„Real Farmer - Real Life - Real Wines“
After our studies - Karl graduated in Agricultural Economics at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna and Eva graduated in Business Administration at the Vienna University of Economics and Business - and after a few years in our former professions we decided to reactivate our parents‘ winery. Before that, we gained the practical knowledge of wine and an expansion of our wine horizons in Burgundy in France along with other stays abroad in 1997 and 1998. In Burgundy, the former love for red wine was awakened even more, especially the love for Pinot Noir. Against the Styrian trend, we decided to plant mainly red wines, Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Pinot Noir.
The Schnabels have always been connected to the earth by winemaking and holding cattle. We have never followed a trend, but the inner programme of being a real farmer and winemaker, and have always produced what the soil has provided in accordance with nature. We are farmers with all our heart and deepest conviction.
Our economic doing at the Ermihof is shaped by the principle that "we are only guests on earth which must be preserved for future generations".
We feel responsible for the piece of earth that has been given to us and see it as an obligation to treat it with the greatest care, to use it and maintain it for the good of all. In our daily activities, this guiding principle is implemented without any “ifs and buts”.
„In our current doing we recognize our inner programme of being a real farmer and are not committed to a contemporary trend, but to our earth, the cultural good of the wine and the wine consumers, in the sense of offering them pure, digestible wine."
The mountain Sausal, arised in the Paleozoic era, is older than the Alps. The soils of the Sausal consist of siliceous primary rock and are without limestone, as the Sausal was never overflooded by the primal sea. From this initial rock slaty soils originated through weathering. Due to the high percentage of rock, the soils are very loose and accumulate heat. Barrenness and steepness with gradients of up to 70% are further characteristics of this hilly landscape. The climate in the Sausal is Illyrian Mediterranean.
Our lively vineyards in the Sausal are biotopes rich in plant and animal diversity. The biodynamic cultivation of the 5 hectares of our vineyards Hochegg, Koregg and Kreuzegg supports our being at one with nature. Due to our personal preferences, the extreme steep slopes of our vineyards are mostly planted with the red varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Pinot Noir. White wine varieties such as Morillon and Rheinriesling can also be found in our vineyards.
Besides watering places and nesting sites also piles of stone for example have also been set up to promote animal biodiversity. The herbs we collect in our vineyards, such as stinging nettle, horsetail and yarrow, are brewed in our kettle with a capacity of 1000 l and used in order to strengthen and protect the plants.
Natural wines require artisanal farming. The grass under the vines is cut with a scythe. Between the rows the grass remains untouched in order to achieve the greatest possible biodiversity in the vineyard. No tractor is used to avoid soil compaction.
Our “Celtic cattle”, an ancient Central European cattle breed, are unique in the Styrian wine-growing countryside. The cattle exploit the lush grass that grows in our region and provide quality natural fertilizer for the soil in our vineyards.
Our Ermihof is a lively farm organism with a vibrant circular economy.
We produce puritanical natural wines without any chemical and technical manipulation. Since 2007 all of our wines have been aged and bottled without the addition of sulfur and are therefore "sulfur-free". As a result our wines can develop to the greatest possible liveliness and vitality.
In the cellar we work artisanally, sensitively and precisely. Open mash fermentation with manual pigeage, no use of mash pumps, rinsing the bottles with spring water, manual filling of the wine in small batches, sealing of the bottles with high quality natural cork. The wines develop and mature in oak barrels.
„In vino nulla veritas in sulfure veritas“
"There is no truth in wine, the truth lies in sulfur"
Sulfur is a preservative. The worse the raw material and the more the wine is manipulated, the more „dead" the wine is and the more preservative agents the wine needs. Our energetic and lively wines do not require any preservatives. Wines without the addition of sulfur are much more open and accessible from the beginning on. The agreeability of such wines is incomparable.