When Franz Prager co-founded the Vinea Wachau in 1983, he had already established a reputation as one of Austria’s best winemakers. The marriage of Franz’s daughter, Ilse, to Dr. Toni Bodenstein in the 1990s was the catalyst for sweeping renaissance at the winery. Bodenstein, a biologist, geologist and historian, spent years studying the geology of the region and focused much of his attention on preserving genetic diversity. His “Arche Noah” project, a planting of old Grüner Veltliner and Riesling clones is the result of his work. Bodenstein’s scholarly approach, passion for biodiversity, and brilliant winemaking has elevated Prager to the highest echelon of Austrian wine producers.
Location of Vineyard
The Prager estate is made up of 17.5 hectares planted to 60% Riesling and 40% to Grüner Veltliner. Located on steep terraces, the vineyards are partly in Weissenkirchen (Hinter der Burg, Steinreigl, Zwerithaler, Klaus and Achleiten), and partly in Dürnstein (Kaiserberg, Hollerin and Liebenberg) and planted at extremely high densities of up to 15,000 plants per hectare. Bodenstein makes six different wines from the famed Achleiten vineyard including Wachstum Bodenstein Grüner Veltliner (from 118 clones) and Wachstum Bodenstein Riesling (from 16 clones), both from massal selections and both planted on upper terraces. Stockkultur Grüner Veltliner, is sourced from an ancient patch of post-trained vines at the very top of the Achleiten cru.
Harvest is typically in October. Grapes are hand-harvested, sorted to eliminate botrytis, and sent directly to press where they’re fermented by what Bodenstein describes as “controlled spontaneous fermentation.” Since 1996, all Prager wines have been vinified entirely in stainless-steel tanks. This minimalist approach reveals wines of precision, elegance and power with moderate alcohol levels. The wines of Prager embody their motto “Vom Stein zum Wein” (from rocks to wine).