Gerhard & Brigitte Pittnauer
Uncompromising – Master of St. Laurent
As pioneers of the natural wine movement, Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer produce wines that are a genuine expression of their vineyard’s terroir. Embracing organic and biodynamic practices resulting in healthier and more flavourful fruit. With minimal intervention in the cellar, their wines undergo spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts, preserving authenticity. Their wines show an amazing balance between exotic aromas and great minerality on their white and orange wines. The red wines are balanced with the right amount of fruit, tannins and not to much acidity. Their St. Laurent wines are out of this world.
Pioneers of Natural Wine
In the world of winemaking, Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer, the Austrian couple who took part in revolutionising the industry with their commitment to producing natural wines, have had a significant impact. With a deep respect for the environment and a passion for authentic winemaking, the Pittnauers have garnered widespread recognition for their innovative approach and dedication to quality. Its a remarkable journey of Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer, with their philosophy, techniques, and contributions to the natural wine movement.
The Journey Begins
Gerhard Pittnauer, born into a family of vintners in Austria’s Burgenland region, inherited a rich winemaking tradition. However, he quickly realised that the conventional practices he inherited didn’t resonate with his vision of winemaking. Fueled by a desire to reconnect with nature and produce wines that truly reflected the unique terroir of the region, Gerhard embarked on a path less traveled. He was joined by his wife, Brigitte, whose unwavering support and shared passion for sustainability would become crucial in their journey.
Embracing Natural Winemaking
The Pittnauers adopted the principles of natural winemaking, a philosophy that emphasises minimal intervention in the vineyard and the cellar. They abandoned the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides in the vineyards, instead opting for organic and biodynamic practices. This decision allowed the vines to thrive in a balanced ecosystem, giving rise to healthier grapes with distinct character and flavors.
In the cellar, the couple took a hands-off approach, allowing the wines to ferment spontaneously with native yeasts. This method, known as wild fermentation, enhances the complexity of the wine, as the indigenous yeasts bring out unique flavors that are a true expression of the vineyard’s terroir. The Pittnauers also embraced minimal use of sulfur dioxide, a preservative commonly used in winemaking. This choice not only maintained the wine’s authenticity but also appealed to consumers seeking a more natural and low-intervention product.
The Rise to Prominence
As pioneers of natural winemaking in Austria, Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer faced both admiration and skepticism from their peers. However, their unwavering dedication to quality and sustainability eventually won over critics and wine enthusiasts alike. Their wines began to receive critical acclaim, attracting attention from sommeliers, restaurateurs, and wine enthusiasts worldwide.
The Pittnauers’ commitment to environmental stewardship and innovative winemaking techniques garnered recognition beyond Austria’s borders. Their influence extended to the global natural wine movement, inspiring a new generation of winemakers to embrace similar principles.
Philosophy of Terroir
One of the hallmarks of the Pittnauers’ winemaking philosophy is their respect for terroir—the unique characteristics imparted to the grapes by the climate, soil, and topography of the vineyard. By letting nature take the lead, they believed that the wines could embody the essence of the land and convey a sense of place. Beyond their commitment to sustainable practices, the Pittnauers’ attention to detail extended to the aesthetics of their wines. Brigitte Pittnauer, took on the creative responsibility of designing the labels for their bottles. Her artistic touch added a personal dimension to their wines, creating labels that not only represented the quality of the product inside but also served as unique pieces of art.
Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer’s journey from conventional winemaking to becoming trailblazers of the natural wine movement is an inspiring tale of passion, dedication, and sustainability. Their commitment to environmental consciousness, minimal intervention, and terroir-driven winemaking has not only earned them international acclaim but also revolutionised the way many perceive and produce wine.
We really enjoyed our visit to their winery. Talking about all types of fermentation. Thank you again Gerhard for a pice of your kombucha scoby 🤩