Join us as we visit one of the Wachau’s first certified sustainable winegrowers – the Hutter Estate.
Fritz, Fritz and Fritz. Three generations of winegrowers at the Hutter Estate at Mautern have a common first name. The full name, seldom used, is actually Friedrich.
The youngest of the three, now 23 years old, is taking over the business next year. But that will hardly affect how well father and son get along. They continue to work side by side. “No matter what, whether driving the tractor or office work, here everybody does everything.” Together they agreed very early on to move towards sustainability. They have already claimed the Sustainable Austria certificate for their 2020 vintage.
“Our advertising states in big letters: We have our vineyards only on loan from our children. That’s something we stand behind, and my generation is committed to going even farther in this direction,” says Fritz Hutter junior. They compost their pomace themselves. Glyphosate they stopped using five years ago. The Hutters cultivate one vineyard, close to the winery, in keeping with organic standards to test and compare methods. Who knows, whether they might one day take the next step.
First the Krems College of Viticulture, then master winemaker. In terms of education, the junior Hutter has step into his father’s shoes. Together they cultivate roughly 14 hectares near Mautern, Loiben and Dürnstein, including a number of the Wachau’s top sites such as Liebenberg and Kreutles. “Fresh and fruity” come to mind when you taste the Steinfeder and Federspiel wines from the estate. And powerful Smaragd wines, like the Grüner Veltliner Ried Silberbichl 2020, are hardly rare.
The Hutters are also proud of their amphora. “It’s like a playground. It lets us try out all kinds of new things,” the two of them agree. The starting point is a blend of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, which is matured on the gross lees in their Italian amphora.
The 2021 harvest has reached the cellar in the meantime. “A good vintage, no question,” Hutter junior says, nodding. He is satisfied, both with the volume and the quality. And with the family estate in general: “The business has just the right size. We don’t want to grow any further, but instead get better at the details.”
Most of the wines from the Hutter Estate are destined for retail. The Silberbichlhof winery is open for direct sales from Monday to Saturday between 10 am and 5 pm. Still, it will be some time before we can taste the 2021 vintage: “We don’t offer any new wine in the old year. We usually need longer.” For those looking for a gift, the 2020 vintage would be an ideal alternative. After all, one thing is for sure: Christmas is coming.