Winery of the year – Schloss Gobelsburg
The history of the Schloss Gobelsburg Winery in Kamptal is closely intertwined with that of the monestary of the Cistercian order Zwettl. At the spot where the magnificent castle stands today, there used to be a fortress in the 12th century, which was first documented in 1074. It belonged to the Kuenringer family. The Kuenringer dynasty founded the Zwettl monastery, located about 50 kilometres north of Gobelsburg, at the time when Cistercians from Burgundy spread throughout Europe. In 1138, Hadmar I von Kuenring laid the foundation for the monastery, which is still in use today and is one of the oldest Cistercian abbeys.
Grüner Veltliner Tradition
Ried Grub 1. Lage Grüner Veltliner
The castle near Gobelsburg changed hands over the centuries, each change leaving its mark on the architecture. By the 18th century, a total of 18 families of nobility and the landed gentry had been in possession of the castle at one time or another. The last counts transformed the building into today’s renaissance castle, but were forced to sell it due to extreme debt. In 1740, the Zwettl monastery took over the estate and with it valuable wine-growing land around Gobelsburg. The winery is still owned by the monastery today. Father Bertrand was the last monk to run it until 1980. After the turmoil of the two world wars, he undertook the renovation of the castle and led the winery to great prestige thanks to his outstanding skills as a winegrower. In 1996, the Zwettl monastery handed over the management to Michael and Eva Moosbrugger.
The Cistercians, an offshoot of the Benedictine order, placed and still place great value on a harmonious life of prayer, reading and work. At that time they were engaged in agriculture, forestry, fishing and wine-growing in Zwettl, just as they were in their original home in Burgundy, France (Cîteaux Monastery). Just as they did there, they realised that the vineyards in the Danube region differ markedly in geology, climatic influences and location and that these characteristics are reflected in the wine. As early as 1171, they owned vineyards on the Gaisberg and Heiligenstein and cultivated wine there. Over the centuries, they accumulated a wealth of valuable knowledge which still informs winegrowing in the region today.
The Association of Traditional Austrian Wineries
The Association of Austrian Traditional Wineries has set itself the goal of preserving this knowledge, which in the best case is passed down from generation to generation of winegrowers, and of offering wine lovers and connoisseurs an orientation aid with a conclusive classification. The association, which now counts 33 members (2018) from the Kamptal, Kremstal, Traisental and Wagram regions, was founded in 1992. Schloss Gobelsburg has been a member since 1996. The classification, which focuses exclusively on the two most traditional grape varieties in the Danube region – Grüner Veltliner and Riesling – is a ‘work in progress’, as Michael Moosbrugger puts it. Since its inception, the wines have been observed and analysed together. The classification process is still far from complete. The goal is to not only continue to expand and refine it, but also to constantly verify it. The current “Classification 2017” comprises a total of 61 first-rate vineyards – Erste Lagen – whose wines are authorised to bear the ÖTW seal on the label. These wineries regularly produce exceptional wines that are clearly distinct from one another. The wine in the glass should bear witness to its provenance.
The Kamp Valley and the Schloss Gobelsburg Winery
It takes a good hour heading west from Vienna by car until you reach the Kamp Valley. The river Kamp flows from the northern Waldviertel east of Krems into the Danube. The wine region lies to the east and west of its lower course around the historic wine town of Langenlois, covers around 3900 hectares and lies at an altitude of about 200 to 300 metres above sea level. The climate is characterised by the hot Pannonian Basin in the east (Hungary), the cool Waldviertel in the north and the Manhartsberg in the northeast. Warm winds come from the east, while the Waldviertel and the Manhartsberg have a cooling effect in summer and stave off extreme cold in winter. Hot days and cool nights in summer, long sunny autumns and cold winters – this is how the weather in the region can be roughly defined. However, the microclimatic conditions in the individual vineyards, which are influenced by height, slope incline and orientation, are often of great importance.
The soils are extremely diverse: primary rock with little humus, Gföhler gneiss, mica schist, desert sandstone from the Permian period, loess, sand and gravel soils. Schloss Gobelsburg cultivates around 75 hectares of vineyards with the white grape varieties Grüner Veltliner (55%) and Riesling (25%). They thrive best on sandy loess or barren, stony soils. The red wine varieties Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and St. Laurent ripen on gravel and the Merlot grows on clayey loess soil on the Sachsenberg.
Wine-growing follows the latest scientific insights as well as the traditional, gentle and natural methods that were already practiced by the monks. These include the application of organic rather than synthetic fertilisers, the elimination of chemical weedkillers and the reduced use of pesticides. Vines that produce not only excellent, but also unique, authentic and characteristic wines are a true cultural heritage that must be preserved. Therefore, old vines are selected and propagated, just as the monks used to, in order to preserve the unique quality of the wines.
The winery is also committed to tradition and avoids unnatural oenological and mechanical processes. Michael Moosbrugger’s idea of placing the barrels on wheel frames to avoid rough pumping is as simple as it is ingenious. The barrels are not made of French or American oak, as is so often the case, but of wood from the nearby Manhartsberg. It would be hard to imagine a more harmonious combination of wine and wood, grown under the same climatic conditions as the vines.
The Schloss Gobelsburg Winery can look back on numerous awards for its wines – not just locally and in Austria, but also on the international stage. Some current wines are highly rated by Robert Parker. GaultMillau selected the Gobelsburg sparkling wine as the “Sparkling Wine of the Year 2017” and in 2016, Schloss Gobeslburg was awarded the accolade “Winery of the Year 2016” at the Kamptal Wine Trophy. We are now pleased to present Schloss Gobelsburg as "Winery of the Year 2018/2019" to our esteemed customers and to serve you the wines according to the motto of the winery and the Cistercians: “Qui bon vin boit – Dieu voit”, in English: “He who drinks good wine, sees God”.