The History of the development of the Umathum wine business
THE HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UMATHUM WINE BUSINESS
The present area of land under vine cultivation is 33 hectars, with some further 10 hectars under contract arrangements. The proportion of red wine produced is roughly 85 %, dry white wines 14 %, and sweet wines 1 %. Private clients take up to 20 % of sales direct from the vineyard. The restaurant trade and specialist dealers are important partners.
Twelve people are employed throughout the year, with additional help being recruited for foliage treatment and harvest.
Extension of our exhibition/display rooms and extension of our bottle store. Repeated winning of the Decanter Sweet Wine Trophy in London.
The wine “Lindenblättriger”, an ancient central European grape variety was presented, and thereby a historic grape variety reintroduced into the region of the Burgenland.
First certification by the International Food Standard (IFS/ISO-norm).
Membership of the Demeter Bio association.
Conversion to bio dynamic agriculture and reentry into cattle farming, beginning with the purchase of two Graurinder cows.
First use of glass stoppers in the vineyard, and the first red wine in the world to be so sealed. Individual vineyards converted to biodynamic ways of operating.
Errection of a storage room for bottles and barrique barrels, and of a spacious tasting room in the Umathum vineyard in Frauenkirchen.
Founding of the wine-bottle-project “Zantho”, a joint venture between Josef Umathum, Wolfgang Peck and the Wine Grower’s Cooperative from Andau with the aim of producing improved quality wines in bigger quantities, primarily for export. Production centre for this new line of wines is Andau.
Winning the Decanter Sweet Wine Trophy in London.
Purchase of wine planted grounds from the Count Harrach’ischen vineyard in Jois: 6 hectars. These vine plantings are historic, and were part of the Ungarisch-Altenburg estate. Since the early Middle Ages this had been owned by the kings of Hangary. First recorded mention 1214. Restoration of the mediaeval terracing and new planting. Further contentration of the local grape varieties Zweigelt, Sankt Laurent and Blaufränkisch.
A sharing of wine know-how with other grape suppliers. These would receive payment based on area – a revolutionary step for the region.
Burgundy Style Trophy in London. The highest award for an Austrian red wine ever achieved.
Building of the sandstone vault cellar. Trophée Gourmet award.
Falstaff vintner of the year.
Total specialisation in wine cultivation, above all on local varieties. Leasing of stretches of meadowland. Marketing to private customers, restaurant, export customers and, for the first time, wine dealers in west Austria. Start of cooperative working with Andrä Vergeiner in Lienz. Start of large-scale investment in cellaring. Expanison of vine planted areas.
The younger son, Josef Umathum (HAK finals and geography studies commenced) decided to devote himself to the further direction of the business. He completed a one-year course in viniculture and cellaring and extended his theoretical knowledge with placements in France and Germany at renowned vineyard firms. The firm’s founder took over the wine growing, whilst the son specialised in the cellaring. For the first time the complete harvest could be marketed in bottles.
The intended successor to taking over the firm (the eldest son) unexpectedly left the firm.
This resulted in a period of uncertainty. No investments could be planned.
All cattle farming ceased. Specialisation in dry wines.
The dwellinghouse furnished, and rooms let to holidaymakers. Further development of direct marketing.
Wine growing stepped up. Beginning of botteling on the premises, and direct marketing. The vine-planted area increased to 6.5 hectars. The first red wine planted (Zweigelt). Production of noble sweet wines. The total area of land devoted to productive agriculture amounts to 15 hectars, with a further 10 hectars leased. As well as the cattle farming, poultry fattening started, with direct marketing.
The vine-planted area extended to 2.3 hectares. For the planting out, quality grape varieties chosen. Succesful marketing of the grapes to the dealers and vintner association. For 1 kilogram of grapes 10 – 30 cents paid. Grain was sold to the wholesalers. Start of the cattle farming with beef fattening. Only for the harvest was labour outside the family taken on.
3 hectares of agriculturally useful land purchased.
Planting of the first vineyard on 1.3 hectares.
The undertaking founded by Elizabeth and Johann Umathum. Extension of the area under cultivation and intensive soil utilisation placed in the forefront. The centre of gravity for production lies in sugar beet and grain sowing. The area of agriculturally useful land amounts to 6 hectares. The total start-up capital – 7.300 Euro. Living and commercial buildings errected. The undertaking developed without open demand! No part of the old “strip farming” system!