Winemaker Interview: Hans Tschida of Weingut Tschida Angerhof, Austria
Lovers of sweet wine will be no stranger to Weingut Tschida Angerhof, the Austrian winery that we previously highlighted when they were crowned Sweet Winemaker of the Year 2019 (for the 6th time!) at the International Wine Challenge in London. Its passionate owner Hans Tschida tends to shun the limelights, preferring to stay at home and tend to his 40 hectares of vines in the old winemaking town of Illmitz on the right bank of Neusiedlersee. Each Tschida wine is truly unique, and aims for a perfect harmony between fruit, alcohol, residual sugar and natural acidity of the highest level. No wonder his wines are usually known as “liquid gold”.
We recently caught up with Hans Tschida himself, who talks more about the uniqueness of his terroir and the Sämling 88 grape variety.
Hello Hans! Can you tell us how you got into winemaking?
The story of our winery began in 1982, when we made our very first wine. At that time, winemaking was our sideline profession.
In 1993, however, we decided to dedicate ourselves wholly and completely to wine growing.
Today, we cultivate 40 hectares of vineyards, 70% of which are planted with white grapes that are ultimately vinified almost entirely as sweet wines.
Tell us more about Illmitz, where your winery is located.
Illmitz is in Austria next to the National Park and Neusiedler Lake with its many small and salty water lakes. This creates a special microclimate that offers optimum conditions for the production of sweet wines with the highest quality!
Warm days, cool nights, humidity and morning fog are the basis for the formation of noble mold – Botrytis Cinerea.
What is your winemaking philosophy?
We create our quality sweet wines exclusively through controlled – slow and cool – fermentation in stainless steel tanks.
All treated with care, and time!
Sweet wines are a whole different category of winemaking — what makes the perfect sweet wine?
Year after year, our biggest aim is to make wines of the highest quality. That mean wines with clear fruit and a perfect balance between residual sugar and acidity.
How is the process different from more typical wines?
Making sweet wines requires a late harvest for maximum sugar content. The selection process is also different and the vinification is more complex.
What is so special about the Sämling 88 grape variety?
Regarding the grape Sämling 88, it is also known as Scheurebe. Sämling 88 is our most important grape, and it is very good for sweet wine because of the tropical notes and high acidity which makes a good balance.
How have your wines been received in different parts of the world?
Our variety of wines can be found on the wine lists of restaurants all over the world, which makes us very proud. That is why we take on the challenge of “sweet wine” every year anew.
Are you experimenting with anything new currently?
We have a new wine, Merlot Spätlese, which is a rosé and a very good summer and entrance wine to sweet wines. Additionally, we have enlarged our top vineyard called Domkapitel, where we vinify mainly Sämling 88.
Hans Tschida Schilfwein Muskat Ottonel 2006 (37.5cl) ($86 Special: $50)
Hans Tschida Angerhof Cuvee Auslese 2018 ($46)