The Esterhazy name has always been closely connected to today’s “Leithaberg DAC” wine region. As one of Burgenland’s historic wine estates, Esterhazy boasts a long winemaking tradition – the year 1758 on the estate’s logo refers to the family’s oldest cellar records. Their centuries-old know-how is of course a great source of pride for the wine estate’s team, but the typicity of the region and its diverse conditions are interpreted in a more modern way. Tradition and change do not have to oppose each other – in fact, fresh winds of change have been blowing through the Esterhazy vineyards and cellars for the past few years. Director Frank Schindler, Cellar Master Robert Krammer, Sales Manager Wolfgang Hewarth and their teams are continuously driving innovative ideas with enthusiasm and energy.
The official appellation “Leithaberg DAC” may still be in its infancy, but the potential of its outstanding vineyard sites and grape varieties has long been anchored in the canon of Burgenlandian and Austrian wines. All the wine estate’s vineyards (currently 52 ha of fruit-bearing vines) are situated within the DAC region, and its three-tiered pyramid of Gebietswein, Ortswein and Riedenwein is consistently being implemented. The diversity of the region’s mica-schist and shell limestone soils, its ideal climate, and the red and white grape varieties designated for Leithaberg wines allow for many different interpretations. Here, the Esterhazy team has a very clear goal in mind: to craft unadulterated, authentic wines that impress with their crispness, expression and typicity.
“We can make use of grapes from six distinct, geologically very different wine-growing districts, and this is clearly reflected in our wine style,” explains Sales Manager Wolfgang Hewarth.
In order to arrive at this desired wine style, the quality of the grapes is of utmost importance. For this reason, we have been implementing organic farming practices in the vineyards since 2019. In 2023 we will receive our official certification. “Our aim is to cultivate every single vine individually and so gently that it will live at least 100 years,” – that is Robert Krammer’s credo. Thanks to a protective pruning method, the vines are further strengthened and the cuttings are re-used in our own recycling system to make valuable compost which is then spread back into the vineyard.
The courage to innovate is also evident in Esterhazy’s cellar and winemaking. A steadily growing percentage of wooden barrels stems from the local forests. The wood staves are stored for 3 years in the renowned Stockinger cooperage before processing. With their “wine projects”, Robert Krammer’s team proves that alternative vessels and international methods have earned a permanent place in Esterhazy’s winemaking process. Beautiful concrete eggs and amphorae create extraordinary wines that possess a completely unique character and have proven to be very popular among consumers.
The fascinating aspect about winemaking is that it brings together the past, present, and future. In the appellation pyramid of Leithaberg DAC, single vineyard wines (Riedenweine) represent the top tier: in this category, Esterhazy produces wines from the top sites LAMER and SCHILDTEN, which offer years and years of drinking pleasure. While the single vineyard PIRICHEN may not yet be a household name among wine lovers, this could change soon. With an altitude of up to 380 m above sea level, this newly-planted (2021) limestone-rich vineyard in the Oslip Forest is the highest-lying vineyard site in Northern Burgenland – yet another project which clearly shows that the future of this region has only just begun at Esterhazy!