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Austrian monastery resurrects winemaking tradition

A thousand year-old monastery has revived its winemaking with help of Austrian wine guru Fritz Miesbauer.

Stift Goetweigg, a Benedictine community, has 26ha of vines in the Wachau and Kremstal wine regions, had previously leased out its production to nearby winery Weingut Dr Unger.

This year’s vintage is the first to be produced for the monastery’s own label since 1987. Its vineyard consists mainly of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling varietals which are now being vinified by Miesbauer.

Miesbauer forged his reputation in transforming the fortunes of the Freie Weingärtner Wachau wine cooperative and the Stadt Krems winery, which he manages.

Beginning with the 2006 vintage, all Stift Goettweig wines will be vinified by Miesbauer and cellar master Leopold Figl at Weingut Stadt Krems, which itself has recently undergone a €1.5m refit..

The Stift Goettweig line includes two top-range single vineyard whites – a Grüner Veltliner from the Gottschelle site in the Kremstal and a Riesling from the 16th century site, Silberbichl, in Wachau. The wines will be released in Spring 2007.

‘The Silberbichl and Gottschelle are fantastic sites,’ said Miesbauer. ‘The potential is astounding.’

As well as producing medium-range Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners, the monastery will also produce its own Grüner Veltliner Messwein (sacramental wine).

Total production for the new Stift Goettweig label is approximately 90,000 bottles.

Written by Darrel Joseph

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