2,000 years of living history and tradition
Nikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria, whose history goes back almost 2000 years to Roman times. In the walls of Nikolaihof can be found remains of the early Christian Agapit basilica in which Bishop Pilgrim of Passau held a synod in 985 A.D. In 1075 the former ‘Freihof' was referred to in a document as the central administrative seat of the Passau monastery of St Nikola; the present-day chapel was established by the Augustinian canons of this monastery.
Wine has been produced here since the time of the Celts. The first documentary evidence of this dates from around 470 A.D. in the time of St Severin and the Romans.
First Documentary Reference
Wine has been made in the Wachau since the time of the Celts. The first documentary reference comes from the time of St Severin and the Romans about 470 A.D.
The Oldest Wine Estate in Austria
Nikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria; its history stretches back almost 2000 years to Roman times. Remains can be found in the outer walls of Nikolaihof of the early Christian Agapit basilica, in which a synod took place in 985 A.D. with the authority of Bishop Pilgrim of Passau.
St. Nikola Monastery
In 1075 the former ‘Freihof' was first referred to in a document as the central administrative seat of the Passau monastery of St Nikola. The present –day chapel was erected by the Augustinian canons of this monastery.
A walk round the estate is like a trip back through history. Nikolaihof, referred to in a document back in 1075 as the central administrative seat of the St Nikola monastery of Passau, may well be Austria's oldest wine estate. Whether it is in fact so makes no difference to the lady of the house: ‘The fact is that, here in our home in Mautern, since Roman times and possibly even earlier, wine has been made. In addition, Nikolaihof has been through all the centuries a centre of political power, and later, more importantly, a religious and spiritual centre. So it was that the monastery of Gottweig was founded from our chapel.
Main Building Features from the 15 th Century
The main elements of the present-day appearance of Nikolaihof date from the fifteenth century, but everywhere one is constantly bumping into remains of the old Roman fortress. Every age has left its traces behind. Today Christine and Nikolaus Saahs receive their guests at receptions and wine tastings under the restored Gothic vaulting of the deconsecrated chapel.
Cellar established in Roman Crypt
The foundations of the house date back to a Roman horseshoe-shaped tower and a fort made of wood and earth, which existed way back in 63 B.C.. The cellar itself was constructed in a Roman crypt, and as the floor level has sunk by about a meter in a thousand years, the ‘year rings' are still clearly visible on the walls.
With almost 2,000 years of history, Nikolaihof is the oldest winery in Austria and one of the first in the world to have begun working by biodynamic principles according to the regulations of the Demeter Association. No herbicides, fertilisers, pesticides, or synthetic sprays are used in the vineyards. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented without artificial yeast and stored in big, oald Austrian oak casks up to 20 years.