A lifelong dream and an experiment. The Brandstatt vineyard finishes off the Wachau in a spectacular way to the North – after its steep slopes the Waldviertel starts. In 2012 I have bought 0,3 hectares of land which was in former times covered with vines. Overgrown with scrub and not cultivated over the last 50 years it poses a challenge which I have been looking forward to for many years. The Brandstatt represents undoubtedly one of the big vineyards of the Wachau: But since its terraces were so steep and its cultivation so difficult it was gradually left by its owners.
With its recultivation I fulfil myself a lifelong goal but also contribute to the vineyard diversity of the Wachau. 0,3 hectares sound very little. But if it is complemented with 1200 square metres of stonewalls I have to build on 13 terraces it probably appears in a different light. Until now there are no vines planted. But in 2015, when the construction works should be finished I will slowly start to explore the possible potential of the Brandstatt Riesling.
The Spitzer Graben is a valley which descends steeply, with slopes more suitable to skiing than to growing wine (actually there is a world-cup snowboarding event just five kilometres away from us every year).
The cultivation of vines is just possible because – through history - a collective of farmers, winemakers, monks and whole village communities collaborated in building extensive stonewalls which are dominating the landscape and shaping the vineyards until today. Their construction was an enormous cultural achievement: the time that was spent to construct them and the work dedicated to it, took up centuries. The winemakers of today have the task to maintain the stone-walls, or as I do in the Brandstatt terrace, to build them up anew. Besides its viticultural importance and aesthetic value the walls also provide a unique habitat and hideaway for hundreds of plants, insects, beetles, reptiles and birds. The stone-walls are a main reason why the Wachau was chosen as world heritage by the UNESCO. To conserve this heritage is our task and duty.