Since the early 1990’s, the young Gernot Heinrich has firmly established his family’s wine estate as one of the most exciting in all Austria and a leader in the production of Zweigelt – Austria’s own grape. Over the past 20 years, Gernot and his wife Heike pioneered the transition of the region of Burgenland-Neusiedlersee from simple white wine production to its predominantly red wine culture of today. Now, as they work on biodynamic farming, they continue their quest for the highest quality.
The Heinrich story is a modern day fairytale, whereby a small family owned winery that for generations had produced only simple, tasty wines for family and friends and sold the balance in bulk, abruptly changed direction and emerged with Gernot’s dynamic leadership as a tour de force in winemaking. In Heinrich’s case, Gernot’s winemaking apprenticeship abroad was the catalyst for success. Upon returning to Austria, Gernot concentrated on traditional varietals, but with the goal of vinifying them in a more contemporary and international style – something his family had never done before. This philosophy translated immediately into the production of compelling wines of great charm as well as structure.
Today, Heinrich’s wines possess gorgeous fruit as well as tannin, and they continue to improve with each successive vintage. Consequently, all of Heinrich’s wines are now extremely difficult to come by, and that in itself speaks volumes. Heinrich’s tiny Burgenland estate is comprised of a mere 10 hectares (22 acres) planting Zweigelt, a cross between the indigenous St. Laurent and a clone of Gamay, is Austria and Heinrich’s most renowned wine complemented by the production of Blaufränkisch. Furthermore, Gernot has completed the construction of a whole new winery, which will increase his now capacity. Happily, we have much to look forward to from this young, energetic producer.