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There are no secrets for the production of these remarkable wines, simply attention to all the many small details in both growing grapes with great flavour, and producing wines of great purity and balance. In the vineyard yields are kept incredibly low with each vine limited to just 3 bunches of grapes. In the cellar vinification is done either in small new oak for the “Nouvelle Vague” (“new wave”) wines, or in large old wood for the more traditional “Zwischen den Seen” (“between the lakes”) wines. Sulphur levels are kept to a minimum and there is no malolactic fermentation for the wines in order to maintain the high levels of natural acidity. In the best years a “Grande cuvee” TBA will be produced. This is the wine which Luis feels best expresses the character of the vintage and what he aims to achieve
Luis’ son Gerhard has now been running the estate for a decade and has deftly picked up where his father left off, winning the International Wine Challenge ‘Sweet Winemaker of the Year’ award in 2009. Each year though, the recipe remains the same, driven by a relentless attention to detail. In the vineyard yields are kept incredibly low with each vine limited to just 3 bunches of grapes. In the cellar, each individual parcel is vinified separately, often in lots as small as a hundred litres or so. Malolactic fermentation is avoided to retain the grapes’ high natural acidity and sulphur use is kept to a minimum. Two styles of TBA are produced: Zwischen den Seen (between the lakes), vinified in stainless steel or large oak casks; and Nouvelle Vague (new wave), vinified in French oak barriques.
They are not a typical family. This small, tightly woven and dedicated team is strongly rooted in Illmitz, at Austria´s Neusiedlersee - Lake Neusiedl -yet also is widely connected internationally. Gerhard Kracher is the young, highly energetic head of the wine estate, which he took over at full speed following the premature death of his father, Alois Kracher Jr. And Michaela Kracher, Gerhard's mother, keeps a close eye on the entire operation, even on the most hectic of days.
The wines from the Weinlaubenhof have long been in a class of their own. Practically no other sweet wines have reached such a high level of recognition worldwide, and only a few have come close to the high ratings Kracher wines continuously receive. Around the world, Kracher has become the synonym for noble sweet wines of ultimate perfection.
THE DIRECTOR: GERHARD KRACHER, VINTAGE 1981
Whoever acquires such an inheritance must inevitably unite numerous and often adverse factors and characteristics. Since 2007, Gerhard Kracher has been running the winery that his grandfather founded and his father made famous around the world.
Although Gerhard is young, he is also highly experienced in the cellar and vineyards. He’s an authentic “Burgenländer”, devoted to the Seewinkel while open to the world - a globetrotter who likes Californian cuisine and the way of life in the south of France. While he knows exactly what he owes to the tradition of his house, he also never stops looking to the future, searching for new ideas, being curious about new trends and innovations.
Gerhard Kracher acquired a business management education and since 2001 has been working full-time in the family operation. Step by step, he took over the responsibility of the individual markets, began representing the winery at international events and gained important experience from distribution partners in the USA.
THE MOTHER: MICHAELA KRACHER, VINTAGE 1961
She pulls all of the strings. Not only does she manage the winery´s over-flowing business calendar, but she also coordinates the orders and exports of Kracher wines as well as ensures that the winery runs smoothly.
THE FATHER: ALOIS KRACHER JR. 1959 - 2007
"Luis" was one of the great visionaries of wine-growing. Not only did he spearhead the “Austrian wine miracle” in the 1990s, but he was also the engine for the worldwide sweet wine renaissance. The entire wine world mourned when Luis, long before his time, passed away in 2007. Educated as a chemist, he was nearly 30 years old by the time he joined his father´s winery after years of working in the pharmaceutical sector. But it wasn´t long before he created a new dessert wine style demonstrating that fruit, finesse and balance are more important than sweetness alone.
Alois Kracher created an international sensation for the first time with his 1991 vintage wines, and soon after, his name became – especially in America - a synonym for cult sweet wines. Year after year, the international wine media celebrated his Beerenauslesen and Trockenbeerenauslesen. But this was not enough for Luis. With an indefatigable quest for innovation, he always found new products that would feature his noble sweet wines as a key ingredient - from blue cheese, grape jelly and chocolate to pomace brandy and vinegar. Moreover, he established friendships between China and California and travelled the world as an ambassador for Austria´s delicious delights. More …
THE GRANDFATHER: ALOIS KRACHER SR., 1928 - 2010
The grandfather was, in his own way, a pioneer as well. Alois Sr. saw the potential of the region much earlier than most others. And he produced great sweet wines from noble rotten grapes in the Seewinkel long before everyone else began to discover them.
Alois Sr. truly loved his vineyards. Even in his later years, he spent a great deal of his time outside - going through the rows of the vines. He knew every vine by heart, and observed each one carefully; he knew what each parcel required - and demanded. And his profound knowledge is still drawn on today by the generations who have followed him.
THE SEEWINKEL: NATIONAL PARK AND NATURE PARADISE.
The Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl) sprawls across the eastern part of Austria, along the border to Hungary. On the lake´s eastern shore is the Seewinkel National Park, a natural paradise with rare beauty: thick reeds and, behind them, vast, flat grasslands and sandy pastures. These all are interspersed with several tiny lakes whose reed beds provide homes to nesting rare bird species. It is because of those numerous tiny lakes that the local inhabitants call the area "Seewinkel" (roughly, “lake corner”). Three communities in particular here - Podersdorf, Illmitz and Apetlon - have developed into centers of culture and pleasure: the grasslands feature grazing cattle, sheep and geese, whose meat is in high gastronomic demand. Also seen are the famous wooly Mangalitza pigs, whose original home is right here.
THE CLIMATE: PANNONIAN
Hot, dry Summers, very cold Winters, rain-rich Springs and long, mild and sunny Falls: this is the Pannonian climate that dominates the Seewinkel as well as Hungary to the east. However, the Neusiedlersee has specific weather conditions, a micro-climate that is unique in the world: the vast expanse of water lightens the Summer dryness; and in the Fall, it delivers dense evening fogs that remain until they are dispersed by the morning sun. These conditions are ideal for the development of Botrytis cinerea, a “good” fungus also known as noble rot, which enables the production of none other than noble sweet wines.