sometimes incompatible with each other, to link the new levels with clear profiles and to make them comprehensible to consumers.

New quality levels

According to a transitional period, wines that were marketed according to the "old regulation" before 31 December 2010 could continue to be marketed until the stocks were exhausted. However, this was not to be confused with the obligation of Member States to submit to the Commission by the end of 2011 the technical specifications for all names of origin to be protected, otherwise international protection for such an origin would be forfeited. The new appellations:

  • Wine without S and J with indication State = e.g. wine from Germany (formerly table wine)
  • Wine with variety and/or vintage with indication of state
  • Wine from grapes of an EU state, processed in another EU state
  • Wine made from a blend of wines from several EU countries = European wine
  • Wine PGI = wine with protected geographical indication = local wine
  • Wine PDO = wine with protected designation of origin = quality wine/premium wine

Qualitäts-Stufen - Wein, Landwein, Qualitäts-/Prädikatswein

A special feature is the possible processing of grapes from one EU member state in another EU member state. For example, this could be "wine obtained in Austria from grapes harvested in Italy". Wines from third countries are labelled with an indication of the third country, for example "wine from Chile" or "wine from Australia". A blend of wines from several third countries, for example a Chilean wine blended with an Australian wine, is labelled "blend of...

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