It’s always exhilarating to catch the train from Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof to the picturesque village of Gumpoldskirchen, followed by a short drive to Tattendorf to visit our long-time friends at Johanneshof Reinisch. Beyond our enduring friendship with the Reinisch family, we can vouch for their most sought after wines, which we have been fortunate to import since 1995.

The wine estate of Johanneshof Reinisch is nestled amongst the vineyards, approximately 30 kilometres South of Vienna in the Thermenregion, whose name refers to the sulphuric hot springs of water in Baden. With nearly 2,000 hours of sun per year, the Thermenregion surrounding Tattendorf and Gumpoldskirchen is one of Austria’s sunniest, and driest regions.

In 1923, Johann Wanzenböck, a farmer from Tattendorf decided to plant half an hectare of vines in this idyllic wine growing region, but it wasn’t until after his grandson Johann Reinisch, nicknamed ‘Hans’, finished viticulture school that the production of wine began. In 1972, Hans took over the running of the estate, and he oversaw the development of the family holdings from a mere plot of vines to a total of 40 hectares. 

Hans and his wife Veronika focused on making high-quality wines, as well as developing strong export markets, thus giving a rebirth to the entire Thermenregion. Together, they have managed to bring the initially small estate to the attention of the world. The couple had three children, Johannes, Christian and Michael, all of whom chose to follow the same path as their parents.

In 1993, Johannes gathered considerable practical experience in Napa Valley, where he met Françoise Gilley, first working at Clos du Val under the wing of its founder and winemaker, Bernard Portet, and subsequently at Swanson Vineyards. Christian went to the local viticulture college, followed by spells at Kollwentz in Burgenland and Fromm Winery in New Zealand, and Michael, the youngest of the brothers, completed international wine management at the Polytechnic Academy in Eisenstadt, before practical training abroad. The three brothers represent the fourth generation at the estate, which they now run with great dedication.

From the very beginning, the family embraced organic farming devoted to respect their land and the biodiversity in their highly regarded vineyard sites, including a few parcels situated at an altitude of 450 meters. The special quality of the alluvial soils lies in their great permeability, which ensures rapid warming and thus greatly promotes the ripening process of the grapes. The high proportion of limestone brings a distinctive minerality to the wines and makes their vineyards particularly suitable for the cultivation of Burgundy cépages. The vineyards are predominantly planted with red grape varieties (60%), including the endemic St. Laurent, and the white grape varieties consist mostly of the indigenous Rotgipfler and Zierffandler, for which the Reinisch family are particularly famous. The family is also responsible for farming the renowned Melk Abbey’s vineyards of Gumpoldskirchen.

In 1995, new winemaking facilities were built, with the confident objective to produce fine wine, and a barrel cellar was erected using old bricks in the old traditional fashion. 

Sadly, in 2009, at only 57, Hans died from a tragic tractor accident while working on a steep hilled parcel. The estate remained in the competent hands of Veronica and her three sons.

Always searching for individuality and character in their wines, the brothers go so far as to acquire wood from the Vienna forest, which they age in the outdoors of the estate in order that it ‘breathe’ the local air. Thereafter, the barrels are assembled by Franz Stockinger, a cooper from Austria, whose reputation is also famous among top French and Italian winemakers. 

Celebrated for their Pinot Noir, the Reinisch family regularly visit Burgundy, where they have close ties with illustrious winegrowers and together they all continue to research and experiment in relentless pursuit of exemplary viticulture and meticulous winemaking. In fact, a few barrels in their underground cellar hail from prestigious coopers such as Jayer and ANA.

Today, Johanneshof Reinisch is one of the leading producers in Austria, and the brothers are strongly attached to the tradition, and their terroirs, as is evident from the names of the wines: Ried Frauenfeld St. Laurent, Grillenhügel Pinot Noir, to name a couple. They are in a permanent quest for perfection. Johanneshof Reinisch’s wines possess a splendid identity, they are impressively complex and elegant with boundless charm.

There is no doubt that the future is very promising for Johanneshof Reinisch. Hannes’ son Sebastian is first of his class at the elite Klosterneuburg winemaking school and he will soon be gaining experience abroad. His brother Thomas is a talented chef, practising at some top Austrian restaurants. 

Profile © Françoise and Seán Gilley

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