A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA

Hello and thank you for stopping in today for a visit to the oldest winery in Austria: Nikolaihof.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We visited this beautiful and ancient winery as a shore excursion on our Uniworld Riverboat Cruise down the Danube River. You may recall I took you on a tour of our magnificent ship, the S.S. Maria Theresa, in this post.

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

SUNDAYS WITH CELIA VOL 15 | SS Maria Theresa | Uniworld River Cruises | Enchanting Danube | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We began our cruise in Budapest, Hungary and continued to our first port of call, Bratislava, Slovenia, where I took you on a tour of this lovely old town.

VISITING BRATISLAVA SLOVAKIA | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Today our port of call is Dürnstein, Austria which is situated in the magnificent, UNESCO World Heritage Wachau Valley in Austria. From Dürnstein we disembarked our ship and took a short bus ride for a visit to the oldest winery in Austria: Nikolaihof .

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Stepping inside the old wooden gates felt like stepping back in time. In fact, the foundation of the Nikolaihof Winery dates back almost 2,000 years to 63 AD! Literally steeped in history, it has also become one of the Wachau Valley’s most renowned estates.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There was something pretty to see at every turn. The beauty of the white flowers and green vegetation, set against ancient stones was enchanting.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The centerpiece of the splendid inner courtyard is a magnificent 100-year-old Linden tree, under which tables were set for our group to enjoy a wine tasting.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We were greeted by matriarch, Christine Saahs, who accompanied us on the tour of her family’s winery. The Saahs family acquired the estate in 1894 and have been its proprietors ever since.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Winery Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The estate actually has holy origins. Also situated in the inner courtyard is the Agapitus Chapel, which was built in the 11th & 12th centuries on the foundation of a Roman Basilica.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

From here we entered the ancient cellars where an array of the estate’s wines were on display, along with many tools of the trade.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Nikolaihof Winery has the distinction of being the first biodynamic wine estate in Europe. This farming principle means that nature is left to its own devices as much as possible. No pesticides or fertilizers are used in the vineyards, which are regulated by a strict control system overseen by the Demeter Association.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Nikolaihof cultivates primarily Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Neuburger grapes on old vines that are 40 to 50 years old. In 2014, David Schildknecht gave 100 points to Nikolaihof’s 1995 Riesling Vinothek. This was the first time an Austrian wine had ever scored a perfect 100 with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition to award-winning wines, other delicacies are produced such as schnapps and liqueurs.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A 350-year-old “beam” grape press is on display.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Descending an atmospheric stone staircase we arrived in the historic wine cellars that date back to Roman times when it was used as a Roman crypt.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Here the wine is stored, in some cases up to 20 years, in these old Austrian casks that contain between 2,000 to 12,000 liters of wine.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Beautifully carved oak barrels are dedicated to each of the Saahs family members. The latest generation of Saahs have taken over much of the operation today.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Son Martin has expanded the operation to include a line of skincare products, made with grapeseed oil which is apparently high in antioxidants.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

One barrel is even dedicated to Saint Severin of Cologne, who retired to this spot some 1,500 years ago.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Concluding the tour of the wine cellars we headed back up the dimly lit stone staircase where we visited the small shop and restaurant.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In addition to being a dynamic one-woman sales force, matriarch Christine Saahs also runs the Nikolaihof Wine Tavern. Here she serves up what I’m told are delicious meals prepared from certified organic ingredients, much of which are also cultivated on the 50 acre farm. You can purchase her Wachau Cookbook here, written in English, and containing recipes for classic Austrian dishes. She is one very talented lady!

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Daughter Elizabeth runs the nearby family Guesthouse, where visitors can spend a night or two exploring one of the most beautiful river landscapes in all of Europe.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Winery Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I wish we had had more time to perhaps enjoy a night at the Guesthouse and dine at this very atmospheric restaurant.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Nikolaihof Winery can also be engaged as a venue for weddings and parties of all sizes. I wish it were in my area, as I can imagine hosting a wonderful celebration here.

A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA | Nikolaihof Wachau | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

If you’re planning a trip to Austria this is a spot not to be missed.  Here’s where you can find them…

Nikolaihof Wachau
Familie Saahs
Nikolaigasse 3
3512 Mautern, Wachau
Austria
T +43 2732 829 01
wein(at)nikolaihof.at

If you’d like to plan a wonderful European vacation, contact my valued travel agent, Lori Seeley, who helped us make this trip an amazing one. Phone: 941-312-2584

So there you have it: A VISIT TO THE OLDEST WINERY IN AUSTRIA

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. 

Comments

  • I love tours like this because it always heightens my appreciation for a particular place or product by learning a bit of history and seeing the efforts and labors of love put into something. Thanks for sharing your lovely trip with us.