In the hills of the eastern Weinviertel of Austria, about 30 miles from Vienna, is the village of Hohensrupperdorf, the home of Michael Gindl. He works about 10ha of biodynamic vineyards on polycultural land that has been in his family since 1807.
Michael took over vinification at the family winery at age 17 while in agricultural school. He changed the name to reflect its past- MG vom SOL, named after the first documented vineyard in the village in the 14th centry, SOL. Working conventionally at first, he was disappointed with the wines he was producing- they lacked the energy and excitement of the bottles he loved that were produced by his grandfather many decades before. Back then, the work was traditional, simple, and patient, with minimal intervention. Michael took steps to return to these roots, bottling later, giving up filtration, laying the groundwork for his now Demeter-certified biodynamic vineyard.
Animal life is key to his vineyard work- Scottish highland cattle provide his manure, sheep graze between the vines, and horses help with the mowing and rotating of crops.
Michael does little to intervene with his wines- they remain on lees for a long time, are gently pressed and rarely racked, and go through spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts and without temperature control. Appropriately, he uses barrels made from acacia and oak from his own forests.
Gindl doesn’t just stand out in a region that mostly plays it safe- he dazzles. His skill and energy not only have created a stunning vineyard and cellar, but intrepid, dynamic bottles we can’t live without.