Weingut Ploder Rosenberg is a Biodynamic and permacultural estate winery in St Peter am Ottersbach, in the Vulkanland Steiermark region of Austria. It produces some of its wines from interspecific hybrids or PIWIs such as Bronner and Souvignier Gris.
Background: Alfred Ploder, the third of five children, learned the handicraft of growing fruits and viticulture. He graduated as a winemaker with diploma in 1961. Alfred Ploder and his wife Maria took over the family owned estate in 1986 (their children are Lydia and Manuel). At this time they gave up all elements of the fruit business and transformed the farm in a wine estate. They planted new vines and invested in a totally new wine-cellar. Alfred is the viticulturist and was winemaker until 2011 and Maria is responsible for marketing and sales. From 2011 their son Manuel Ploder has made the wines.
Mission statement: ‘My land is a mark of who I am.’–from their website. ‘We have made it our mission to strive for ecological balance on all levels for the common good. That’s why we try to optimise that which can be made even better. Large wooden containers for long-term storage are being used more and more in our celler. A state photovoltaic system provides considerable amounts of electricity and instead of a garden that is pleasing to the eye, we have invested massively in permaculture hills, fruit trees, fruit bushes and insect hotels. An end to our self sufficiency programme is not in sight. Above all, when we annually harvest the fruit of our labours in the form of our fruit and numerous vegetables we get a great feeling of personal satisfaction. It feels really good to feed ourselves. To the question, whether its worth it or not economically, growth doesn’t always need to be about materialism and getting bigger, but more about the details, the diversity and quality of our work. We harvest our produce with joy and extreme satisfaction.’ Source: the estate website, retrieved 17 May 2020
Vineyards: 12.5 hectares (31 acres) of estate vinyards plus purchases from 3 hectares (7.41 acres) owner by Robert Lieschnegg, whose vineyard is also Demeter-certified Biodynamic.
Inter-specific hybrids: The owners say ‘Styria is a classic “cool climate region” with an annual temperature of around 11°C and 800 – 1000 mm per year precipitation. Up to 70% of the annual rainfall falls from May to September. Mechanical cultivation of the vineyards is difficult. Frequent rainfall increases the danger of infection as well as risks doing work with machinery in steep terrain. The use of fungus resistant grape varieties considerably reduces the expenditure for plant protection and brings clear ecological benefits. It is very well possible to keep connecting sites healthy using PIWIs (fungus resistant grape varieties) with compost extracts, teas and cold extracts. This results in a clearly smaller exposure from us humans, animals, soil and plants. However, the most significant point is that the grapes grow independent of synthetic, systematic and strong influences. PIWIs are the basis of wines for a healthy body, spirit and soul.’
Biodynamics: Began with Biodynamics in 2006.
Biodiversity, Polyculture: The owners say their objective has been to remodel the estate to permaculture principles. This means designing the economic activity of the estate around maximum self-sufficiency so that it works towards becoming an independent individual. A key tenet is that the farm generates its own fertility and becomes a self-sustaining living organism. The “organs of the farm” are the different types of agriculture (farming, rearing cattle and sheep, cultivation of vegetables, fruit and wine but also hedges, forests, humid and dry-meadow biotopes, wilderness areas, fruit and mulch meadows, rainwater storage, compost piles, greenhouses, herb terraces, beehives, hen houses, sheep pens, early vegetable beds, photovoltaic systems, vegetable and fruit storage facilities, etc.)
Certification: 2010 First vintage with full organic certification (Lacon). | 2015 First vintage with full Demeter Biodynamic certification.
Sustainability: Solar panels.
Tero: ‘Tero’ is esperanto for ‘air’. 2013 A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscaris, Muskateller and Traminer. 100% skin contact for 4 months outside. Aged 36 months in amphora. Nice acidity, slightly beer-like in early (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018). | 2013 50% Chardonnay, 50% Souvignier Gris (PIWI).
Blanca: 2016 13% alcohol. Mainly Sauvignon Gris, plus Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Frosty year.
Cara: 2018 Cara: 40% Bronner, 30% Souvignier Gris, 15% Grüner Veltliner, 15% Pinot Blanc. 11.5% alc. 5.7g/l acidity. 1g/l residual sugar.
Gelber Muskateller: Gelber Muskateller is Muscat of Alexandria or Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. | 2011 Gelber Muskateller Trocken, Steiermark 10,000 bottles. 11.5% alcohol. L1201/12. Lacon. Mouthwateringly fresh dry citrus (Millésime Bio 2012).
Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) 2011 Grauburgunder Reserve Rich and sexy oak (Millésime Bio 2012).
Morillon (Chardonnay) 2009 Chardonnay Reserve Oaky butternut (Millésime Bio 2012). | 2016 Soft fruit, vibrant acidity (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018). | 2015 Linea Destemmed. 24 months in oak. Very well made (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Sauvignon Blanc: 2016 Fermented and aged in steel. Lovely texture (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Sauvignon Blanc, Linea B:2009 2,000 bottles. Very different style, more width at Millésime Bio January 2012.
Souvignier Gris (PIWI)
Tero: ‘Tero’ is esperanto for ‘earth’. 2013 50% each Chardonnay and Sauvignon Gris. 50% fermented and aged on skins for 12 months of which four months was in amphora. Nice acidity (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc): 2011 Crisp modernist (Millésime Bio 2012).
Blauer Zweigelt, Linea: 2015 13.5%. 28 year-old vines. Nice texture (Demeter Austria tasting, 2018).
Other crops: 2018 Looking to start making vegetable juice.
A-8093 St Peter am Ottersbach, Austria