Heimo's great-grandparents owned vineyards in lower Styria before the First World War and operated a restaurant in Austria. His grandfather from his father's side was a copper smith and designed and manufactured distillers for the production of Grappa.
Viticulture and winemaking have a long history in Austria and the former crown lands of the monarchy.
Soil types include sandstone, shale, clay and shelly limestone. A combination of warm days and cool nights provide a long growing season, resulting in crisp, aromatic and full-bodied wines.
The warm humid climate and steep hills make this one of the toughest places in Austria to be a viticulturist.
Austria and Slovenia are small countries but the people are wine lovers (Slovenia had the sixth and Austria the eighth highest wine consumption per capita in the world).
Austria, like Slovenia, is a member of the European Union, borders with the Czech Republic and Germany in the North, Slovakia and Hungary in the East, Slovenia and Italy in the South and Switzerland and Liechtenstein in the West.
Styria is one of the 9 federated states of Austria in the South Eastern part of the country and shares its Southern border with Slovenia.
Slovenian Styria (Slovenska Štajerska) is a traditional region in northeastern Slovenia, comprising the southern third of the former Duchy of Styria. The population of Slovenian Styria in its historical boundaries amounts to around 705,000 inhabitants, or 34.5% of the population of Slovenia. The largest city is Maribor.
Note: The red sign marks the location of the vineyards owned by Heimo’s great grand-parents.
The capital of Styria is Graz, which is located 46km away from the Slovenian border (60km from Maribor), 75km from the Hungarian border and, 180 km from the Italian border.
In the current territory of Austria and Slovenia, the Celts were the first to begin producing wine, about 4000 years ago, in the region of Traisental.
In those days wine was kept in oak barrels, wrapped with iron strips. The winemaking methods of the Celts rapidly disappeared with the arrival of the Romans in the first century A.D. The Romans expanded wine production and had their own methods of archiving and maturing wine in pottery.
Some wine brokers had been adulterating their wines with di-ethylene glycol and almost destroyed the country’s wine market in 1985. The government was forced to introduce new and stronger laws for bulk wines. The viticulturists and wine makers accepted the challenge and decided to concentrate on high quality wines only.
Extremely good climate conditions, along with the dedication and efforts of wine makers led to Austrian wines reaching and remaining at the top worldwide a couple of decades ago.
The fact that family businesses deal with winemaking is certainly a Styrian peculiarity; naturally they have relatively small production.