It is a tradition in Austria to light a bonfire and keep it burning through the night on summer solstice. The biodynamic vintners’ association “respect” invited friends and fans to their midsummer fire to celebrate a sensory spectacle under the sun, moon and stars. The certified eco-event “Respekt Johanni 2013” on June 23rd at the Wieninger estate in Vienna was a celebration of life, family, friends and the good things our planet offers as nourishment.
A thoughtful group of 15 biodynamic vintners from Austria, Alto Adige and Hungary have embarked on a common journey with the goal of preserving what makes our lives worth living: nature, its diversity and vitality. With “simply organic is too simple” as their credo, the group goes a step further with their own even stricter guidelines in vineyard and cellar. Their philosophy does not end in wine production, the group is also dedicated to creating a healthy and happy environment for their employees, customers and communities. The member vintners are currently Paul Achs, Judith Beck, Kurt Feiler (Feiler-Artinger), Karl Fritsch, Michael Goess-Enzenberg (Manincor), Andreas Gsellmann, Gernot and Heike Heinrich, Johannes Hirsch, Fred Loimer, Hans and Anita Nittnaus, Bernhard Ott, Gerhard Pittnauer, Claus Preisinger, Franz Weninger and Fritz Wieninger. The association was founded in 2007 and together cultivates a total of around 500 vineyard hectares.
This message was certainly reflected in an event that attracted 800 fans of organic food and wine. All 15 vintners were present, pouring their wines and leading guest through a biodynamic parcours to experience biodynamic methods first-hand. Several of the vintners are now producing some experimental wines with fermentation of a white wine on its skins, alternative fermentation vessels or minimal sulfur dioxide additions.
Special activities for children included arts and crafts, soccer and other games.
Three award-winning chefs Christian Petz, Max Stiegl, and Stefan Unterkircher as well as the butcher Manfred Höllerschmid offered culinary highlights throughout the afternoon. An impressive line-up of producers of organic delicacies were also at hand: organic fish from Biofisch Grossal Salmos, Viennese snails from Gugumuck, Paget cheese, Gragger bread, jarred specialties from Gillinger, beer from the Neufeldner Organic Brewery, Grandoro coffee, Gulasch from Dormayr, vegetables from the Gärtnerei Bach, Wetter juices, and Vöslauer mineral water. Josef Zotter created a special chocolate for the event and the Reisetbauer distillery offered Blu-Gin-Tonics.
Respekt’s next summer solstice will take place at another member winery next year. May the fire of respect continue burning and inspiring…