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Integrated viticulture is a production method used for the growing of high-quality grapes, wine and other grape products on a commercial scale. This concept focuses primarily on the protection of human health, together with the conservation of primary production resources and the environment. The vineyard agro-ecosystem is considered in its entirety and includes all the individual steps involved in vine care. As a general rule, every EU member state must comply with the integrated production guidelines for agriculture.

The concept of “integrated production” evolved from “integrated plant protection”. The increased use of plant protection products in the 1980s was linked to a multitude of problems. Scientific methods were used to precisely investigate the side effects of plant protection products on the ecosystem, which were then evaluated in terms of the harm they caused to beneficial organisms. Today, plant protection products and fertilisers that are permitted for use in vineyards are strictly regulated and wineries are required to keep an exact log of their use.



© Austrian Wine / WSNA


100% of Austria’s area under vine (44,537 ha) must be cultivated according to the principles of integrated production. If a winery has also signed up to ÖPUL – which is the case for over 80% of all agricultural enterprises in Austria – it needs to comply with even stricter requirements. (ÖPUL = Austrian programme for the promotion of an agricultural system that is environmentally sound, extensive and protective of natural habitats)



The following is mandatory in vineyards:

  • Control diseases and pests exclusively with approved plant protection products and only as a last resort
  • Employ all mechanical, physical, biological and land-management methods. If there is no avoiding chemical plant protection, products used must be the most state-of-the-art and carefully chosen so that they have as little an impact on the soil as possible.
  • Keep the minimum regulatory distance away from surface waters when using plant protection products.
  • Protect groundwater by complying with regulations on the use of fertiliser.
  • Maintaining land in good agricultural and ecological condition: cover crops on land that is no longer being farmed as well as a minimum ground cover over the winter months
  • Lower CO2 emissions by making fewer tractor trips through the vineyard, thanks to an effective combination of plant care and plant protection measures.
  • Comply with the HabitatsDirective. The purpose of both the Habitats and Birds Directives is to establish protected areas within the EU where endangered species and their habitats can be preserved for the future. This network of nature protection areas is known as Natura 2000.

The following is prohibited:

  • Use of products or compounds that are harmful to beneficial organisms and the environment and that could be potentially harmful to the people who apply the product in the vineyard.
  • Applications (e.g. fertilisers, plant protection products and insecticides) without just cause.  Use of such products is only permitted once damage has exceeded defined thresholds (records must be kept).

Compliance with the guidelines of integrated production is a prerequisite for receiving EU subsidies. Furthermore, the agri-environmental programme ÖPUL (Austrian programme for the promotion of an agricultural system that is environmentally sound, extensive and protective of natural habitats) promotes the key cornerstones of environmentally conscious viticulture in Austria.

Four measures that are part of ÖPUL are particularly significant and have driven the widespread nature of environmentally friendly and sustainable practices within Austrian viticulture. This, in turn, explains the country’s high number of wineries that are organic, biodynamic and “Sustainable Austria”-certified. These four government-funded measures are erosion control, a ban on the use of insecticides and herbicides, and cultivation in compliancewith organic viticulture regulations. Detailed information about individual measures can be found in the section on EU directives and subsidy policy.


other production methods


© Austrian Wine / Blickwerk Fotografie


Austrians are born nature-lovers and therefore particularly respectful towards the natural environment. This is a country that places great importance on environmental protection and the responsible use of natural resources. It comes as no surprise, that Austria is a world leader in environmentally conscious viticulture.

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