In just his early 30’s, Michael Gindl is one of the most exciting young winemakers helping to lead Austria’s resurgence on the modern wine scene. When Michael finished agricultural school in 2002 it was clear that he wanted to run the farm that his family had owned since 1807. This farm has always practiced mixed agriculture with crops, livestock, forestry and wine. Michael was fascinated with fermentation and took over the responsibility for vinification during his school years. He followed the common doctrine but was never happy with his early wines. It was only through stepping back and looking at the wines of his grandfather, a man who worked much more simply, with nearly no manipulation or intervention that Michael found his style and mantra. In 2012 Inspired by this he converted his winery and vineyards to Demeter bio-dynamics and began experimenting. Now Michael takes holistic farming to new heights with what he calls ‘close-circuit bio-dynamics’ - nothing comes into the winery, nothing comes out. This includes his barrels, which he makes himself from Acacia wood from the nearby forest.
His 10 hectares of vines are planted extremely densely, with 7,000-10,000 vines per hectare growing on loam and loess soil. This forces the vines to behave highly competitively, resulting in low yields of highly concentrated fruit. He uses cover crops to keep down weeds and pest control is handled by the buzzards (Buteos) that roam the vineyards. He tucks his shoots instead of cutting them off at the top so that the energy of the plant goes to the fruit, rather than the stress of making new shoots at the cut end. A plethora of animals also inhabit the Gindl farm. Highland cattle have been bred since 2012, his 3 horses manage all of the work in the vineyards and a flock of goats and Breton dwarf sheep help to manage the weeds and increase fertility.
In 2012 along with his certification Michael decided to rename and brand his property. He landed on MG vom Sol. Sol is the oldest vineyard ever documented in his hometown of Hohenruppersdorf, with plantings dating back to the 14th century. His grandfather revitalised this site, replanting to Gruner Veltliner and Weissburgunder 45 years ago. This remains the only Single Vineyard wine he makes preferring to harvest his 10 hectares by hand in three passes, picking on flavour and ripeness to create his special blends. To preserve the individuality and genuineness obtained in the vineyards, Michael try’s to do as little as possible in the cellar. The grapes are pressed very gently, rarely racked and fermented spontaneously without any use of selected yeast or temperature control. The wines remain on the lees for a very long time and selected cuvees get a small dose of sulphur dioxide before bottling.
Michaels is above all a farmer and a very talented one at that. His love for his vines, animals and their interaction makes his one of the most inspiring people we have come across. His wines are pure, unique, and energetic speaking deeply from the land on which they are grown.