PETER WETZER

The fact that Peter Wetzer makes any wine at all is a little astonishing. Firstly, he is located in Sopron, a small region on Hungary’s boarder with Austria. His absolutely tiny cellar (if you can even call it that) is in the basement of his family house, in a suburb; shockingly, it’s more complete than his newly obtained cellar, several stories under a house built in the 1700s that looked more like a demolition zone than a winery.

We met him at his home and proceeded to climb into his truck in which he took us places I never imagined vehicles could access. We visited some of the microscopic plots he now farms, many of which are surrounded by nothing at all. The Pannonian wind knocked us around almost the entire time – despite the intensity of the sun it was a little brisk. From extinct volcanoes, to near-cliffs that gaze out over Austria’s Neusiedlersee, his terroirs are incredibly unique. He fights tooth and nail to acquire these little chunks of land from unwilling old farmers stuck in their agricultural habits. He farms organically, usually only spraying copper, sulphur, and nettle tea twice a year, and using cover crops instead of fertilizer. All this work is done manually; luckily, Peter is no small man.

His determination is bordering on insanity, but after seeing the sites he’s trying to replant, learning about the history of the town and the region, and tasting the wines, we understand how he keeps going. To fund this little project, he works a couple days each week at a gas station – who said winemaking is glamorous?! With only a couple stainless steel tanks, a manual basket press, and some old barrels, he pushes onwards.

SOMLO FURMINT

The grapes for this cuvée come from the eastern side of the Somló volcano. Soils here are Basalt, Tuffeau, and Loam as one might expect. The grapes are crushed by foot and then whole cluster pressed in an ancient and tiny hand cranked basket-press. The wine then ferments in neutral puncheon over the fall and winter. Once the wine is dry it gets racked into stainless steel for five months. A small amount of Sulphur is added at bottling.

(70 Cases Produced) 797087

KEKFRANKOS

VThis wine is made from parcels all around the ancient town of Sopron on the Austrian border. The vines are all well over thirty years old and are planted on a variety of soils including schist, loam, limestone and loess. The grapes are fermented in open top wooden vats with 5% remaining whole-clusters. It then ages in old neutral barrels on lees without stirring.

(420 Cases Produced) 797085

SILBERBERG KEKFRANKOS

This is one of the most spectacular vineyards I’ve ever seen: Silberberg really is a Silver Mountain. Sadly, it is sparsely planted anymore, most grape growers long abandoned the steep low-yielding hill in favor of flatter, easier to farm sites. The vines that are still there are well over fifty years old and have their roots deep in schist and quartz. Higher density plantings keep yields perfectly in check. The wine is fermented in open-top wooden vats with 5% whole-clusters. After being pressed off the wine ages in neutral barrels until the following summer.

(70 Cases Produced) 797088

PINOT NOIR

Two vineyards in Sopron are used for this cuvée. Krafter features thirty-five-year-old vines planted on limestone. Kogl has forty-five-year-old vines planted on iron rich schist. Each vineyard has its own clonal selection, but sadly that information has been lost. Each vineyard contributes equal quantity to the final wine. The wine was fermented in open-top wooden vats with a third of the grapes as whole-clusters. After three weeks on the skins the wine is pressed off into barrel until it is racked for bottling the next year.

(85 Cases Produced) 797086