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Werlitsch

Ewald Tscheppe ditched the security of producing simple, easy-to-sell, “drink now, not for ageing” Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. Inspired by the likes of Marcel Deiss, Gravner and Radikon, Ewald set out to see what his Styrian soils might be able to produce if given the chance. By throwing convention out of the window and by following an inert belief that biodynamic farming is the way forward, Ewald and his friends’ wines have changed how Styria is perceived. 

LITTLEWINE visited Ewald in Styria

“Every material has its own quality, vibration and identity. If you live in a wooden house, it will feel different to living in a concrete house. This has a certain kind of influence. In our way of making wines, there isn’t one aspect that makes the wine, there are many little things that make the wine unique. Every small detail is important. The more alive a wine is, the more every detail plays a role.” 

People:  Ewald & Brigitte Tscheppe

Place:  Southern Styria, Austria

Varieties:  Chardonnay (Morillon), Sauvignon Blanc, Welschriesling

Hectares:  8

Farming:  Biodynamic (Demeter certified)

Wines: Click here

Did You Know? The wines of Gravner and Radikon inspired Ewald to create his own interpretations of 'orange' wine.

Biodynamics

Ewald reflects on how his farming practices have evolved since ’04:

“Today, I try to focus more on the common biodynamic principle of seeing the farm as an organism. I try to build up a system where everything can work as naturally as possible. There’s nothing wrong in nature – everything has its place – no plant grows without a reason.” 

By allowing nature to function undisturbed, Ewald hopes to minimise the effect of a monoculture. He doesn’t want the vineyard to just be a vineyard; he wants it to be an ecosystem in its own right, saying,

“The more you work on a farm, the more you change the nature’s own development. Of course, I grow vines – this is a monoculture; cultured land, not the wilderness. That said, I try to do the least possible; to build up an environment where it’s not just the vine itself; where grasses can grow high and where trees can live. It’s just a nice environment for nature and insects; everything that’s living has its own habitat; and within that I try to do my work.” 

This means that Ewald is as hands-off as possible. When he has to cut the grass, he cuts it in alternate rows, so that insects can jump across into the neighbouring row, leaving the vineyards with a “high potency of vitality.”  

“I have developed the habit of observation: to be attentive, to be sensitive, and to be open. If something is out of balance, I think – how can I...

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