Markus Altenburger’s 10 hectares of vines are planted on the slopes of the Leithaberg in Burgenland. The regional limestone ‘Leithakalk’ soil produces high acid, mineral wines. The lack of nutrients in the soil force the vines to bury deeper into the ground, developing complex root systems and giving the wines of the Leithaberg their signature minerality.
In 2006 Markus took over the family winery in Jois, and to this day solely focuses on the varieties that best express this unique terroir, and produce authentic, honest wines. His winemaking methods are very natural - no artificial yeasts or enzymes are used, and the low yields and natural treatment of the vines and soil guarantee structured, long living wines.
Over half of Markus’ vineyards are planted to Burgenland’s best known variety - Blaufränkisch. Old vine Chardonnay is another hugely important variety here, which Markus vinifies and releases as a single vineyard wine.
Markus’ most recent project - the ‘Rosée Connection’ - was launched in 2012 with his wife Bernadette. The aim is to make exceptional Rosé wines from native varietals, demonstrating the vast potential of Rosé wines from this region. Markus and Bernadette’s elegant and refreshing Rosés show that this style can stand up to the quality of the more traditional wines Burgenland is famous for.
In 2005 Jutta Ambrositsch decided to make a dramatic career change and left her job as a graphic designer to make traditionally inspired wines from old vine parcels in Vienna. Vienna is particularly famous for its historic field blends or ‘Gemischter Satz’ where a number of different grape varieties are planted, harvested and fermented together. Most of Jutta’s wines are blends or field blends inspired by this Viennese tradition, and her goal is to always put terroir first, which is why she is largely focused on single vineyard bottlings. In 2013 Jutta took over some old vine parcels planted in the fossil limestone soils of Gumpoldskirchen, a historic wine growing village in the neighbouring Thermenregion appellation.
Jutta is a very natural winemaker, using only native yeasts and keeping cellar intervention to a minimum. She is dedicated to vinifying wines that speak for themselves and express local tradition and terroir. All of her wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel to emphasise purity of fruit and keep the wines as energetic and fresh.
After spending many years working as a forest ranger and hunter in North America, Sighardt Donabaum returned to his native Wachau to continue the family’s long established winemaking tradition. The Donabaum family have been cultivating vines in the historic Spitz valley since 1833, with vineyards dotted around the small village of Zornberg which sits at an altitude of 450 metres above the Danube river.
Sighardt’s vineyards sit quite far inland and are therefore less affected by the moderating influence of the Danube, making the plots around Zornberg some of the coolest in the Wachau. The vines are planted on very steep slopes comprised of primary rock and scattered islands of loess topsoil. Only hand harvesting is possible here. On these plots the grapes ripen beautifully while the cool temperatures preserve the high levels of acidity and aromatic freshness. The key varieties in this region are Riesling and Grüner Veltliner, and Zornberg is particularly lauded for its plots of old vine Grüner Veltliner. Sighardt farms his 11 hectares organically and only works with natural yeasts in the cellar. His overarching aim is to make authentic wines that represent the region and his own principles of sustainable farming and winemaking.
Christoph Edelbauer has been making wine in the famous Langenlois region of Kamptal since 2003. The hot summer temperatures are tempered here by the influence of the Danube River and the nearby forests. The long growing season and cool nights enable the grapes to reach full ripeness at the same time as preserving delicate aromas and freshness in the fruit. The soils around the hilly landscape of the Langenlois are mainly formed of rock known as Gfoehler gneiss. This is covered by a layer of chalky brown earth, and the more fertile loess and loam soils. The combination of climate and soil types create the perfect terroir for producing distinctive white wines, and the Kamptal is particularly lauded for its expressions of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
Christoph farms his 12 hectares of vines organically and is deeply committed to working in harmony with nature. For him, respecting the soils and the biodiversity in the vineyards is paramount to making high quality, authentic wines. He purposefully keeps his parcels small so he never has to compromise on quality. This sustainable approach is something he applies to all aspects of his winemaking - from the way he tends his vines through to the vinification process and packaging of his wines.
Christoph has vineyards planted on the Neuberg, Spiegel, Haasel, Steinhaus and Käfertal slopes.Although the majority of his vines are planted to the classic Kamptal white varieties - predominantly Grüner Veltliner and Riesling - he is deeply passionate about Pinot Noir. This variety only makes up 10% of his production, but he strongly believes that the Langenlois can produce beautiful and distinctive expressions of Pinot Noir, and his wine is a fine example of this potential.
Michael Gindl took over the family winery in the village of Hohenruppersdorf when he was just 20 years old. He changed the name of the estate to ‘MG Sol’ after Hohenruppersdorf’s prized ‘Sol’ vineyard - a parcel that dates back to the 14th century. Michael also started to cultivate his 10 hectares of vines biodynamically, aiming to return to the more traditional winemaking methods of his grandfather. To this day, he works as naturally as he can both in the vineyards and the cellar.
Michael’s winemaking style very much stands out in Weinviertel, a region that is largely known for conventional wines. His vines grow on fertile loam and loess soil, but are planted very densely - forcing the vines to compete for nutrients and develop complex root systems. As a result, the yield is very low, and the fruit beautifully expresses the regional terroir.
Michael’s vinification style is also unusual for the region: his wines are all spontaneously fermented, aged on the lees for prolonged periods of time, and bottled without filtration. Some of his grapes are also kept on the skins for several months before pressing, producing powerful and complex wines.
Groszer Wein was established in 2012 when Matthias Krön, successful entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, teamed up with cellarmaster Markus Bach who was already making wine in the Eisenberg appellation of Burgenland. The unique terroir and microclimate here yields some of the finest expressions of Blaufränkisch. The iron rich green slate of the Eisenberg famously produces structured wines with impressive depth of fruit and striking minerality. The vineyards here are planted at over 400 metres tall, and the combination of sunny days and cool nights produce ripe grapes with plenty of aromatic freshness and acidity.
Matthias and Markus both fell in love with the unique character and beauty of these Eisenberg vineyards and started making authentic, terroir driven wines that honour local winemaking traditions. All the wines are released in their signature ‘Groszer’ 1 litre bottles - the traditional format used by Austrian winemakers in the early 1900s. ‘Groszer Wein’ also alludes to the idea of a ‘great’ or ‘grand wine’ - a playful reference to the impressive terroir of the Eisenberg. Even the old fashioned spelling of Grosser and the distinctive label design is an homage to past tradition. The ornate ‘Fin de Siecle’ style harks back to a time when Burgenland was part of Hungary. A modern take on a past tradition - the Groszer Wein label perfectly reflects Matthias and Markus’ simultaneously traditional and avant garde winemaking philosophy.
Christoph Hoch’s vineyards are situated in Hollenburg, just south of the Danube river in the Kremstal region. The winemaking legacy of the Hoch family can be traced back to 1640, and the original coat of arms appears on Christoph’s wine labels - an homage to his family’s history and traditions. In 2013 Christoph took over the family winery to continue this long tradition and make wines that express the unique terroir of the Hollenburg, which sits on calcareous and gravel conglomerate soils. The 5 hectares of vines are planted to a variety of different exposures, and are protected from the winds by the surrounding woodland areas. The winery has been organic since 2012 and started its conversion to biodynamic farming in 2013.
Christoph has travelled extensively to other winemaking regions to gain a better understanding of his own terroir’s special characteristics, and his experimental winemaking approach enables him to explore the full potential of his land and vines. Every year he produces 40 different batches of wine, which he then blends into a single Riesling and Grüner Veltliner bottling. The wines that make it into his final blend are from a variety of different vineyard sites, harvest times, vinification methods, and even different vintages. Christoph also ages some of his wine under flor and blends it into the final product. The ultimate goal is to gain a more complete understanding of his terroir and make as complex a wine as possible.
In 2012 Christoph began developing a sparkling wine project, and started working closely with top producers from Champagne to learn more about sparkling wine production. The calcareous soils of the Hollenburg produce high acid, mineral wines - making it an ideal spot for sparkling wine production.
Martin Muthenthaler was a truck driver for Domane Wachau for 20 years before he started making wine of his own in the Spitzer Graben valley in the famous Wachau region. Since 2006 he has been cultivating the 3 hectares of vines he inherited from his parents, making Grüner Veltliner and Riesling of outstanding balance and expression. The vineyards in the Spitzer Graben are planted on poor rocky soils at high altitudes. The Spitzer Graben is the coolest part of the Wachau valley, and temperatures are very cool even in the summer, which preserves the freshness and acidity of these classic white varities.
Martin works the steep vineyards on his own, employing organic and sustainable farming methods. He focuses on producing single vineyard bottlings, so that his wines can convey the distinctive character of each vineyard. His parcels in the Bruck and Viesslinger Stern vineyards are some of the highest sites in the Wachau, and his mica-schist soils produce highly mineral and structured Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings. Martin decided not to join the Vinea Wachau - an association that ranks wines in accordance with sugar ripeness levels. Above all, Martin strives to make elegant wines that express a sense of place, and for him the ripest grapes don’t necessarily produce the best quality wines.
Milan Nestarec is a young grower based in Moravia, a region in the Czech Republic that lies just 15km from the northern Austrian border. Milan’s father planted the 8 hectares of vines in 2001 across two wine growing municipalities: Moravský Žižkov and Velké Bílovice. This region has a lot in common with Austria, from the loess soils to the grape varieties that flourish here. Milan works with a host of varieties including Riesling, Neuburger, Welschriesling, Pinot Noir and the lesser known Hibernal. The yield is kept low in the vineyards and the focus is always on quality and expressing the full potential of each variety.
Milan is a member of the ‘Autentisté’ group - a community of winemakers making authentic wines that strive to express the true character of the land. No herbicides are used in his vineyards and the vines are worked strictly organically. Milan also vinifies everything with indigenous yeasts and bottles without fining or filtration. These are honest yet beautifully polished wines.
Erwin Poller’s family has been making wines in the village of Röschitz in Weinviertel for over 100 years. The soils here are a combination of loess, granite and sand, and the area is best known for white wine production, particularly Grüner Veltliner. Erwin was immersed in winemaking from childhood and developed a passion for viticulture from a very early age. He took over the family winery in 1994 when he was only 24 years old, and since then has been making wines that are both rooted in tradition and express his own innovative approach to winemaking. When he’s not making wine, Erwin makes and sells a range of homemade preserves and spends time renovating long-forgtten cellars of Röschitz.
Erwin cultivates his 20 hectares of vines using sustainable farming methods, and transports the fruit in small 20kg batches to ensure that the berries are vinified when they are at their freshest. In the cellar the grapes are hand selected with utmost care, and gently pressed to avoid over extraction.
Claus Preisinger’s winery is nestled in the village of Gols by Lake Neusiedlersee in Burgenland. Claus first started making wine with his father as a hobby, but after working with Hans Nittnaus, a neighbouring winemaker for a few years, decided that wine was his true calling. His first vintage was in 2000, and since then he has expanded his father’s 3 hectares to the 19 hectares of vines he cultivates today. His vines are spread across 64 parcels and are largely planted to indigenous varieties such as Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent.
More recently Claus has started working with Grüner Veltliner and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), producing distinctive, skin fermented white wines. Claus’ priority has always been to produce wine that is pure, balanced, and expressive of his terroir. His winemaking methods are very much guided by instinct rather than set formula, and he is perpetually experimenting and evolving, making wine that is markedly different in style to the classic interpretations coming out of the region. Claus was the first Austrian winemaker to start experimenting with skin contact wines fermented in Georgian amphorae. His 2009 Weissburgunder from the Edelgraben vineyard was the first vintage he bottled in this style, and since then he has been vinifying the whole Edelgraben range in amphorae.
Claus is deeply committed to working in harmony with nature, and has been certified biodynamic since 2009. He also keeps his cellar interventions to a minimum, strongly advocating for wines that achieve balance naturally. Very little sulphur is added to his wines - Claus decides just before bottling if sulphur is strictly necessary.
The Renner family have been cultivating vines in the village of Gols in Neusiedlersee since 1988. After spending few years working abroad for growers such as Tom Lubbe and Tom Shobrook, Stefanie and Susanne returned to the family winery and released their first vintage under the Rennersistas label in 2015.
Stefanie and Susanne have parcels in some of the best vineyards by Lake Neusiedlersee including Altenberg, Schafleiten, Goldberg, Gebühl and Ungerberg. For the sisters, maintaining healthy vines and soil is paramount to producing honest wines, full of character and personality. Their 13 hectares of vines are farmed organically and they work as naturally and meticulously as they can - both in the vineyards and in the cellar.
The roots of this historic estate in the Kremstal can be traced back almost a thousand years, when the surrounding land was used to grow a variety of different crops and fruit. Since 1786 this estate has been in the hands of the Stagård family, and has been used solely for wine production. When Urban and Dominique Stagård took over from Urban’s father in 2006, they began converting the estate to organic farming. For them, this was the only way their wines would be able to adequately express their unique terroir.
Most of their parcels are planted on the steep, rocky terraces around the town of Krems. The complex soils, favourable site exposures and temperate climactic conditions of the Kremstal help explain the region’s longstanding viticultural traditions. The terroir here is particularly suited to Riesling, a grape that has flourished in the Kremstal for centuries.
Urban and Dominique are dedicated to conveying the individual character of each site, so their portfolio is focused on single vineyard wines. They have vines planted in the Grillenparz, Schreck, Steiner Hund, and Gaisberg vineyards - parcels with some of the best exposures and soils of the Kremstal. They also have a unique Grüner Veltliner project - a wine they age under flor for 18 months.
Clemens Strobl’s vineyards are located in the village of Feuersbrunn in Wagram. Although Wagram’s reputation as a wine producing region is less established than Kamptal or Wachau, it is home to some of the best sites for Riesling and Grüner Veltliner. The loess and gravel soils found here yield powerful wines with structure and impressive balance.
Clemens planted his first vines in 2008 - starting with a single hectare in his most important Cru - Rosenberg. He released his first vintage commercially in 2011. Today he holds just 10 hectares in some of the most impressive vineyards in Wagram, and keeps his parcels small so that he can focus on producing the best quality wines. He is passionate about expressing the individual character of each vineyard site, so he exclusively releases single vineyard wines.
Christian Tschida cultivates 10 hectares of old vines in the Neusiedlersee region of Burgenland. His vineyards are planted on sandy gravel, schist, and limestone soils and have been in the family for 4 generations. This area of Burgenland has a unique microclimate due to the moderating influence of the vast Lake Neusiedlersee nearby.
Christian has a very hands off approach in his vineyards, preferring to let nature take its course. His wild looking parcels are instantly recognisable - overgrown with cover crops that both preserve biodiversity in the vineyards and force the vines to bury their roots deep into the soils in search of nutrients.
For Christian, the crucial decision comes at harvest time when he is meticulous about picking the fruit at the optimal point of ripeness - something he judges by taste rather than by measuring the technical sugar levels. In the cellar Christian is both experimental and traditional - constantly trying new vinification techniques but never employing high tech equipment. His wines are all foot stomped, spontaneously fermented in closed tanks that sit outside in the shade, and racked with the help of gravity.
Christoph Wachter-Wiesler is a grower from the renowned Eisenberg appellation in Südburgenland. He took over the family winery in 2010 at the age of 22, and began working his 14 hectares of vines organically, vowing to return to the more natural winemaking methods of his grandfather’s generation.
The iron rich slate of the Eisenberg hill is famous for yielding distinctive and refined expressions of Blaufränkisch, and although most of Christoph’s production is dedicated to this native red variety he is also passionate about Welschriesling, a variety he cultivates in small amounts. He also has some key parcels in Weinberg, a neighbouring appellation with iron rich and loamy soils. Christoph’s wines are all spontaneously fermented and aged in large neutral oak casks to preserve purity of fruit.View Wines
Michael Wenzel is based in Rust, a town on the west bank of Lake Neusiedler in Burgenland where his family have been making wine since 1647. Today Michael holds 11 hectares of vines in some of the finest sites around Rust, and focuses on the Furmint grape, a variety he has been passionate about from an early age.
Furmint was almost wiped out of existence in the 20th century when the iron curtain forced the separation of Austria and Hungary. In the 1980s Michael’s father Robert Wenzel started bringing Furmint vines across the border with a view to reintroduce it into the local winemaking culture. Today Michael cultivates 3 of the 10 hectares of Furmint planted in the country, and is widely considered to be a pioneer of this variety in Austria. The quartz, gneiss and mica schist soils of his vineyards are perfectly suited to the Furmint grape, producing structured, mineral wines. He also grows Blaukfränkisch grapes on his more calcareous sites, which yield focused, elegant expressions of this traditional Austrian variety.
Michael is dedicated to organic farming and minimal intervention winemaking - preferring to let his grapes speak for themselves. All his wines are spontaneously fermented without the addition of any yeast, and the cellar work is kept to a bare minimum.
Ewald Tscheppe makes wine in the southern part of Styria, close to the Slovenian border. This region is famous for its ‘opok’ (sandy loam) soils that produces powerful and distinctive white wines. The winemaking culture in this mountainous part of Austria can be traced all the way back to Roman times. Ewald took over the family winery in 2005, and works the 8 hectares of vines according to biodynamic and sustainable principles. His steep vineyards are home to a number of different soil types, yielding complex and expressive wines.
The base of the hillside consists of more fertile clay soils, whereas the steeper, elevated sites have poorer soils that produce later maturing, more structured wines. Most of Ewald’s wines are blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Morillon (Austrian name for Chardonnay), and are aged for long periods of time in large oak barrels. This extensive oak ageing forms an integral part of his winemaking style, and brings out the distinctive character of Ewald’s wines.
Davis Weszeli has long been an admirer of the winemaking culture of the Kamptal region. While he was living and working in Vienna, he spent a great deal of time in the vineyards of the Kamptal, learning about the vineyards and engaging with the local winemakers. He formed a close relationship with the Summerer family who have been making wine in the region for 300 years. After learning that this much loved estate was having trouble securing a successor, Davis took the plunge and moved his family to Langenlois to take over the winery. Today Davis organically farms 30 hectares of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, which are planted on loess and calcareous soils, in some of the best sites around the town of Langenlois.
Davis is committed to upholding the local winemaking traditions of the Langenlois - making wines of great distinction and purity. He farms organically and his approach to viticulture is strongly rooted in sustainable principles. For him, biodiversity in the vineyards is key to growing quality grapes, and everything is done by hand to ensure that the balance isn’t disrupted. Above all, Davis is committed to producing honest, terroir driven wines in a respectful and sustainable fashion.
Johannes Zillinger’s family winery is based in Weinviertel and has been operating organically since the 1980s. His father Hans was a pioneer of sustainable farming and started working organically long before it became common practice in Austria. To this day Johannes grows a variety of herbs in his vineyards that naturally protect the vines from disease rather than resorting to the use of pesticides and herbicides. Only the best grapes make it into his wines, and Johannes strictly adheres to a minimal interventionist style of winemaking.
Johannes makes wine in a range of different styles - from the easy drinking Velue series vinified in a crisp light style, to his skin contact wines that he ferments in amphorae and ages on the lees for extended periods of time.
Before Ewald became cellar master at the Zwyetick family winery, he spent several years working as a mechanic and UN Peacekeeper. He took over the estate 15 years ago, and started bottling wines under his own label more recently - largely focusing on single vineyard bottlings.
Ewald cultivates 7 hectares of vines in some of the best sites around the village of Ratsch, which is nestled in the mountainous region of Styria in southern Austria. The soils here are predominantly limestone rich clay (Opok) which famously produces powerful white wines with striking tension and minerality. Ewald’s main focus is Sauvignon Blanc and Gelber Muskateller, which he vinifies in a ripe yet fresh style.
His most important Sauvignon Blanc vineyard is Pfarrweingarten, and he also grows Gelber Muskateller and Chardonnay in the famed Ried Stermetzberg and Sulz vineyards. In the best vintages, Ewald bottles 3 single vineyard wines - among them are 'Don’t Cry', 'November Rain' and Tosca - named after his favourite band Guns N’ Roses.