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Markus Altenburger

On the varied slate and limestone soils of the Leithaberg DAC, in Burgenland, Austria, Markus Altenburger farms his vineyards biodynamically with regenerative principles such as no-till. He has become known for his soulful, pure, unfined & unfiltered Blaufränkisch wines & his expressive skin-contact whites.

"People forget to observe the vines. Everyone is stressed—needing to jump on a tractor and do something—but if you just stop and observe the plant, it’s clear. You get a much better feeling for the vineyard."

People:  Markus and Bernadette Altenburger, and cellar master Kathrin Lautner

Place:  Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria

Varieties:  Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, Chardonnay, Neuburger, Grüner Veltliner, Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Muskat Ottonel and Welschriesling

Hectares:  17

Farming:  Biodynamic with elements of permaculture & regenerative agriculture

Wines: Click here

Did You Know?

Kathrin Lautner dynamising biodynamic preps

It doesn’t stop at organics. The domaine is currently in conversion to biodynamics, and inspired by permaculture and the likes of Fukuoka’s iconic book One Straw Revolution, Markus has been working towards a philosophy of no-till; figuring out a way for his vineyard soils to be permanently covered.  He explains,

“We’re certified organic, but we also practice minimal intervention in the vineyards. We don’t cut the grass, we let the shoots of the vines grow, wrapping them around the top wire. For the vineyards which produce our single vineyard cuvées, we also no longer pass through with a tractor, using only backpack sprays. Everything we do revolves around trying to leave the soil undisturbed.”

He is working to uncover how he may combine the principles of permaculture with biodynamics. He says,

"I found Fukuoka's idea of letting things go their own way intriguing; "to do less in order to have more." I liked that he did this in practice and lived for many years on his farm observing plants and nature. It is a contrast to Rudolf Steiner, whose approach seems both theoretical and spiritual to me. In a sense, biodynamics focuses on enhancing certain things, whereas Fukuoka is rather about discovering the essence of the plant, and then not disrupting it too much. Both ideas are...

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