Austrian winemaker Johann Reinisch, head of the prominent Johanneshof Reinisch estate in Austria´s Thermenregion, has died aged 57.

‘Hans’ Reinisch was one of Austria´s top wine producers and his red varietal wines, most notably St. Laurent and Pinot Noir, developed an outstanding reputation both at home and abroad.

Reinisch oversaw the development of his family estate from 0.5 to 40 ha (hectares). He held vineyards around the towns of Tattendorf and Gumpoldskirchen, south of Vienna.

In the 1990s, he was one of the first Austrian producers to focus on making high-quality red wines as well as developing strong export markets for them, mainly in the UK, USA and Russia.

His most successful wines include the St. Laurent Holzspur Grande Reserve, the Pinot Noir Holzspur Grande Reserve and the Grande Cuvée St. Laurent.

Although better known for his red wines, he also produced premium white wines, and in recent years added Zierfandler and Rotgipfler – rare local varietals – to his stable.

‘Hans was a true pioneer,’ said Willi Klinger, general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board. ‘Not only in red wine production and exports, but also in the rebirth of the entire Thermenregion. We will miss him greatly.’

Reinisch was killed yesterday in a tractor accident.

He is survived by his wife, Veronika, and three sons, Hannes – also a winemaker – and Christian and Michael.

Written by Darrel Joseph in Vienna