1. World’s Shortest Commute
Judith lives in her winery along with her husband and children, which is set among their vines in Gols, Burgenland.
The weingut was built in 2005 and all winemaking operations are done on the first floor of the building. They are situated between the Hungarian border, and Central Europe's largest endorheic lake, Neusiedlersee, (meaning that water flows into but not out of the lake).
"The terroir here is very special because of this lake," Judith explained. "It is a very large and shallow lake which heats up and keeps the evening temperatures warm in our region."
2. Biodynamic Believer
Judith is committed to Biodynamics and converted her family’s vineyards from conventional farming straight to biodynamics in one go back in 2006. “Actually we were a group of wineries in the region all converting to Biodynamics at the same time. It was a great chance to work together and help each other out with the challenges. The older vineyards were particularly challenging to convert, but we saw many benefits like earlier physiological ripening in the Pinot Noir which meant we could pick at lower alcohol levels and get a fresher style of wine.”
3. Holistic Philosophy
She feels so connected with the philosophy behind Biodynamics that her two children also attend a Waldorf school which was founded by Rudolph Steiner.
Dr. Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher who founded biodynamic agriculture. This holistic practice is a step beyond organic, and considers the farm or vineyard as an integrated, whole, living organism.
The goal is to promote biodiversity that springs from healthy and fertile soils. There are a number of natural preparations for this such as 500: Cow Manure in Horn (pictured). This is a humus mixture prepared by filling a cow's horn with cow manure and burying it in the ground (40–60 cm below the surface) in the autumn. It is left to decompose during the winter and recovered for use as fertilizer the following spring.
4. Pannobile Member
Judith is a second generation member of the Pannobile group which is an inner circle of producers in the Burgenland region that are committed to quality winemaking and growing traditional grape varieties of the region. “We are a small group, we were 7 and now we are 9 wineries. We taste each others wines blind regularly and give each other feedback and help. It is a close group based on trust and friendship.”
5. Renegade Vines
Last year Judith and her husband planted the Hungarian white grape variety, Hárslevelű in their vineyards. This variety is is famously blended with Furmint to produce Tokaji Aszú and other Hungarian dessert wines.
Being so close to the Hungarian border (20 min drive) it seems a logical experiment. Though Judith explained that it would not be legal to use that grape according to the local legislation.
She could include it in a blend or bottle it but not write “Hárslevelű” on the label. "Perhaps I could give it s fantasy name."
6. Love for the Loire
Outside of Austria Judith mainly drinks French wine.
“I just love the wines of Beaujolais and the Loire.”
On her last visit to the Loire she discovered an inspiring producer named Richard Leroy. She told us, "you might not have heard of them, but he's definitely worth trying!"