Erwin Tinhof learned his craft first at the University of Vienna and then at the famous oenology faculty at the University of Montpellier in the south of France. A stint at a number of wineries, including a period at the world-renowned Mas de Daumas Gassac in the Langedoc, followed before he returned to Austria to take control of Weingut Tinhof from his father in 1990. The estate and the making of wine are in his blood and there are eleven generations of winemakers before him to confirm it.
The estate comprises 14 hectares of vines around the town of Eisenstadt in Burgenland, a short drive from the Austro-Hungarian border and one time home of composer Josef Haydn. Close by is the great Neusiedlersee, a large lake, which acts as a climate regulator, warming the spring and autumn and slightly cooling the continental summers. Conditions are excellent for grape growing.
The vines themselves, planted on limestone rich soils, are up to 55 years old and a combination of low yields and a high planting density of 7,000 vines per hectare, leading to more competition among the plants, means high-quality fruit at harvest.
The vineyards are picked by hand to ensure that only the best grapes are used. In terms of red grapes the focus is entirely on indigenous varieties blaufränkisch and Saint-Laurent together with the result of a crossing of the two, the juicy, berry-fruited zweigelt.