Visiting Austria’s Female Winemakers

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Vinodea is Austria’s female-only wine shop. Read on to learn about amazing Austrian women winemakers. When in Vienna, stop by to sample exceptional Austrian wines, including Grüner Veltliner.

Before I travel abroad, I research popular grape varietals, create a plan to sample local wines, and meet those in the wine industry. In Vienna, the shop Vinodea—which means ‘wine of the goddesses’—profiles 40 women winemakers, spinning a supportive network across Austria. Owner Madlaina Dosch knows each winemaker personally.

Vinodea Tasting Room in Austria featuring Austria's female winemakers.

Vinodea Tasting Room. Photo courtesy 8districtphotographer

The shop exudes warmth with its cream-colored walls and matching tiled floor, large, covered tables and wooden chairs for tastings, and light wood shelving, holding the wines and photos of the winemakers. During my visit to Vienna in September, I interviewed Dosch and sampled some Grüner Veltliner, the signature Austrian grape. I noted the distinct flavors of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and green pepper. I am always curious about the stories of the people behind the wines, so I reached out to three of Austria’s female winemakers to learn more.

Andrea Schenter is One of Austria’s Female Wine Makers

Andrea Schenter acquired her first vineyards in 2017, north of the city of Krems, near the ruins of Senftenberg Castle. Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), the largest wine region in Austria, has three different microclimates that produce aromatic white wines, fruit-forward red wines, and dessert wines.

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Andrea Schenter, on of Austria's female winemakers.

Andrea Schenter. Photo courtesy

The mainly white wines benefit from rocky soils, variations between day and night temperatures, cool breezes, and warm winds. The result is exceptional, Austrian-style wines—grüner veltliner, riesling, and the older varietal Zweigelt.

According to Schenter, “The exciting thing about it is it’s still nature that we (fortunately) can’t regulate or influence, with its weather conditions that make every year unique and special and gives us new challenges every day. But it is these challenges that make it particularly exciting.”

Schenter also nurtures an old indigenous varietal called Neuburger. “When we bought our first vineyards, we encountered the autochthonous variety Neuburger, which unfortunately is given less attention. It makes a very nice pairing with Austrian cuisine, and we put a little focus on it by storing it in small used oak barrels, which underline its nutty flavor,” she says.

Winemaking for Schenter is a family affair. “We are a real family business, and in the peak period, it’s great to know that the whole family (parents, parents-in-law, aunts, and uncles) all work together. Winemaking is not an easy job for men or women. The more helping hands, the better!”

Michaela Riedmüller Wine

Michaela Riedmüller grew up ‘between the vines’ and took over her parents’ winery at age 19 in the Niederösterreich Region in Carnuntum, next to the Slovakian Border. The vineyards rest in the foothills of the Small Carpathians, stretching south of the Danube and east of Vienna.

“Most of our vineyards are older than 35 years. I would say the most important task I can do is to try my best for my vines.”

Michaela Riedmüller one of Austria's female winemakers.

Michaela Riedmüller. Photo courtesy Christina Leurer

Riedmüller appreciates the hard work of her parents to establish the vineyards. “In the beginning, what my parents did looked easy. Over the years, I became more and more aware of what my parents had built up and what a great opportunity they offered me. The biggest step is to take yourself back and trust nature. In agriculture, we are dependent on what mother nature offers us; it is insane.”

She studied enology and earned a master’s degree in international wine marketing. She is interested in sustainability, environmental awareness, and biodynamics and continues to learn. “I am so passionate about the whole process of winemaking. At the moment, I am taking courses on pruning with Simonit & Sirch to learn more about the vitality of the vines, to keep them alive for a long time,” she says.

Petra Unger Wine

Petra Unger’s 11 hectares (about 27 acres) of vineyards lie along the sides of the Danube River in the Kremstal, also in the Niederösterreich wine region. The warm air of the Pannonian Plain and the temperature-moderating effect of the Danube River work to create fresh white wines in the main varieties grüner veltliner, riesling, and sauvignon blanc, and stellar red wines such as pinot noir and Zweigelt.

Petra Unger.

Petra Unger. Photo courtesy Sabine Jackson

As Unger says, “Nature provides us with wonderful conditions for producing elegant wines full of character.  You learn to be appreciative and respectful of the treasure that is given to us, and to interact with care, not only in viticulture but also in how we handle vinification, where the motto ‘less is more’ is very important to me.”

“It is my passion to bring the unique character of the region, of every single site, and to let it unfold in the glass. I want to produce wines with personality, complex, and with clear fruit, which encourages you to take another sip,” says Unger. She says that the keys to her success come from handwork, respectful treatment of nature, and also the members of the team.

The winery is certified sustainable and is in its third year of organic certification, which will be reflected beginning with the 2023 vintage.

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A trip to Vinodea allows you to experience the best women-made wines in Austria all in one location. You can also venture into the countryside and eat at a heuriger or wine tavern to enjoy the best in Austrian wine and food. When planning your next wine-country trip—whether it’s to Austria, Germany, or Italy—let Wander with Wonder be your guide. Your next adventure is right around the corner.

Vinodea is Vienna's female-only wine shop. Read on to learn about amazing Austrian women winemakers. When in Vienna, stop by to sample exceptional Austrian wines, including Grüner Veltliner. 


Visiting Austria’s Female Winemakers

Written by Merle Rosenstein

Merle Rosenstein is a freelance travel, food, and beverage writer with a LEVEL 2 Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) diploma. She has written for Quench, Canadian Traveller, and the IWA Wine Blog.

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