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Portrait Axel Stiegelmar - Winery Juris / Austria

Axel Stiegelmar

1. Tesi: Dear Axel, you are the owner of Chateau Juris in Austria. Can you tell me more about your daily business as well as the challenges associated with running the chateau and your wine?

Axel: Over the last twenty years, the wine landscape has changed enormously. Respect for nature, regionality, and reduction in profits are just a few buzzwords which create an environment where great wines can emerge.

My goal was always to make Juris' wines internationally recognised. Austria is a small country and you quickly reach its borders. My father continues to sell his wines to private customers. Today, Austria is still our largest market, but we also export around 40% of our production to more than 20 countries worldwide. This is achieved not only with a spirit of time, but also with sustainable principles. We cannot however use all channels as we are too small and do not make enough wine. It is also unnecessary, I limit sales to those contacts who come to us.

Juris' wines are 80% red and 20% white or sweet wines. The Burgundian varieties such as Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, Pinot Grey, and Chardonnay have always been our most valuable varieties. Here we work with vines which have been cultivated by the family for generations; over 100 years. Climate change is also becoming an important influence. The Massale Selection goes to less mature types of Pinot Noir to promote more freshness and structure in the wine. These are key ingredients as they are sustainable and create the basis for exceptional wines.

2. Tesi: Most people associate wine from Austria with sweet white wine. Is this a misjudgement? Which other wine does Austria offer?

Axel: Austria is an ancient wine-growing region. Sweet wine is just one of the precious gems which shine in the Austrian wine-growing world. White wines such as Grüner Veltliner, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, and red wines like Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt, find their way into the world. Not only the wines but also the vines find their recognition. My son Gregor, currently works in Marlborough NZ, where he is as an assistant winemaker, responsible for Grüner Veltliner.

3. Tesi: Thinking back there must be one moment in your history where you enjoyed an outstanding wine for the first time. Do you still remember this special moment and which wine did you enjoy?

Axel: I have enjoyed many great wines and it is not always big labels which offer a great experience for a winegrower. Also, younger adults cannot always distinguish between good and bad. There are milestones you come to, which open your eyes. I have already surpassed many milestones and I hope they were not my last. The wines of Canon La Gaffeliere, La Mondotte in Bordeaux, or the wines of Robert Mondavi in the 90s. Today I am particularly inspired by Burgundy wines, the wines of Armand Rousseau. Just recently, I enjoyed a Clos St. Jacques 1999

4. Tesi: What was the best year for Chateau Juris and what made this year so special?

Axel: The best year was 2015. Like 2011, it was balanced by the vegetation process and delivered us a dry mild autumn. The vines did not suffer from drought and could store many minerals. At the same time, it did not become over-mature. These wines are very well structured and show excitement.

5. Tesi: What does good food and good wine mean to you?

Axel: The way wine and food is appreciated is a measure of the level of a society. Of course, not in the form of luxury or gluttony, but the conscious enjoyment of the wonderful wines in all their variety and the regional, non-industrially produced food.

Thank you
Matthias Tesi Baur

About Axel Stiegelmar:

Born in 1968 - graduated from Klosterneuburg wine school in 1987 - internships in Austria, Germany, Bordeaux at Ch. Canon La Gaffeliere, and California. Robert Mondavi / Opus One. Took over family winery, foundation Winery JURIS in 1995.

Contact: office@juris.at

Awards: Happily married!

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