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American Dream Wine
The Prager Winery receives
5 Stars & Stripes - Award
5 Stars & Stripes for
Extraordinaire white wines

The Ultimate Award:
Seven Stars and Stripes ™
The Wines of the Prager Vineyard

Inspired by the rich nature of the Wachau and the fortunate spontaneity of our gracious host at Schloss Durnstein, we decided take a break on our inspiring journey through the Wachau with a privileged visit to one of the leading wine producers in Austria, the Prager Vineyard and Winery.

Anton 'Toni' Bodenstein, the congenial winemaker welcomed us to the premises of the vineyard and the old country house above the river Danube. The estate is a warren of terraced beauty from which the verietal makeup is heavily Riesling at 65%, Grüner Veltliner with 25% and 10% Chardonnay. It appears as though the Prager Estate is the fortification that safeguards the lovely village of Weissenkirchen, which is nestled therein.
While being recognized as a leader in Wachau viniculture, one of 'The Rising Stars of the Century' according to the World Gourmet Summit 2001, Bodenstein's goal is to create quality wines of extraordinary harmony and agreeability. Before tasting the jewels of his efforts, he took us directly to where it all begins, into vineyards where we spent the next hour or so traipsing up and down the most charming and ancient cultural historical landscape in Austria.

Bodenstein informed us that while the rest of Austria continues to use the general Germanic wine terms: Kabinet, Spätlese etc., the Wachau has evolved its own nomenclature to designate the hierarchy of its wines. There are three categories: Steinfeder, Federspiel and Smaragd.
Steinfeder is the simplest. The name comes from a grass that grows in the rocks among the vines and these are light wines, for drinking soon after bottling. Next is Federspiel, named after a device used in falconry to lure the hawk back to the glove and these wines need a year or two in bottle before consumption. Finally we have Smaragd, which means both emerald, and an emerald-colored lizard natural to the Wachau of which these wines need time and will keep well.
Rolf and I became even more determined now to learn the secrets of finding the right time to harvest the grapes. We were astonished by Mr. Bodenstein's knowledge of the terrain, its chemical makeup and the influence it has on the quality of the wines.

His nick name in the region "The Terroirist" and there is no doubt about his deep knowledge of the local geology while his skills in introducing us into this complex matter were impressing, too.
Before we knew it we were fast at the heals of Bodenstein as he sped through the acres of vines while he did his work measuring the "Oechsle" level of the grapes. This is the German method of measuring the specific gravity (therefore sugar content), of the must or grape juice prior to harvest and fermentation. It is similar to the brix system used in the United States.

Our education process now intensified as we were invited to visit the cellars of the Prager Winery. Mr. Bodenstein allowed us to taste the different stages of winemaking from the sweet grape juice to the bottled Rieslings and Veltliners. Often referred to as the "jewel of the Wachau", Prager Winery is one of the most recognized producers in the region and has become renowned for noble Rieslings that reflect finesse, delicacy and excellent distinction.
It is the aim of this winemaker and others in the region, to ensure that all grapes used in their production come from recognized vineyards in the Wachau and each wine receive approval from the local Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus a sort of quality control board for Austrian winemakers.

Modern equipment with long family tradition enables The Prager Winery to produce the best wine that the weather and ground conditions allow year after year. While collaborating with the near by university, Bodenstein exchanges his experience with the crème de la crème of wine producers and rating specialists. He has nothing to hide and so much to offer as we have happily found out.
Just take your time when being in the Wachau and consider visiting this outstanding winery to relax with a glass of one of the finest Rieslings we have experienced so far.

  • FEDERSPIEL 2002 Ried Steinriegl
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Hollerin
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Steinriegl
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Kaiserberg
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Achleiten
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Klaus
  • SMARAGD 2002 Wachstum Bodenstein
  • FEDERSPIEL 2002 Ried Hinter der Burg
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Weitenberg
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Achleiten
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Zwerithaler
  • SMARAGD 2002 Ried Achleiten

  • Gr. Veltliner Beerenauslese 1998 0,5l
Servus Austria !

Rolf Stähler & John Lomitola

Editor-in-Chief: Ingrid Lemme

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Although the above information was accurate at the time of publication, it can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all pertinent information with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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