Where high quality meets a unique philosophy
You might have heard about excellent white wines from Austria or even the so called “Weißer Spritzer” that people in Austria love to drink. What if I told you that there are also great Austrian red wines? Would you consider ordering an Austrian instead of a French or Italian one? In fact, the country is largely known for its outstanding white wines. But did you know that more than one-third of Austria’s vineyards are planted to red grapes? Most of them are dedicated to indigenious varieties that are adapted to Austria’s climate and soil – such as Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. We wanted to find out more about Austrian wine. So we reached out to Patrick Bayer and Katja Bernegger who are representing Heribert Bayer Wines in second generation. If you want to learn more about why today Austria’s wines have a great foundation for global success, then read on!
All eyes on Patrick & Katja
Earlier this year we met Patrick Bayer, winemaker and CEO of Heribert Bayer Wines, and Katja Bernegger, who recently joined the family business. She is responsible for marketing and is the creative head of DesignYourWine. We had a long chat about wine and a great wine tasting in Neckenmarkt, a little village in the Burgenland region. We talked about what shook up the international wine business in the 1980s and how this made Heribert Bayer, Patrick’s father, find his way into the business in his late 40s without having any practical experience as a winemaker or a family wine business background. And if you never heard about so called negociants, the time has come now! Get to know what a negociant’s job is, how Patrick became one of the youngest ones worldwide and learn more about the Heribert Bayer-philosophy.
First of all: What’s a negociant?
If you look up the definition you’ll find something like this: “negociants are wine experts and mercants who buy grapes, juice or the finished wine from growers, then bottle and sell them on the market wholesale.” So this means that they don’t own any vineyards themselves. The Bayer family works closely together with the wine collective and their winegrowers in Neckenmarkt. This allows them to have access to some of Austria’s oldest Blaufränkisch vineyards that are more than 70 years old.
While negociants are common in France and Italy, they are quite rare in Austria. “What we really love about being negociants is that we can produce wine in a perfect location with the ideal grape variety. Moreover, we let the growers do what they can do best, and we focus on producing excellent wine using the best grapes”, explains Katja. Today, there are a few negociants known for selling some of the finest wines on the market. And sometimes it happens that life gives you a sign and that you choose a new path even in your late 40s. And this is exactly what happened to Patrick’s dad in the 1980s.