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The Story

Alois Kracher’s passion for his vines was irrepressible, learned from his father and passed on with fervor to his son Gerhard. Unsuspecting guests of their winery are often hijacked to the vineyards for vine by vine tours, during which they animatedly point out subtle graduations in the terrain which make all the difference between Kracher vineyards and those of his neighbors. Small, undulating crests in the topography give a great advantage to the vines in this sandy, often water-soaked terrain.


The vitality of Kracher’s vines is obvious; the leaves are richly colored and the stalks thick and strong, resulting in fruit offering complex layers of flavor. The estate today is comprised of about 26 hectares (about 65 acres) tended by Alois Kracher, Sr. and planted with traditional Austrian varieties. Alois Kracher, in his tragically brief lifetime, achieved recognition as one of the greatest dessert wine makers in the world, and his son Gerhard continues to hold high the standard of the winery.

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Wine Information

100% Scheurebe

Residual sugar:
373,3 g/l

7,5 g/l


- fermented in stainless steel vats
- 21 months aging time

Tasting notes
Appearance: Medium golden yellow

Nose: Delicate smoke, subtle lemon thyme and lime zest on the nose and in the mouth

Palate: Incredibly thick and creamy, yet its vivacious acidity and intense citrus flavours keep it from cloying.

This Rubenesque angel is extremely primary-almost unformed today-and really must be given time before a proper assessment can be made.

Tasting notes by Peter Moser, Falstaff Magazine

He was known around the world simply as "Luis".

In fact, practically the whole world knew him. From London to California. From the hot, stony vineyards of southern Spain to the air conditioned three-star temples in Paris. Wherever there were people with a love for great wines, at least one of them could talk about Alois Kracher and the energy, dedication and endless stream of ideas that flowed from Austria´s most famous winemaker.

In a certain sense, Luis was a late-comer. A chemist by profession, he was already 30 years old and had several years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry by the time he decided to join his father´s winery in 1989. This was a difficult period for Austrian wine, which was still reeling from the scandal of 1985; especially sweet wines suffered a big blow from the glycol affair. In this situation, Luis proved for the first time to be a true visionary. Unperturbed by the pervading negativity, he created a new style of dessert wine - one that did not focus on sweetness, but instead emphasised fruit, finesse and balance. He put Trockenbeerenauslesen in barriques. He also insisted on vinifying single vineyards individually and without any alterations to their true character. All this, despite the fact that friends were warning him that it would be impossible to bring 12 - and even up to 15 - different TBAs from a single vintage to the market.

The 1991 vintage created an international sensation. Within no time, the wines captured award after award. Then, Kracher was named "Winemaker of the Year" not once, but several times, in London. Also, The Wine Advocate – the publication of the iconic American wine critic, Robert Parker - bestowed the highest scores on the wines. Especially in the USA, Kracher sweet wines developed a cult following – and Luis became a special ambassador for the newly revived Austrian wine culture.

His discussion partners had always noticed that Luis radiated a sense of hedonistic pleasure, an almost infectious joie de vivre; a kind of “California way of life” reflected in this man from the Burgenland. Yet he never lost his realistic, down-to-earth modesty despite the fame he found. "You can´t just rest on your laurels,” he would say often. “You have to prove yourself every year.” And he wouldn´t hesitate to state that: "I´m lucky that the climate and soil work so wonderfully together. So I just try to put into the bottle what nature offers me."

But somehow he wasn´t satisfied enough with the wines he was making year after year, the wines that were celebrated as the best in the world by the international media. His indefatigable spirit of innovation, combined with his ability to meet people and inspire them, resulted in developments that still excite gourmet lovers today.

Together with the feisty American-Austrian, Manfred Krankl, Luis created Californian sweet wines in the Botrytis-free desert heat of Santa Barbara. The project – known as Mr K. – came to an end upon Alois Kracher´s passing.

His friend, the congenial butcher, Hans Schwarz, was persuaded by Luis to make powerful wines in Andau im Seewinkel. And now, Schwarz - with Schwarz Weiß, Schwarz Rot and the special sweet wine Schwarz Schwarz - is amongst the most sought-after winemakers of Burgenland.

Inspired by the British tradition of eating Stilton Cheese with Port wine drizzled on it, Luis developed a unique sweet wine - blue cheese combination. And this was followed by wine gelée, pomace brandy, vinegar, chocolate and more. Indeed, Alois Kracher brought together people and ideas. He established and inspired friendships, from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and from Tokyo to Malaga.

Even with his cosmopolitan experience and outlook, Luis was, at the same time, a real family man. He was always aware that the Weinlaubenhof in Illmitz could function only as a family business - in harmony with his father, Alois Sr. ("he is the real pioneer; he already planted these vineyards a generation ago."), his wife, Michaela, and his son, Gerhard. "With wine, only after generations will it show whether what has been created can survive or not,” Luis would say with conviction.

When Alois Kracher passed away from disease on December 5th, 2007, the entire wine world mourned. Obituaries and tributes appeared in the Financial Times, on the website of Robert Parker and in Jancis Robinson´s column – to name only a few. As part of the family, as a friend and as a visionary, Luis simply cannot be replaced. But everyone agrees for sure: his legacy as a pioneer and visionary will continue to inspire many generations to come.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Medium golden yellow. Delicate smoke, subtle lemon thyme and lime zest on the nose and in the mouth. This wine is incredibly thick and creamy, yet its vivacious acidity and intense citrus flavors keep it from cloying. This Rubenesque angel, with its whopping 373 grams of residual sugar, is extremely primary-almost unformed today-and really must be given time before a proper assessment can be made.

  • 96p
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Illmitz, Neusiedlersee

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