The magic of small steps
For almost 200 years, family-run Weingut Wohlmuth has sat — quite literally — atop Kitzeck im Sausal. It hails from a region known for its many thrilling extremes, a perfect cradle for grand wines.
Since 1803, the Wohlmuth family and its estate in Südsteiermark (South Styria) have cultivated vineyards in and around the highest winegrowing town in the region, Kitzeck im Sausal. The estate owns several of the steepest vineyards anywhere in Europe, with a nearly 100% gradient that requires tremendous work and passion. The extremely sparse slate soils quite literally call the shots here —their unmistakable character shapes each wine.
Gerhard Wohlmuth focuses on hand cultivation, reduced yields and minimalist intervention in the vineyards. The philosophy extends to the cellar as well, where he favors his own instincts and patience over trends and fads. This pushes his wines to better reflect their origins, while still bearing the distinct signature of their maker.
100% by hand
100% estate bottled
100% historic Ried vineyards
0% herbicides or pesticides
up to 90% inclines
up to 1,200 hours of labor per hectare
Strength through family
The estate stands strong because it stands together. Everyone here pulls together as a team. Marion, Gerhard’s wife, handles sales and distribution, and serves as the primary contact for customers and retailers. His parents Maria and Gerhard Wohlmuth, who originally built up the estate to its current 55 hectares, still play an important role in sales, while also supporting in the vineyards and organizational tasks. Sons Moritz, Samuel and Noah are also on board, learning the rhythms of a traditional winegrowing estate and tending to great-grandmother Agnes.
An homage to mother nature
The Wohlmuths have been cultivating wine in Kitzeck-Sausal for almost 200 years, and the essence of their work remains largely unchanged. Now as then, the solid slate formations in the soil are pounded by hammer into fragments, with each individual vine then painstakingly worked into the barren soil. The extreme steepness of the vineyards, some over 90%, preclude any use of machines. Labor-intensive hand cultivation is thus inherently at the heart of the estate’s work. Yet from cutting the vines to canopy management to selective manual harvest, the Wohlmuth team works hand in hand with nature itself.
Preserving centuries-old single sites and re-cultivating other faded vineyards means accepting incredible trials and challenges. To some, it might well seem like madness. Yet the Wohlmuths embrace all of it — because that hard work ultimately benefits the vines. The multi-faceted slate soils deliver deep complexity, the plentiful sunshine ensures ripeness, and the high altitude provides coolness and tension. By applying such a thoughtful approach in both vineyard and cellar, the Wohlmuths have taken nature’s gifts and perfected them.
Art and good wine are intertwined in many ways: Both use their own incomparable methods to transport the story of their origin and genesis while carefully preserving the signature of their maker. Since 1986, the estate has commissioned a new image for each vintage, based on the motto: change is the only constant.
STK - A dialogue with Styrian vintners
Gerhard Wohlmuth is known for more than just a pioneering spirit and the outstanding quality of his wines. He’s also known as a strong proponent of the region. His membership in the “Steirische Terroir- und Klassikweingüter (STK)” is part of his homage to his upbringing, as is the estate’s “Nachhaltig Austria” certification.
“Steirische Terroir- und Klassikweingüter” is a voluntary association of wine estates who have committed themselves to a wine culture authentic to their region. They promote sustainable cultivation and preservation of the cultural landscape. All members engage in hand harvest with zero use of herbicides or pesticides. The “STK” on the capsule or label serves as a seal of quality for the Styrian wine inside, and is a protected brand of the Frauwallner, Gross, Lackner-Tinnacher, Wolfgang Maitz, Neumeister, Erich & Walter Polz, Erwin Sabathi, Hannes Sabathi, Sattlerhof, Tement, Winkler-Hermaden and Wohlmuth estates. This symbol is reserved strictly for wines that comply with the defined rules and quality strictures of the Steirische Terroir- und Klassikweingüter, which go significantly beyond the official legal requirements.