respekt–BIODYN is an association of leading European Biodynamic estate winegrowers based in Austria, each member being the winemaker in person. respekt-BIODYN has established itself internationally in recent years as an important driving force in biodynamic viticulture alongside Demeter and France’s SIVCBD or BioDyvin. In 2021 Respekt’s 80 members cultivated an area of about 850 hectares in total.
Chairman: Michael Goëss-Enzenberg of the South Tyrolean Manincor winery heads the association, with Kamptal winemaker Fred Loimer serving as his deputy. Loimer was the driving force behind respekt–BIODYN.
History: The vision of the respekt members is to achieve the highest possible environmental, social and spiritual quality in their work. Through their work, they want to expand the quality of their wines and simultaneously conserve natural resources. Their goal is to optimize expression and typicity, and to bring the terroir and regional character of the wines ideally into the bottle.
The first talks about a biodynamic association were initiated in 2005 by eleven leading winemakers from Austria, and one from South Tyrol. These were Paul Achs, Judith Beck, Kurt Feiler, Karl Fritsch, Michael Goëss-Enzenberg, Gernot Heinrich, Johannes Hirsch, Fred Loimer, Hans Nittnaus, Bernhard Ott, Gerhard Pittnauer and Claus Preisinger. This was based on their search for individual quality in wine. The winemakers mentioned above eventually founded the biodynamic association “respekt” in 2007. In 2009, Andreas Gsellmann, Franz Weninger and Fritz Wieninger joined the group. The group’s first respekt-certified vintage was presented at VieVinum, Vienna’s largest wine trade fair, at the Hofburg in 2012.
The high quality level of their wines, and their biodynamic guiding principles – expressed in their common operating principles and above all in their wines – developed a strong attraction over the years, on the one hand for the international trade audience and on the other hand for their winemaking colleagues.
In 2015, four highly renowned winemakers joined, all members of the traditional German wine growers association “VDP. Die Prädikatsweingüter”: Clemens Busch from Mosel, Steffen Christmann and Hansjörg Rebholz from Pfalz and Philipp Wittmann from Rheinhessen. Three more followed in 2017: Karlheinz & Franz Wehrheim, Herbert & Carmen Zillinger, and Fritz Wieninger with his second winery Hajszan Neumann. In 2018, Martin & Georg Fußer from the Palatinate joined, and in 2021 Sven Leiner, also from the Palatinate, and Willi Sattler with his sons Alexander and Andreas from South Styria are joining as well. A number of winemakers who are friends of respekt-BIODYN are in professional exchange with them.
respekt-BIODYN remains open. To discourse and input within the group, and from outside.
Wine-growing and winemaking charter: respekt–BIODYN has its own charter for wine-growing and winemaking and is a certifying body. It was founded by 12 winemakers (see below) in 2007 as respekt (sic), but in 2015 the name changed to respekt-BIODYN (sic) to make its Biodynamic way of working clearer. Its aim was to strive together for ever higher quality and greater individuality in wine. respekt-BIODYN consists of only winemakers and is a certifying body.
Founder-members: The original members came from Austria, Germany and South Tyrol (now part of Italy, formerly Austrian), meaning German is the common language of the association. respekt-BIODYN’s formation was preceded by an intensive training phase with the agricultural ecologist and Biodynamic consultant, the late Dr Andrew Lorand (1957-2017). The stated aim was to work collectively whilst creating wines with enhanced individuality.
Certification: respekt-BIODYN has its own certification trademark for Biodynamic wine-growing since 2011. This conforms to EU norms regarding organic wine-growing and winemaking whilst adding its own stricter private (Biodynamic) standards to both these aspects of wine production. Respekt won a court case against Demeter re use of the term ‘Biodynamic’ in Europe, arguing successfully that ‘Biodynamic’ was a working method rather than a brand. In the USA respekt-BIODYN wine labels may not carry the ‘Biodyn’ stamp on the label and use ‘respekt Wine’ instead.
The admission procedure: Criteria for admission include participation in the respekt education programme, a one-year mentorship by an existing respekt member, and the three-year transitional phase for wineries in conversion to organic management (two for already organic operations). Additional criteria include rules on the winemaking (see below), and the taste of the wine. Aspiring respekt-BIODYN members have their wines tasted by the Executive Board which must agree unanimously. Respekt co-chairman Fred Loimer says “it is important that the respekt association is open to every type of wine: from fresh and fruity through classic and matured, to orange. But everything at the highest level.’
Guidelines: In 2016, the respekt-BIODYN guidelines, containing aspects of modern agroecology and social, ecological, and economic sustainability, were revised. New cellar guidelines were adopted for still red, white and pink wines, for natural wine, and for traditional method and other sparkling wines. Each individual category is clearly defined and leaves no room for interpretation. The guidelines go beyond EU organic regulations. The respekt-BIODYN training programme is open to all winemakers and wine experts, the aim being to see improvements in wine-growing and wine quality as a partnership with nature and with fellow growers. To download a pdf of the respekt-BIODYN winemaking guidelines click here.
Member wineries – chronology
2007: 12 founder members. These were Paul Achs (Gols, Burgenland), Judith Beck (Gols, Burgenland), Kurt Feiler (Rust, Burgenland), Karl Fritsch (Wagram), Gernot & Heike Heinrich (Gols, Burgenland), Johannes Hirsch (Kamptal), Fred Loimer (Kamptal), Hans & Anita Nittnaus (Gols, Burgenland), Bernhard Ott (Wagram), Gerhard and Brigitte Pittnauer (Gols, Burgenland), and Claus Preisinger (Gols, Burgenland) which are all in Austria, and Michael and Sophie Goëss-Enzenberg of Manincor (in Kaltern or Caldaro, in the formerly Austrian but now Italian region of South-Tyrol).
2009: Andreas Gsellmann (Gols, Burgenland), Franz Weninger and Fritz Wieninger joined the group, making 15 in total.
2015: Clemens Busch, Steffen and Sophie Christmann, Hansjörg Rebholz, Philipp Wittmann.
2016 Karlheinz & Franz Wehrheim, Hajszan Neumann (Fritz Wieninger).
2017 In March 2017 respekt-BIODYN had 22 member wineries from Austria, Germany, Italy, and Hungary cultivating a total vineyard area of around 600 hectares (1,482 acres). They were: Paul Achs, Judith Beck, Clemens Busch, Steffen Christmann, Kurt Feiler (Feiler-Artinger), Karl Fritsch, Michael Goëss-Enzenberg of Manincor, Andreas Gsellmann (Gols, Burgenland), Gernot & Heike Heinrich, Johannes Hirsch, Fred Loimer, Hans & Anita Nittnaus, Bernhard Ott, Gerhard Pittnauer, Claus Preisinger, Hansjörg Rebholz, Karlheinz & Franz Wehrheim, Franz Weninger (Mittelburgenland), Fritz Wieninger/Hajszan Neumann & Wieninger (Wien [Vienna]), Philipp Wittmann, Herbert & Carmen Zillinger. | 2018 Martin and Georg Fusser Joined. | 2020: 25 estates with 780ha of vines plus another 75ha in conversion. | 2021 Sven Leiner, Willi Sattler joined.
2021 In 2021 the association had twenty-five respekt members in Germany, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. They cultivated an area of about 850 hectares in total. The 25 respekt Wineries. Paul Achs, Judith Beck, Clemens Busch, Sopie & Steffen Christmann, Feiler-Artinger (Kurt Feiler), Karl Fritsch, Martin & Georg Fusser, Michael Goëss-Enzenberg of Manincor, Andreas Gsellmann, Hajszan Neumann, Gernot & Heike Heinrich, Johannes Hirsch, Sven Leiner, Fred Loimer, Anita & Hans Nittnaus, Bernhard Ott, Gerhard & Brigitte Pittnauer, Claus Preisinger, Sattlerhof, Ökonomierat Rebholz, Dr. Wehrheim, Weninger, Wieninger, Wittmann, and Herbert & Carmen Zillinger.
Member wineries by country
Austria – Burgenland: Andreas Gsellmann (Gols, 2009). | Claus Preisinger (Gols, 2007). | Feiler Artinger (Rust, 2007). | Weingut Weninger (Franz R Weninger). | Gerhard & Brigitte Pittnauer (Gols, 2007). | Gernot & Heike Heinrich (Gols, 2007). | Hans & Anita Nittnaus (Gols, 2007). | Judith Beck (Gols, 2007). | Paul Achs (Gols, 2007).
Austria – Kamptal: Johannes Hirsch (Kammern, 2007). | Fred Loimer (Kamptal, 2007).
Austria – Weinviertel: Weingut Herbert Zillinger, 2016).
Austria – Südstiermark: Weingut Sattlerhof ().
Germany – Mosel: Clemens Busch (2015).
Germany – Rheinhessen: Weingut Wittmann (Philipp Wittmann, 2015).
Hungary – Sopron: Weingut Weninger (Franz R Weninger).
Italy – South-Tyrol: Manincor (2007).
Biodynamic Wine (Infinite Ideas, 2016).