Here at our winery we believe that good wine is above all made with love. We have been following this well established recipe for years. With dedication to teamwork and the craft, we produce authentic wines and spirits. Balanced in taste, classic, and time-honoured.
Our winery is located in the marvelous wine region South Styria in Austria. The Illyrian climate and shadow of the Alps create varying weather conditions – hours of Mediterranean sunshine, vast temperature fluctuations and heavy rain. Even though these circumstances seem hard, they give us unique advantages on the other hand. Calmness, serenity and patience are necessary to extract the Illyrian potential.
From precious drops
Should the first or the last glass from a bottle of wine bring the greatest enjoyment? This is the fundamental question that shapes our deliberate work down in the wine cellar. We have decidedly committed to that last glass. Local winegrowers have changed the process with which their wines are made since the 1990s. In the past, the focus was primarily on the developmental stage that was happening in the cellar, and it was very influential to the wine. In a way, the wine was more “made” at the time. Since then we have grown to the ideology to let the wines “emerge”. From the grape to the bottle of wine, the work in the cellar forms the necessary base. In many ways the wine develops itself, so we like to put ourselves as far as possible in the background. Admittedly, in a targeted, conscious and reasonable manner, wine-makers still have a significant influence on the characteristics and quality of their wine. In any case, we treasure each glass in a bottle until the very last drop.
Meet the Family
We would like to introduce a few of the members of our closest circle:
Reinhard, who runs the winery. His wife Claudia, holding the threads together, expertly advising on taste and working closely with our customers. Manuel, our guy for the rough jobs but also a magician with a gentle touch in the wine cellar. Victoria, busy juggling numbers with care and precision, giving attention to every detail.
Peter, the friendly voice on the phone without which the inventory and orders management would fall apart. Margit, who takes good care of all of our graphic needs and ideas. Angelika, without whom no tasting should take place. Our cat, Luis, who, in addition to weather and inventory, is the real highest authority of our winery and we cannot fail to mention, our dog Rico, our longest-time companion, who more or less takes care of us.
We are a colorful team that tackles our work with competence, working small miracles every day. We do our job with diligence, personality, care, and determination. Although we most certainly have our hands full, we nevertheless keep mindfulness and joy at the forefront of our everyday work and lives. This is is ensured, by our spontaneous visitors to the winery, who do sometimes tend to distract us with interesting discussions, which we happily participate in, sometimes until the bottle is empty.
Our family business is very friendly. We don’t have a classic hierarchy. The atmosphere we love is a mix of grounded determination and passionate drive with temperament and humor. Every contribution is palpable and precious. During intensive times, such as foliage work in the summer or harvesting in autumn, we are supported by a 30-strong crew from neighboring Slovenia. We are all a colorful bunch of committed people from different backgrounds who share a lunch table, who know that togetherness is a key strength, with the common goal: to create hearty Styrian wines.
Connected to the craft
South Styria offers us winegrowers great conditions for a diverse array of white grape varieties. Additionally, a wide variety of expansion stages are possible.
The three most important factors for us are the characteristics of the grape variety, the weather pattern during a growing season and the individual locations and their specific soil types. One line in our range is dedicated to these three special features:
Our Klassik line – most typical grape varieties
Our Klassik line presents the multitude of South Styrian grape varieties and their very special tastes. They are mostly vinified in stainless steel tanks in order to precisely preserve the classic character of these grape varieties. The wines are fruity, vibrant and are usually drank young.
Reverenz – weathered by a year
We gather the ripest grapes, which have been the most influenced by the weather over the course of the year – the Reverenz Wine. The wines mature in various wooden barrels and stainless steel tanks until they are ready to be bottled, which takes place the year after the harvest. The selection of grapes has gradually grown to be cultivated on very specific vineyards. These wines reach their best maturity after three to four years and have a storage potential of 10 to 15 years.
Lagenweine – characterized by the site
Europe, Austria, Southern Styria, Gamlitz, Grubthal. The more specific the origin, the higher the demand for quality. At the top of our quality pyramid are the large plants of the Riede (site) Grubthal. Our ambitions are correspondingly high, which is why we only press these wines in very good vintages; like 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. For these wines, the cellar industry is only a means to an end – wine bottles don’t just grow on the vines. The grapes are fermented and aged between 20 and 30 months in new and old wooden barrels. These wines are characterized by complexity, structure and salty minerality. The storage potential is 15 years and possibly longer.
Strongly influenced by the Alps in the north and the Adriatic in the south, the prevailing so-called Illyrian climate can sometimes be quite impetuous. It characterizes and sustains the wines by high temperatures in the day and cool temperatures in the night. Plentiful rainfall pushes the vines to tight, fertile growth. The cool, alpine wind dries the terrain quickly and protects the vines from diseases. Mediterranean hours of sunshine allow the grapes to ripen and deepen their aroma.
By the power of the sun
We can only process what the grapes give us. That is more than we need as a base. All that comes after the harvest can only enrich and enhance what is already there. Subsequently, the largest part of our annual work is concentrated in the vinyard itself. In a wine-growing region with extensive rainfall of up to 1000mm per year, you can be sure the weather will bring surprises. Yields and characteristics vary from year to year, so the health of the vines is of particular importance. We work with a lot of heart and soul to build up our own immune system and ensure a balanced leaf-fruit ratio. As a “workhorse”, Welschriesling loves to be able to lend a hand. Meanwhile, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) or Sauvignon Blanc are made for a filigree, playful stick structure. In very hot years, the grapes will want more shade, in wet, rainy years lots of air and sun to dry off. It’s actually quite simple.
The Grubthal site is one of the bordering areas of the South Styrian wine industry. Challenging weather conditions make the vines strong and the growing grapes boisterous and irrepressible.
The name “GrubTHAL”, if directly translated meaning pit-valley, can be misleading. The valley is more of a gentle slope from the sides of the surrounding mountains into a large plain. The warm air collects in this space creaing a swelling, hot boiler area. This warm air creates a clever elusion for our grape vines, who may believe that instead of the mountains, they are somewhere in Italy on a very warm vacation. Due to the low altitude, the location unexpectedly often has to struggle with massively cold nights. These attributes make the Grubthal site extremely interesting because this is how wines can be made with your own ideas. The foundation for this is the ground. Originating about 12 million years ago when the primeval sea withdrew and filled this cauldron with countless mussels, which is the reason for the high lime content in the soil. The shell limestone formations in connection with sandy loam are responsible for the minerality and the unmistakable expression of the Grubthal wines. The location was strongly influenced geologically again in the last ice age when today’s landscape was formed 10,000 years ago.
The Sulzhof site is exactly on the border between Southern and Western Styria. The mountain massif of the Koralpe in the west has a strong and direct influence on the vineyard. The autumn nights are particularly cool and promise fruit-shaped wines. For this reason, we planted the Muskateller (Muscat) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes at 370 m above sea level in 2011 and have been eagerly waiting for the first yield ever since. Soil report Sulzhof, in German, Author: Dr. Alois Bernhart
Awareness of the origins
Our soils are very different, but they all have one thing in common: they are extremely fertile. Most of our soil types are mixed forms of sand, clay and lime inclusions, but in very different combinations. This is how they give the wines unique characteristics. An area we deal intensely with.
In love with details
Our cellar is a normal wine cellar. Presses, steel tanks, wooden barrels, bottles. Here the wines get the space they need to develop. “Controlled sloppy” has been our guiding principle for vinification for several years. Formerly deeply perfectionistic, this is now a real challenge – but even more educational and forward-thinking. Depending on the quality and ripeness of the grapes, time, temperature, use of wood, movement, and air have become the most important figures in cellar work. Above all, however, within one grape variety, the blending of different wine sorts. With Sauvignon Blanc, for example, a wide variety of ripening stages of the grapes are pressed separately. From fresh and green to ripe and full-bodied. Every now and then the most mature parts are placed in the wood barrels. The following winter, a large number of contradistinct sauvignons are created. In the finished bottle, some of them then shape their unique character in their mixture.
Our basement is also a place for experiments. Sometimes it is the soil, the slope, then again the diverse Most (grape juice) parts, somehow we always have something to focus on. At the moment we are concerned with the fermentation especially from the peel of the grapes. Several attempts since 2007 have already brought serious success.