One of the oldest known wineries in Austria, Stift Göttweig has been producing wine since the Middle Ages. Located in the Kremstal districtus, the twenty-six hectares of vineyards at an altitude of 449 meters is situated on the southern banks of the Danube, at the eastern edge of the famous Wachau wine-growing region. The estate sits beneath the majestic overlook of the Göttweiger Berg, upon which the well-known Stift Göttweig Benedictine Monastery has stood since 1083.
The winery has enjoyed a colorful history from its formative years leading up to the 14th century when wine production began to flourish, to the 16th and 17th centuries when “Göttweiger” wines became synonymous with nobility across Europe. The wines were in such high demand and the monastery so successful during this period that the monastic buildings, which were destroyed by a large fire in 1718, were rebuilt using wine revenue alone. And in 1739, the famous Austrian artist Paul Troger was commissioned to decorate the ceiling above the main stairway within the Abbey with a now famous fresco, “Apotheosis of Charles VI as Apollo,” which the modern Stift Göttweig wine label now bears elements of.
Fast forward to 2006 when the powers that be placed Fritz Miesbauer of Domäne Wachau fame, already successful in his management of Weingut Stadt Krems, in charge of Stift Göttweig to revitalize its name and its wines. Under his expert hand and that of Franz-Joseph “Goose” Gansberger, dedicated to all things epicurean, the winery at Stift Göttweig has experienced a resurgence in quality and availability. Concentrating on the traditional Austrian grape varieties of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, the wines of Stift Göttweig display unmistakable dryness, fruit, and spice.
Benefitting from the mild climate of the Kremstal, where the warm Pannonian winds flow westward and the cool forest air of the Waldviertel flows south, the wines are imbued with a certain aromatic, fruity quality. The hot days and cool nights, regulated by the Danube River, marry with the varied soil compositions and grape varieties to help impart spiciness to the wines. The single vineyard site of “Gottschelle,” with its soil composition of weathered sediment covered in löss, realizes superb Grüner Veltliner; the vineyard site “Silberbichl,” lying on the eastern edge of the Wachau, is composed of “Old Danube” gravel and weathered stone, covered with löss, and produces outstanding Riesling. These two sites are Stift Göttweig’s most important growing areas. Vineyards upon the Göttweiger Berg, composed of varied soil types, produce tantalizing Grüner Veltliner and contribute to the historically easy-drinking Messweins, or Altar wines.
These specific terroir characteristics have helped Miesbauer to garner a “DAC” for the Kremstal, cementing the position of Stift Göttweig in Austrian wine vernacular. Stift Göttweig has endured the test of time to now shine as one of the totemic pillars of Austrian wine estates.