According to the EU regulation, member states must classify the wine grape varieties that may be planted or grafted on their territory for the purpose of wine production. These must belong to the European species Vitis vinifera or come from a cross between this species and other species of the genus Vitis (e.g. the Asian Vitis amurensis or the American Vitis labrusca). However, six varieties of vine are prohibited although they meet these conditions. These are Clinton, Herbemont, Isabella, Jacquez, Noah and Othello. Why exactly these six have historical reasons, which even today nobody knows or can explain officially (one of the secrets of EU laws). Although they are American hybrids, there are countless others that are allowed to be grown. If varieties are deleted from the classification, the areas concerned must be grubbed up within 15 years of their deletion (except for areas for domestic use by winegrowers).
However, this classification only applies to cultivation and does not automatically mean that these varieties may also be used for all wine quality classes. If the above conditions are met, the decision lies with the responsible bodies of the wine-growing countries. They decide on their own responsibility which varieties may be used for which quality classes with possibly restrictive conditions. Of the varieties classified according to the above-mentioned criteria, those that are permitted for the production of country wine (PGI) and quality wine (PDO) must therefore be defined. This concerns above all the PIWI varieties (fungus-resistant varieties), which are particularly sought after in organic viticulture.
In Austria the term quality wine grape varieties has become generally accepted for these varieties. However, this list of varieties does not only apply to quality wine, but of course it is also possible to produce regional wine and wine from it. All other classified grape varieties may only be used for the stages "wine" (without varieties/year indication, formerly table wine) or "varietal wine" (with varieties/year indication). For "varietal wine", grape varieties or grape variety names which have a protected geographical indication or a protected designation of origin as an element of the name and which could therefore be misleading for the consumer may not be used (e.g. Blue Burgundy could indicate Burgundy). It is within the competence of the Member States to define these vine varieties or vine variety names. In Austria these are White Burgundy, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, as well as Blaufränkisch and Rheinriesling. Instead, the synonyms Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling are permitted; there are none for Blaufränkisch.
There are recommended, authorised and temporarily authorised grape varieties. Recommended should be those that can produce outstanding qualities in the respective wine-growing region. All others are permitted. Temporarily approved are varieties which still have a certain economic importance but which are to be phased out. By virtue of a transitional provision, vineyards with temporarily authorised varieties must be grubbed up no later than 25 years after classification. These include, for example, in Austria Concord (Ripatella), Delaware and Elvira, which are used for the local Burgenland wine speciality Uhudler. Plant variety protection must be applied for for new grape varieties, only then can they be included in the country-specific variety lists. The quality wine grape varieties defined in Germany and Austria are listed there. A complete list of relevant keywords on the subject of grapevine can be found under grapevine.