The winery and estate producing Hannes Haiden’s wines contained a mere 1.5 hectares of vineyards built by a cooperative in the 1960s and then stayed in Haiden’s family. From his grandfather, he inherited a love for tending vineyards and his own heuriger, or tavern, where local winemakers can serve their new wines during a growing season. It was only natural for him to attend Klosterneuburg, the oldest winemaking school in the world, and then inherit this estate from his parents in 1995. Haiden’s first vintage was in 1997.
Due to the small size of the estate, the varietal make-up of the vineyards, and tradition, grapes were co-harvested and co-fermented in early vintages. But Hannes is a one-man rebellion. He has implemented changes to the estate that better suit his philosophy–and the health of his vineyards and wines.
The winery and estate sit on the left bank of Lake Neusiedl in the Leithaberg DAC. The region is known for the climatic influence of the Leitha Mountains and its elevation. Paired with the warming effect of the lake, these are ideal conditions for what is now 20 hectares of vineyards located around Eisenstadt, which is about 5 degrees cooler on average than nearby Oggau.
Hannes’s love for vineyard work has translated to him doing a good deal of his own tractor work, and he strives to visit every single vineyard site each week, keeping three priorities in mind: healthy grapes, balanced sugar, and acid retention. Although his vineyards aren’t certified by any organization, Hannes farms sustainably and doesn’t use chemical inputs. He isn’t one for laws, trends, or obtaining banderoles on his bottles, not because he doesn’t meet requirements but because his rebellious nature forces him to focus elsewhere.
That focus is on producing what he calls “handshake quality” single varietal wines from Scheurebe, Grüner Veltliner, Sylvaner, Gelber Muskateller, and reds from Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, St. Laurent, Syrah, and Merlot, with a particular focus on grapes indigenous to the region. Towards grape growing and winemaking, he hails back to his Austrian and Swiss German roots.
His estate and cellar are now based in Oggau after moving from Eisenstadt in 2003. His red wines are spontaneously fermented, while white wines are inoculated. He uses very low sulfur, long and cold fermentation on the skins, and allows must to oxidize.