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News from south.

Josef Fischer and Georg Frischengruber were in South Africa together. They are friends. And they share a goal: to build the reputation of the wines hailing from the Danube’s right bank.

Josef Fischer is the fifth generation of his family to head the Weingut Josef Fischer estate in Rossatz.

What tools are important for producing wine? For the generation Josef Fischer and Georg Frischengruber belong to, a smartphone and a tablet are among them. Georg even takes them along on the tractor, managing the business on the go. “Vineyard, cellar and sales. What each of us does on our own are three jobs in South Africa,” the vintner from Rührsdorf observes. Together with his fellow vintner Josef Fischer from Rossatz, Georg Frischengruber completed internships in South Africa and New Zealand. They agree: “You’ve got to get to know something besides your own winery, and it’s best to start right after finishing school or army service.”

In the summer I sit on the tractor
with my tablet.
Georg Frischengruber

The two of them also share the lessons learned from their travels: thoroughness from the New Zealanders, and the South African “chill factor”. But the most they learned was while cruising together throughout South Africa in an ancient van. The big feeling of freedom before taking on responsibility back home. Today both are in their early thirties, and head their own wine estates.

Exporting instead of over-the-counter sales: Georg Frischengruber is building a business on new priorities.
Cool climate, cool look. A Riesling from Weingärtnerei Frischengruber.

Cool climate – this is the label these vintners use to catch wine lovers’ interest. “A new generation is stepping out, in sommelier circles as well. The younger generation wants to freshly discover the Wachau. For us, on the “cool” right bank of the Danube, that’s an advantage,” Josef and Georg believe. Their strategy is working. Both of the estates are growing, especially through exports.  “Our bank has potential. We still have a lot of headroom.”

Does a similar strategy mean similar wines?  “Both us make slow wine, I would say. Wine-making is slow process, and my Federspiel wines often ferment until January,” Josef Fischer reveals. Pressed for a difference, the two of them agree: “Your wines are a wee bit creamier and rounder, I find. And mine are somewhat leaner and more acidic,” Georg Frischengruber observes.

15 years ago, if you had a website you were a star. Nowadays social media is much more important. Josef Fischer

Though keen on experimenting, the two of them rely on familiar brand names. Josef Fischer and Georg Frischengruber have bought into the Vinea Wachau style categories: “Steinfeder®, Federspiel® and Smaragd® are brands customers know – even in the US. Working with these names is a help for us young winegrowers,” the two agree. Another help: social media. These vintners like to personally take care of communicating, posting on Instagram and facebook. “There’s a tremendous response every time I share something about Ried Kreuzberg,” Georg Frischengruber reports with satisfaction. No wonder then that his most valuable wine originates from that particular vineyard.