Gernot and Heike Heinrich founded their winery in 1990 with just one hectare and have steadily grown to 90 hectares today. Heinrich converted to biodynamics in 2006 and is a member of Respekt, a certifying body for biodynamic viticulture in Austria. Heinrich is today one of Austria’s most innovative wine producers.
All of Heinrich’s 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 oak casks. 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.”
“Freyheit,” spelled with a “y” to emphasize their old-fashioned method of production, translates as “freedom” and are a series of wines produced without the rules and constraints of modern winemaking. For Gernot and Heike, this means biodynamic viticulture and rigorous non-intervention in the cellar. “We respect our soil and rely on wild yeasts, maceration on the skins, long lees contact, and the factor of time. They’re bekömmlich (wholesome),” says Heike, “and they’re some of our favorite wines to drink.”
Graue Freyheit comes from the schist and slate soils of Leithaberg and was fermented spontaneously and left on the skins for 15 days. The wine was then aged in used barrels in contact with its full lees for 14 months. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered without added sulfur, in a steinzeugflasche, a unique earthenware bottle made from the same clay material as the fermentation vessel. It features aromas and flavors of red berries and black tea. Shake before serving!
Heinrich’s Freyheit wines are ideally suited to modern cuisine and creative cooking. Maceration on the skins and extended time on the lees results in a textured wine with a subtle tannic grip that can complement dishes built on multiple ingredients or feature complex flavors. The wines are equally at home with straightforward dishes using minimal ingredients.