A Taste of Austrian Terroir and Music
An Interview with Ferdinand Mayr, Winemaker of Ferdinand Mayr-Signature Wines
Can you explain and introduce Ferdinand Mayr-Signature Wines? Is it about a wine brand or wine company?
Ferdinand Mayr：It´s both, as I have my own vineyards of course where I do my high end production and under my name we sell some other Austrian wines made by myself too. But this is a négociant concept like in Burgundy. Own vineyards + buying grapes.
As a musician, what made you interested in wine? When and why did you decide to engage in wine business and make your own wines?
Ferdinand Mayr：I was almost “born” at the Austrian wineacademie where I got this strong interest in wines.
After finishing my diploma at Austrian wineacademie I tried to become a Master of wine ( I am not) and finally ended up as a winemaker. Still I am lecturing at Austrian wineacademie for years now and was awarded two times as lecturer of the year.
Why do you choose the vineyards from Kremstal DAC? It’s your own vineyard, right? Could you introduce the unique terroir of Kremstal DAC?
Ferdinand Mayr：The terroir of the Northern Kremsvalley is absolutely the same as in our famous neighbouring region Wachau. Steep terrasses, hard bedrock, Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
The rest of the so called Kremsvalley is completely different and should not be part of our area.
So sorry, but there is no unique terroir in Kremsvalley as there is no unique terroir in Rioja or Bordeaux.
But the Norther Kremsvalley where the river of Krems gave the name is one of the most beautiful and best places in Austria to grow vines. You have to visit once in your life!
Now as a winemaker, how do you understand wine making? What do you think the common parts between wine and music?
Ferdinand Mayr：It´s about precision and intuition. Precision it´s critical in the vineyards and cellar as well as in music.
I am surprised to hear that the export volume of your signature wine is one million bottles. How many hectares of vineyard do you cooperate with? How many wines do you have made from now?
Ferdinand Mayr：Yes, it´s became quite big but its divided. High end production done by myself from my steep terrasses is extremely small but my négociant business is growing.
We try to make better wines but always reasonable priced therefore the intern. markets like to sell my wines.
Excellent value, realiability and quality that´s key and more and more distributors believe in my concept and the quality.
I liked the first Gruner Veltliner in the wine tasting, which I think is the feature and advantage of Austrian wines. The second wine I can learn your experimenting of different styles of Gruner Veltliner. Do you think it is the best card for Austrian wine?
Ferdinand Mayr：Yes, and I agree. Fruit driven wines like my first Grüner is what customers want to get. So first and foremost I understand Grüner as a perfect wine for every day, not too heavy and fruit driven. But the greatness of this variety is the diversity it can bring in terms of style.
So we should play this card of fruit driven Grüner first but secondly there is great potential with our red indigenous varieties Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt. Always pleasant, fresh fruit and not too tannic.
Do you think the Cuvee Red Rerseve we have tasted is your representative? It and 8 notes all are blends, What do you think is the biggest difference between those two?
Ferdinand Mayr：My Reserve is more full bodied and more tannic and the 8 notes is rounder.
And yes, I thing the blend is always better than just 100% single variety or 100% single vineyard.
I am more convinced about the Bordeaux concept which means blending and the Champagne is doing the same by the way.
But the rest of the wine word is heading into single vineyard wines very often with 100% single variety. So let´s see what the future is about but for me the best results in terms of quality I get it when blending Blaufränkisch with Zweigelt, both are indigenous red varieties and together the show the very best what Austria offers today.
What is your biggest gain in the last 10 years of wine making?
Ferdinand Mayr：Experience as with that I get better and better every year. Technic is important but experience even more.
How do you define or describe your wine in some key words? Can you explain that?
Ferdinand Mayr：Balanced, always good quality, very Austrian as fruit driven and all of my wines carry my “music soul” so my music background can be tasted in my wines.