Weingut Kollwentz

Austria, Burgenland

The Kollwentz estate is on the Leithabirge in Burgenland, where there is a long history of winemaking. The region has a very specific 'Pannonian' climate, marked by cold dry winters, hot dry summers and also, critically, often benefits from 'Indian' summers - a long fine autumn in which the grapes ripen fully and can be harvested at the optimum moment. The nearby Neusiedlersee lake, which is over 320 sq.km. is an important factor in regulating the temperatures.

The Kollwentz family cultivate 25 hectares of vines in sites that were already known for wine production in the 16th century. The vineyards stretch from the foot of the Leithabirge, at 170m above sea level, up to the Gloria vineyard at 325m. Generally the reds are grown below 200m, in the deeper soils, while the whites are above.

Viticulture is traditional, by hand, and all the wines are hand-picked. They are proud to say that 'botryicides, no insecticides and no herbicides' are used, but also that they don't make orange wine. All the wines are aged in barrel for between six and thirty months.

Anton Kollwentz, who took over at the age of 18 in 1940, is responsible for the much of the success of the estate. Starting with the sweet wines, then moving on to establishing a reputation for the dry whites, then taming the rude tannins of Blaufränkisch with malolactic fermentation and barrel ageing, he paved the way. The current winemaker is his son Andi, who, with his wife Heidi, took over in 2004. Recent vintages have won a impressive roster of awards in both colours - indeed in every category in which they make wine.

The Kollwentz family traces their presence in Grosshöflein back to 1704 and their involvement with viticulture to the mid-18th century. Andi and Heidi Kollwentz are the tenth generation of winemakers. It had been Andi Kollwentz’s father, Anton, who changed from mixed farming to pure viticulture when he returned from viticultural college in Eisenstadt in 1958. He made his name by hand-selling his wines, especially some BAs and TBAs from the 1960s to hotels in skiing resorts in western Austria in the early 1970s. A quality ethos has since pervaded the estate, which is among Austria’s best. Andi Kollwentz joined his home estate in 1989 after graduating from Klosterneuburg and working stages in various Bordeaux châteaux while also visiting numerous estates. Today, the Kollwentz family farms 25 hectares, of which 50% are Chardonnay, 6% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Scheurebe, 25% Blaufränkisch, 8% Zweigelt, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Pinot Noir. Two thousand twenty-three will be the first certified organic vintage, even though this will not be stated on the label. Daughter Christina Kollwentz, also a Klosterneuburg graduate, is poised to join the estate. She just returned from a stage with Kühling-Gillot in Rheinhessen. The wines come with a certain old-school power, but Kollwentz walks a narrow but masterful path that ensures none of the wines err on the side of opulence. Yes, there is power and muscle, but no fat. The youthfulness of even decade-old wine is astonishing – clearly, these are wines to be laid down to be enjoyed many years hence. They certainly have the staying power. Anne Krebiehl MW, Vinous.com  (Nov 2023)