Winzerkeller Andau

One of the greatest potential resources for a wine importer is a better-than-average co-op—Caves coopérative de vinification in French, Winzergenossenschaft or Winzerkeller in German. This is an association of growers, some of whom own wide-reaching expanses of vineyard—several hectares, possibly—and others who have three rows of grapevines behind the barn. Under central leadership, these grapes are harvested at an arranged time with others of the variety, delivered to the press-house, vinted, fermented, matured and then bottled together under the label of the Coöperative. The world of wine would be a far poorer place indeed, without the activities of the Produtorri di Barbaresco, or the Domäne Wachau—(formerly Die Freie Weingärtner).

For fifty years now, the Winzerkeller Andau has provided its currently almost 300 members with the opportunity to do together that which would be impossible for the individual. And since Austria's entry to the EU in 1995, the coöp has spared no expense—to the tune of some 10 Million Euros—in modernizing its grape-collection technique and winemaking procedures, to the point of reaching a very high standard of quality.

Andau is a little community of some 2400 souls, situated less than a mile from Austria's border with Hungary. Back in the days of barbed-wire, checkpoints and machine guns, this neighborhood had very little to rejoice about, being border-country, one that was in no way encouraged to feel pride at its Magyar heritage, even though the province had been part of Hungary until after the 1st World War. The vineyards bear fruit typical to the area: Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Sankt Laurent, Muskatt, Grüner Veltliner and Welschriesling.

People have grown grapes here for the better part of millenia, and the culture has always included the fruit of the vine. Cultures change, and winemaking changes along with it. They have now a modern tasting room, and an aggressive marketing campaign is underway. But not all progress is negative! In these relatively prosperous times, the governing body of the Winzergenossenschaft can actually pay a premium for vine-owners to grow fewer bunches on each vine, achieving a higher standard of quality then hitherto thought possible for a coöperative effort—for growers who a generation earlier sold their wine in cask, and gave only the occasional thought to bottling it.

And so in addition to the popular GV Eiswein Fahrenheit 19, we're happy to add Zweigelt, St Laurent, Blaufränkisch and a dry Grüner Veltliner to our list, all of which deliver top-class performance for a middleclass price.