Franz Weninger went from classic wine school in Vienna, to learning how to make wine in California, Australia and Alto-Adige, to finding his own path: starting at organics and leading to biodynamics. It's an ongoing, contemplative and personal quest to find and translate the voice of his vineyards' terroir.
LITTLEWINE visited Franz at his cellar in the Burgenland, Austria.
“I was thinking… Did the wine change? Or did I change? Did my taste change...? I think I had become more open minded. I was free in my opinions, further away from school education and finding my own tastes. I was ready for alternative methods.”
People: Franz Weninger
Place: Burgenland (Austria) & Sopron (Hungary)
Varieties: Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Welschriesling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris
Hectares: 26 hectares in Austria and 24 hectares in Hungary
Farming: Biodynamic (Demeter and respekt-BIODYN certified)
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? Franz's 'penny-drop' natural wine was one of Pierre Frick's.
Franz on Biodynamics
After experiencing the benefits of compost and converting to organics in 2002, the next step - to biodynamics - happened in 2006. It was a simple stepping stone for Franz.
He explains that when first converting to organics, farmers are told to stop spraying chemicals, and to instead spray the less powerful (and natural) copper and sulphur, but to spray these more often. He says,
“So in organics, you’re the stupid guy who has to spray more often. But biodynamics opens up a whole new world of medicine - teas, preparations - that make you start to think about the immune system of a plant. Can I get that plant to a state where it doesn’t need the medicine - where it can be healthy on its own?”
It was this thinking that made him find the biodynamic path easier to follow than the organic path. He muses,