Gernot and Heike Heinrich founded their winery in 1990 with just one hectare and have steadily grown to 90 hectares today. Heinrich was one of the first in the region to transition from simple white wines to high-quality reds in the early 1990s, and became famous for powerful red blends such as Salzberg, Gabarinza, and Pannobile. In recent years, the focus has turned to Blaufränkisch from the nearby Leithaberg DAC, and to “Freyheit,” a line of natural wines produced with minimal intervention in the cellar. Heinrich converted to biodynamics in 2006 and is a member of Respekt, a certifying body for biodynamic viticulture in Austria. Heinrich today is one of Austria’s most innovative wine producers.
Location of Vineyard
Neusiedlersee, named for Lake Neusiedl, is a winegrowing area located north and east of the lake and is home to the Heinrich winery. The moderating effect of the lake combines with the warm Pannonian climate, and its alluvial soils provide ideal conditions for red grape varieties. The Heinrich estate consists of 90 hectares in three main areas: Heideboden (sandy-loam soils that stretch from the village of Gols to the shores of Lake Neusiedl); the Parndorfer Platte (low-lying hills with gravel soils located near the winery); and Leithaberg (a hill of limestone and schist soils on the northwestern edge of the lake).
“What we are trying to do,” says Gernot Heinrich, “is continue the biodynamic philosophy that we practice in the vineyard into the wine cellar.” Gernot and Heike’s decision to convert to biodynamic viticulture in 2006 was based on the goal of making their vineyards successively more resilient and vital. The style of their wines has evolved and they have abandoned power and extraction for livelier wines with lower alcohol and increased freshness. All the wines are fermented spontaneously and are often left with the skins for several weeks. The wines remain on their lees for an extended period and are vinified mainly in neutral old oak casks and amphoras. Gernot says, "we give the wines plenty of time to mature, the time that hardly anyone has today,” and adds, “it is above all else time that shapes our wines.”