Country: Wachau - Austria
Region: Wachau - Austria
The Domäne Wachau has over 300 years of inspiring winery history marked by continuous innovation and cutting-edge ideas. Dynamic, fresh energy has once again infused the cooperative and its members with the duo Roman Horvath and Heinz Frischengruber leading the Domäne Wachau into the future. The Domäne Wachau now counts among the leading wine producers in Austria and the best cooperatives in the world.
250 Domäne Wachau vintner families cultivate close to 400 hectares of vines, around one third of the entire Wachau vineyard area. Every single grape vinified by the Domäne Wachau comes from a cooperative member. 20% of the wines are sold to Austrian specialty merchants and restaurants; a quarter is sold to supermarkets and 10 % directly from the winery. Nearly half of the wines are exported. Domäne Wachau has positioned its wines in over 40 different countries and is among the most well known Austrian wineries in the world. The most important export countries are the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, and the USA. Roman Horvath MW has been the winery’s managing director since 2004 and is responsible for the strategic positioning and consistent quality orientation. In 2009, he became the second in Austria to achieve the prestigious and internationally respected title “Master of Wine”. In Heinz Frischengruber, a Wachau native and graduate of oenology at Geisenheim in Germany, he has found a congenial management partner. Frischengruber has been the technical director and chief oenologist at the Domäne Wachau since spring of 2005.
Domäne Wachau History
The winery was first mentioned in documents dating 1137. Its first days of glory came while in the possession of the Catholic Church in the early 18th century as the historic caves and the magnificent “Kellerschlössel” (Baroque Cellar Palace) were built. Domäne Wachau is a member of the Vinea Wachau, the vintners’ association of the Wachau appellation and produces wines in the Wachau trademark quality categories Steinfeder, Federspiel, and Smaragd. The regulations of the Codex Wachau and their strict rules for protecting the appellation go above and beyond the already very stringent Austrian wine laws and are a guarantee for uncompromising quality awareness.
Meagre primary rock soils and a unique climate shape viticulture in the Wachau. Atlantic air masses from the west lend the region a temperate continental character with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Warm air from the Pannonian steppe to the east flows through the Danube River Valley and moderates the climate, particularly in the cold half of the year. The Danube River functions as a further climate regulator.
The Domäne growers own vineyard sites throughout the Wachau, many of which are among the most famous vineyards in the country. The best are vinified separately to yield single-vineyard Riesling and Grüner Veltliner from vineyards such as Singerriedel,
Tausend-Eimer Berg, Achleiten, and Kellerberg. The soils are predominantly meager primary rock, mostly gneiss with high quartz content, but also gneiss with mica or feldspar. Nearly two thirds of the vineyards are very steep and terraced with ancient dry stonewalls earning the region the status of an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Vineyard and Winemaking
A solid 70% of the Domäne Wachau vineyard area is planted with Grüner Veltliner; Riesling makes up about 20% of wine production. Elegant Federspiel and Smaragd wines are made from Pinot Blanc, Muscat, and Gewürztraminer. A Sommelier-Edition is dedicated to the rare Neuburger variety. A versatile and broad spectrum of rosé wines is produced from the Domäne’s red grapes varieties. Essential for the success of the winery has been a vineyard quality assurance program that was initiated by Heinz Frischengruber in the year 2005. This vineyard management system includes measures of quality cultivation that are customized according to the individual vineyard plots and the vintage. The great success of the program is based on the superb cooperation and faithful communication between the grape growing families and Heinz Frischengruber and his team. Sustainable viticulture has increasingly become a focus at Domäne Wachau. Ecological ideas and environmental projects have been realised and step by step have become a part of winery operations. Green cover has been planted in the rows between the vines to revitalise soils. Pest control through mating disruption with the use of pheromone traps has been successful and has made the use of insecticides obsolete. The use of alternative sources of energy at the winery also demonstrates the conscientious dedication to further enhancing sustainability.
Authenticity and origin are essential key words in the Domäne Wachau wine concept. Of utmost priority is therefore the work in the vineyard. Healthy grapes are the foundation for every great wine. Despite the Domäne Wachau being one of the most modernly equipped wineries in the region, a traditional vinification philosophy is respected. Minimal intervention is understood and practiced as the ideal. The goal is to express the Wachau and its great vineyards with precision and clarity.
The Domäne Wachau endevours to produce clear, precise, vibrant and well-structured wines that express their origin - their terraces and/or unique vineyard site. The Domäne strives to cleary define the taut minerality that finds its origin in primary rock soils.
Finesse and vitality are always in the foreground. The impressive old wine archive at the Domäne Wachau testifies to the exceptional aging potential of the Wachau wines. Wellguarded treasures from the last century dating back to 1947 rest there. The wine assortment is complimented by a selection of exceptional Veltliner. These brandies were distilled twice and matured for decades in small oak barrels.