A glass of Uhudler in the Kellerstöckl

Blog articles // 03. Nov 2017
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Welcome to South Burgenland

Hidden behind a little forest, right at the top of the hills of South Burgenland, you can find the Weinek family’s Uhudler grapes growing on the hillsides. A holiday at a winery in South Burgenland will give you a glass of the lovely Uhudler wine, the wonderful experience of staying overnight in the Kellerstöckel, and of course, the tasty Brettljause. Eva and Martin Weinek from Hagensdorf have placed great importance on pleasure, as it is crucial to them that their guests can enjoy their winery holiday in all of its glory and sample everything that it has to offer. Over 30 years ago, they discovered their own love for South Burgenland, and they decided to make the region their permanent home around 15 years ago. It was a lovely Kellerstöckl at the middle of the vineyard in Heiligenbrunn that first brought them to this picturesque location.

Today, Eva and Martin live with their children in the small village of Hagendorf in South Burgenland, where they have restored an old farmhouse in which the famous Uhudler and the other Weinek wines are made. A beautiful inner courtyard invites you to relax and while away the hours in the shade of the large vine leaves. Here at the winery, above the tasting room, you also have the opportunity to spend the night at one of the two wine lodges and enjoy Eva and Martin’s friendly hospitality.

Blick in den Garten vom Bauernhaus
Those who prefer to keep to themselves and enjoy nature would do especially well to reside in one of the Weinek family’s two Kellerstöckel. The former winery wine cellar have been converted into holiday homes that still have a sense of the former style, but have up-to-date furnishings and equipment.
 
A large number of the Kellerstöckl are historical listed buildings, which is why every effort is made to stay true to the original building when renovating them. Many of them still have thatched roofs instead of tile or wooden shingles. The cellar of the Kellerstöckl was, or in some cases still is, home to the winemaker’s wine barrels. The press was formerly located on the first floor, along with all of the other devices required to process the wine. Tired farmers would get a restful night’s sleep in a small room on the first floor. Today, the Kellerstöckl have been renovated so that the first floor can serve as a holiday apartment for 2 to 6 people.
 
The location of the Kellerstöckl is unique, as there are hardly any places more idyllic for a holiday than at the middle of a vineyard. Since recently, the Weinek family’s second Kellerstöckl (Kellerstöckl am Kulmer Weinberg) has also served as a holiday home, and it is situated right next to the family’s own Buschenschank tavern. A practical location, as you can taste as much of the Weinek wines as you like and eat your fill, without having to drive back to your apartment afterwards.
Landschaft im Südburgenland © Wolfgang Prummer

At the Weineks’ Buschenschank tavern, you can enjoy cold treats, such as the bacon platter, platters of spreads, Kümmelbraten (caraway roast), pickled vegetables, and runner beans, as well as warm dishes such as Glaslfleisch, Hauswirschtl vom Moorochsen, and Woams Brot with smoked trout. The typical local dialect shows how important the cultural identity of the region is to the family. Many of the meals and sides are produced by Eva and Martin themselves, including the ham that they smoke themselves. Eva also loves pickling vegetables from their own garden. Together, we took their home-grown cucumbers to make mustard gherkins, which are served with a hearty ploughman’s lunch. Even the herb salt, which is used in all of the dishes, is put together by Eva herself.

Brettljause im Burgenland © Melanie Limbeck
The family is passionate about conserving the Uhudler, as this grape is interwoven with the region’s history. The direct carrier (cultivars that are not grafted onto anything and therefore grow on their own roots) is highly resilient, and after the phylloxera epidemic in 1860, was imported from America. As a result, Uhudler hardly ever needs to be treated for mildew or oidium. Uhudler wine earned its special name from the women who would press the wine, as after consuming excessive amounts of wine, they would have an expressions like an owl, which is called an “Uhu” in German.
 
Initially prohibited, Uhudler was approved under Austrian wine laws in 1992, and since then has been permitted for sale in 26 member communities of South Burgenland. The most common types of Uhudler, such as Ripatella, Concordia, Elvira, and Delaware, are officially forbidden as direct carriers in the EU ordinances on viticulture. However, in the Burgenland laws on viticulture, they are considered to be “temporarily permissible types” until the end of 2030, although they cannot be declared as “quality wines”. Uhudler secured “fruit wine” status in the first half of 2016. The winemakers were able to breathe a sigh of relief, as they had been fighting for the conservation of Uhudler for many years. The “Freunde des Uhudler” [Friends of Uhudler] association made a significant contribution to the conservation of this old cultivar, and have improved the quality of the Uhudler through education and monitoring. Taste tests are conducted each year to test the wines for typicity, purity and clarity. Only wines that have passed these tests may carry the name “Uhudler” or the association’s label.
The powerful rosé colour of the familiar Uhudler comes from the blend of red and white Uhudler grapes. The taste is reminiscent of forest fruits, raspberries, blackcurrant, characterised by its “foxy” nature. It’s something you absolutely must try at least once!
 
It’s magnificent to see the diversity of Burgenland. In all honesty, the Kellerstöckl are really something special, and it would be great to have some in North Burgenland as well. But it’s the Kellerstöckl and the Uhudler that make South Burgenland such a special holiday tradition and that are so intrinsically linked to the region. So I can recommend a holiday at a winery to anybody who values authenticity, nature-oriented tourism, tradition and culture, but also to anyone who values quality wines, special culinary delights and relaxation.

Many thanks to Eva and Martin for their friendly hospitality and the opportunity to see you at work.