Quality Classifications

Steinfeder, Federspiel und Smaragd can be produced from from quality white wines, as long as these wines originate from the Wachau wine-growing region and are being produced by a member of the Vinea Wachau wine-growers association.  Absolutely no chemical-change processes or taste altering changes are permitted.

The credo of Vinea Wachau is to classify our quality wines into the three categories of: Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd.  These wines are considered ambassadors of the Austrian white wine culture - and especially of the World Cultural Heritage region Wachau. Not only are the three designations unique in Austria, but a similar classification cannot be found anywhere else throughout Europe.
Most importantly, the designations serve as an orientation structure for wine lovers, because it allows for dry wines to be defined according to three weight classes, each of which is based on natural alcohol content.


Fruity charm and a stipulated maximum alcohol content of 11,5% by volume characterize the lightest style of top Wachau wines, the Steinfeder. The name itself refers to the typical 'Steinfedergras' (Stipa Pinnata), a grass which grows near the vines in the Wachau's terraced vineyards; it is light like a feather, and fragrant - just like the wine named after it.



This classic dry wine is distinguished by a strong, nuance-rich character. Federspiel wines feature a must weight of at least 17┬░ KMW and an alcohol content of between 11,5% and 12% by volume. The name Federspiel refers back to the times falconry, when this favourite form of noble hunting was practiced in the Wachau.



Smaragd is the name for the best, most treasured wines of the Wachau. The alcohol content of these wines begin at 12,5% by volume. This, along with the highest grape ripeness and highest concentration are what makes this world-class designation possible. Emerald-colored Idex lizards - also known as Smaragd - are at home in the terraced vineyards of the Wachau. On bright, sunny days, their beauty is highlighted dramatically as they bask in the gleaming sun next to the grapevines - the perfect symbol for the absolute top Wachau wines with full physiological ripeness.