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'This place has been here for several thousands of years, during extremely tumultuous times - wars, poverty, disease, lots of hardship - and it has been the centre for the local community. Symbolically it has been a rock, nobody has broken or destroyed it. That has a very big impact on your mindset.'
with a winery that has a history stretching back to the Roman occupation of what is today modern Austria. At Nikolaihof, there is proof of wine being produced in the area as far back as the 5th century AD, when Roman soldiers were given 2 litres of wine a day as part of their daily stipend.
The Wachau is seen as one of the most traditional wine producing regions in Austria, and it’s impossible to not recognise the immense presence and influence that Nikolaihof has in the area. They are a winery that do things traditionally, but perhaps to the contrary of what many people would consider to be ‘traditional’ these days. The farming methods here have been biodynamic since 1971. At a time when many farmers were jumping on the bandwagon of modern chemicals in the post WW2 era, Nikolaihof decided to stay true to their chemical-free approach, more as an economic decision as opposed to an ethical one at the time. But the decision paid off, and they later integrated biodynamics into their farming methods as a matter of principle. Niki Saahs is now a 4th generation winemaker, and his family have owned Nikolaihof since 1894. Along with his partner Katharina (who has worked closely with Alwin and Stefanie Jurtschitsch since 2016), they have embraced the task of continuing the legacy of Nikolaihof into a new era.
These are wines that show immense precision and elegance, across the different bottlings and vineyard sites. In some instances, longer élevage for some of the cuvées is an integral part of the process to find more stability and better energy in the wines. Whilst chatting to Niki and Katharina, you understand there is a real vision and passion for the winery. This vision is one rooted in tradition, but also looking to the future, and thinking long term. They are custodians of a property that many people look to as a bastion of Wachau production, and the respect and pride they have for this and the space is tangible.