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'A friend of mine told me that I could make good sparkling wine because of the natural acidity in the grapes. However, I didn’t want to make a “traditional” Champagne-style sparkling wine, with added lab-yeasts and cane sugar. So, I contemplated how to do this naturally.'
Christoph started making wine at the family winery in 2009. By 2013, he had started biodynamic conversion and released his very own first vintage. Today, aided by his wife Julie-Ann and father Harald, Christoph continues to explore the region's potential and the boundaries of biodynamic farming. Their newest experiment is highly fermented vegetable juice, sprayed in the vineyards as a natural protection against disease. "It's the future!" Christoph cheekily told us.
The vineyards of Hollenburg are dominated by a unique subsoil type called conglomerate. Essentially solidified river sediment, conglomerate was formed when the ancient Traisen river carrying Alpine chalk crashed into the Danube, compacting the chalk and the river pebbles together. Held by calcium carbonate, Christoph compares conglomerate to the chalk and limestone of Champagne, and it's no wonder that his sparklings are full of beautiful minerality and acidity that rival the French stuff.
Blending is the name of the game when it comes to winemaking. Christoph makes 40 batches of wine every year, utilising two different cellars (warmer cellar for malo fermentation, cooler one for non-malo). The wines that make it into his final bottling are from a variety of different vineyard sites, harvest times, vinification methods and even different vintages, as Christoph believes that limiting a wine to a single vintage or vineyard is not the fullest expression of the terroir. We can't wait to bring you the new releases that we tasted in Hollenburg – let's just say Champagne is not the only French region Christoph will challenge!