Meinklang is an original, family-run mixed farm. It is located in the middle of the (World Heritage Site) National Park Neusiedlersee, on the Eastern side of the Neusiedlersee Lake, bordering directly on the Hungarian lowlands, where life’s diversity and complexity are celebrated.
Today the farm is run by the three brothers who have inherited it from their parents. Each son has the privilege to focus on the type of work that initially drew their interest to the farm and vineyard: Werner, who spent more of his childhood around the wine press than on playgrounds; Hannes, who had a fascination for tractors since he was a child; and Lukas, who was always drawn towards plants and animals.
Pamhagen lies nestled in a steppe landscape, on a geological line situated at the deepest point of Austria. There is barren land on one side of the village, which was used as pastures long ago and is now ideal for wine. Back then, the region extending from the village in the direction of Hungary stood true to its name “Seewinkel” (lake corner), with its multitude of ponds and marshlands. These were eventually drained through the Einser Channel and the most fertile land was cultivated. This man-made channel leading from Lake Neusiedl (Neusiedlersee) right through to the Raab, became a border river and formed part of the Iron Curtain, which encircled the village and created a secluded life for them over many decades.
It is this border region that the Meinklang family has called home for many generations. The village used to be Hungarian before the First World War, but was later allocated to Austria. A part of the village land remained in Hungary, until communism expropriated it. After the fall of communism and the reopening of the borders, it was Anneliese and Werner Senior’s life’s dream to expand their small 40 ha farm to 100 ha, and to cultivate the Hungarian fields once again.
The view over the border, the opportunities, but also the need to expand the farm sufficiently for three children made the farm grow – it was an endeavour full of risk and enterprise. Today the farm spans over 2000 ha, but Meinklang remains as a multi-faceted, independent and self-sufficient mixed farm run on gut feel and instinct.
This farm functions much like an organism, relying not only on the people but also on the local herd of cows to contribute a natural and invaluable fertiliser. The vineyards are fertilised with compost produced on the farm using sheep, cow and horse manure, pomace, green waste and occasionally also rock dust.
Their aim is to focus on the original meaning of the term “Wein-Garten” (the German word for vineyard, which contains the words “wine” and “garden”) by creating a true garden with fruit, vegetables, vines and herbs. Even stinging nettles and thistles are welcome to grow rampant among the vines – they are important sources of food for many insects.
The farm’s diversity is enriched by ancient grains such as spelt, farro and Einkorn wheat, as well as the fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, meadows of wild herbs and flowers and the elegant charm of the grapevines.
Meinklang chooses not to prune the vines, giving them total freedom to grow and climb according to the vines’ basic instincts and metabolism. The vines regulate their yield themselves, which has led to an above-average amount of grapes ripening as very small berries, resulting in a harvest yield that is smaller than usual.
The significant advantage of this is that the small berries have a higher skin-to-pulp ratio, providing more aroma, extract and complexity in the wine. Since the vineyard looks completely unkempt, it was named “Graupert”– a word from the Burgenland dialect which older people use to describe someone slightly scruffy-looking.