Just as each wine grower is a unique individual, so too are their vineyards. Franz Weninger insists on expressing the different soil types found throughout Burgenland and uses Blaufrankisch as the vehicle with which to do this. Firstly, it is important to encourage biodiversity, to work organically and also biodynamically. Variety instead of uniformity. The Weninger family’s winemaking roots can be traced back to 1828, when the name first appeared in the records of Horitschon, a small town in Burgenland Austria. In 1997, not long after Hungary started opening up after the Communist era, Franz’s father acquired some plots close to the town of Balf in Sopron - a historic winemaking region that lies a few kilometres east of the family’s Austrian home. Before the existence of a border between Austria and Hungary, Sopron was considered to be the heart of the region, and is thought to be the likely birthplace of the now famous Blaufränkisch and Kékfrankos grape varieties. Here, the cool winds descending from the Sopron mountains are tempered by the warming influence of Lake Neusiedl, a shallow lake that acts like a radiator, dissipating store warmth during the autumn months.Vines are planted on loam, slate, mica and lime. Franz views the soil as the origin, the fermentation the birth and the ageing in the cellar as the education of the wines. Thus, he treats these soils with respect and with pride, too. In terms of the climate Lake Neusiedl to the east brings warmth (a shallow lake that acts like a radiator, dissipating store warmth during the autumn months); the Bucklige Welt (hills) to the west brings cool temperatures. The Illyrian climate sometimes sends in storms from the south. The Sopron Mountains in the north and the Kőszeg Mountains in the south provide protection. But this is generally a warm region, propitious for red grape varieties. But Franz is looking for balance rather than extraction – which brings us back to the farming. Holistic growth and vines in harmony with nature are the goals; organic-biodynamic cultivation is the method. The biological activity of the soil (micro and macro-organisms) bring the wine’s provenance to the glass. The need for cellar work is minimised because everything is in balance. At Weingut Weninger, all vineyard work is adapted to the plant with respect to the rhythm of the seasons and the moon. Protecting the natural balance in the vineyard, with the aid of biodynamic preparations and the use of homeopathic teas, enables them to harvest healthy and vibrant grapes. (The horsetail and nettle are collected in the immediate surroundings of the vineyards).