In de indrukwekkende abdij Stift Klosterneuburg, niet ver van de Oostenrijkse hoofdstad Wenen, is op 4 november de nieuwe wijn van de oogst van 2014 officieel gezegend door abt en provoost Bernhard Backovsky. De Taufwein, of gezegende wijn, kreeg de naam Samtosha door de ontvangers van de Oostenrijkse Bacchusprijs 2014, voetballer Herbert Prohaska en importeur van Oostenrijkse wijnen in Nederland Regina Meij. De toast met de eerste glazen jonge wijn werd uitgeschonken door de nationale wijnkoningin Tanja I. Meer informatie hieronder, in het Engels.
At the time of the wine blessing, Austrian winemakers had a particularly nerve-wracking and labour intensive vintage behind them. The wet weather in late summer and early fall demanded extensive, time-consuming work in order for clean, healthy and ripe grapes to be harvested. Which is why good quality in the cellars now can be looked forward to.
But only once it is blessed can the wine be officially designated as “wine”. The blessing of Austria’s wine, which is celebrated alternately in the country’s four main generic wine regions, was conducted this year in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), in the abbey of the Augustinian cannons, Stift Klosterneuburg. At the abbey, which marks its 900th anniversary this year, Abbot Primate and Provost Bernhard Backovsky officially blessed the young wine.
Along with the wine blessing was the awarding of the Austrian Bacchus Prize. Wine devotee Herbert Prohaska received the award in the national category, and Regina Meij, a wine seller in the Netherlands, was awarded the prize in the international category for her 20 years of building and supporting Austrian wine sales in that country. Together, Mr. Prohaska and Mrs. Meij bestowed the “Taufwein” – a “Junger Klosterneuburger 2014” blend of Müller Thurgau, Grüner Veltliner and Frühroter Veltliner – with the special name of Samtosha. This is a well-known Sanskrit term used in yoga philosophy, and means contentment, to accept and be satisfied with things as they are.
Herbert Prohaska – Footballer and Wine Lover
As “Austria’s Footballer of the 20th Century”, Herbert Prohaska – one could assume – would likely have an affinity for beer. Far from it. His love is also for wine. His many years as a top international player allowed him to travel far and wide and gain a vast overview of the world’s wines.
During his time with Inter Milan, he discovered the pleasures of Piemonte wines. Back in Austria, he became more and more interested in the domestic quality wines and began to fall in love especially with the reds. He quickly developed many friendships with Austrian winemakers while becoming a popular oenophile in public life. Prohaska also established his living environment in a wine-growing area. He lives with his family in the town of Klosterneuburg and thoroughly enjoys the atmosphere of the local Buschenschank taverns there. Rainer Pariasek, sport moderator for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), gave the honorary speech for Herbert Prohaska.
Regina Meij – Austrian Wine Promoter Par Excellence
Export statistics show that the Netherlands have become the fourth most important export market for Austrian quality wine. Since 2002, the export volume has increased more than tenfold. And the export price has remained at a constantly high level (in 2013, more than 4 euros per litre). Contributing strongly to this impressive growth is the Dutch importer and wineseller, Regina Meij. She discovered her love for Austrian wine in the early 1990s, when she was working as an IT project manager for the Shell Corporation in Vienna. She noticed that her work was fun initially, but “the actual business and the relationship with the product” was missing. Looking for exciting products, she discovered wine and was impressed by the high quality of wines from Austria. In 1994, back in the Netherlands, she founded “Imperial Wijnkoperij”, a wine store specialising solely on Austrian wine. Her colleagues often referred to this step as “brave”, especially because the image of Austrian wine was not really solid yet. “For many years, I was the only importer in the market who tried so hard for Austrian wines,” said Meij about her early days in the wine business. “That was very tough work. No one had seen the potential. But I was totally convinced that I would succeed. I knew that the quality of the wines was great.”
Willi Klinger, in his honorary speech for Regina Meij, said: “In the ’90s, there were some countries with dedicated wine importers doing pioneering work for our wine. Regina Meij is one of them. And she was one of the few who managed to be successful for decades, establishing not only an ongoing distribution, but also the image of Austrian wine in their country.”