The greatest of all misconceptions is that all is in order. But it is not; no order, no explanations, no answers. Shortly before his passing, our friend the artist Beppo Pliem, found his answers on the horizon and in a reduction to the essentials. Since then, his paintings adorn our bottles and are thus an expression of a natural interaction between earth, sky and grape. The wine, coming out of this symbiosis, is our own personal idea of freedom and responsibility.
The soil is the essential basis of our history. Our ancestors worked with it to pass it on to us, and we are doing the same for future generations. The seed we plant is our trust in nature. The fruit we receive is experience, reward for having courage to think outside the box and focusing on the essentials. We were humbled by the gifts arising from the soil, and went slowly from trying to understand to simply accepting.
A promise for the future
From a geological point of view our soil is composed of rocky clay and silt over chalky marl subsoil, which is regionally called “Opok”. We are grounded in the belief that our soil is history and future at the same time. We ask ourselves: “How can we adapt to and work with nature?” as opposed to “How can we control nature.” Therefore, we view the vineyard as a living organism teaming up with us. All of our work efforts are aimed at retaining the vitality of the soil, the plants and the animals.
It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult. We established a dense system based on our firm belief that every step we take is “for” nature and not against it. Initial encounters with biodynamic agriculture and time spent in India and Australia opened our eyes, marking the starting line to an unconditional and restless search for vitality. It is a never-ending journey of discovery, and it keeps us moving. How could it not in this ever evolving world? The moment you stand still is the moment you missed something, because nature will not wait for you. So we don’t. We discovered quickly that the soil is where everything begins. Vitality in the soil leads to vitality in the plant, and ultimately, in every bottle of wine. We have been members of the Demeter Association since 2003, an international acknowledged biodynamic association.
We live in one of the most beautiful areas one could wish for. Our rooted vines, grow in all directions surrounding our estate, as if nature makes a playground of winemaking out of this special place.
Gentle Raising Methods
Everything is flowing, but some things remain the same.
The illyrian climate offers warm summers and moderately cold winters. The winds of the closely situated Koralpe play a supporting role as a cooling factor during the hot season, enabling us to harvest perfectly ripe and healthy grapes later in autumn. As in other vine growing regions, people adapted a perfectly suited training system in the course of several generations. Today, we are able to work with what was established slowly over time and has proven to be successful.
Trellising is a single wire system, which is also called reverse trellising. Based on the archetype of a vine with climbing trestles, we allow its shoots to hang loose in their natural form. For the posts we use chestnut wood poles, which support the vines on a single wire on 1,80 metres height. In our experience, there is no better system suited in our region to represent the individual character of the soil.
Like a friend, we care for our grapevines. We support them where we can, using biodynamic preparations and teas, which are based on botanical, mineral and animal substances. Like friends, they care for us too, providing us with small and highly aromatic grapes, the basis for complex wines with distinct character.
Our conception of making wine allows us to be free like the wind in so many ways. We appreciate, that even though we understand freedom, it also brings insecurity. Nature is just as unpredictable and having a stern plan does not always work in humans favour. Understanding and accepting is our balance to this lack of security, and we feel that we grew more open and aware because of it. As a reward you can taste the individual expression and vitality in our wines.
Patience & Tolerance
About time and the right moment
A key tool to making wine is having patience and a sense for the right moment. This applies to working in the cellar, as well as making decisions in the vineyard. We want to give the journey of the grape becoming wine as much time as it needs. Gentle handling of the grapes at harvest, spontaneous fermentation of the must, and our conscious choice of wood vessels are just a few steps on this journey. The few steps in which we interfere, are attempts to help nature rather than hindering it. We attach importance to delicate attendance rather than excessive intervention. A combination of our actions and – maybe even more importantly – our inactions are really what make our wines special, showcasing the character of the region, the personality of the grapevine and the virtue of the grape variety.
The wine in the bottle is considered the end product. We gave everything we had, we took good care of it at every stage on its journey. But now it is on its own. By no means does that mean it’s ready, or done, or set in stone. Just like a person, the wine will change in the bottle. It will go through phases, it will have its ups and downs, but through it all, it will shine with vitality and a strong backbone of complexity.