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MICHAEL WENZEL

BURGENLAND, AUSTRIA

Located on the western shores of Lake Neusiedl is the small town of Rust. Here you will find 12th generation winegrower and winemaker, Michael Wenzel, where tradition plays its part in his winemaking ethos, but evolution and the will to experiment even more so.

His vineyards are cultivated by hand, individually, and consciously cared for with the utmost respect for ecology in mind. His winemaking, done without any manipulations, is part of his ongoing quest to understand the metaphysics of terroir and the substance within its grapes.

While everyone else was planting Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in the '90s, Michael was busy expanding his Furmint vineyards. He looks back on it like an adventure, like climbing a summit in the Austrian Alps. Furmint and Austria would not be the same without the Wenzel family, who courageously and wittily smuggled historic clones from Hungary to Austria during the historic days of the Iron Curtain and Cold War. Back then, there were severe consequences if caught, but they risked everything for what they believed in. Today, Michael cultivates almost a third of the country's hectares of Furmint and is widely celebrated in Austria as a pioneer of this variety.

 

Michael’s vines thrive in calcareous, quartz, gneiss, limestone and mica schist soils producing structured, focused, mineral wines such as Furmint (Autark), Chardonnay, Muskateller, Sauvignon Blanc (Wild + Free Lockvogel), Pinot Gris (Wild + Free Voodoo Child), and Blaufränkisch and Pinot Noir (Wild + Free Fränk).