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Kärnten / Carinthia, Austria

Alexander Egger began his winery as a “Hobby”. A former professional hockey player, and a practicing electrical engineer, Alex and his wife Petra farm 4.5 hectares on the steep slopes below the Sternberg Castle in Kärnten, very near to the moderating influences of the Wörthersee.

Though Kärnten is a notoriously wet climate, and therefore prone to mildew and other vineyard challenges, Alex is committed to farming his vineyards organically and biodynamically. In fact, he has extended this commitment to his winery, where he designed and built his cellar on the principles of Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamics.

The combined cellar and tasting room is a stunning cathedral, circular in structure with an overhead oculus to invite the Sun’s light to activate the suspended crystal and fermenting wine below. The wines themselves are fermented in a combination of barrels and amphorae, which are the dominant feature in the space.

The amphorae are host to his natural, skin-contact wines, with macerations up to six months. The resulting wines are heavily extracted but angular and balanced, and consistently well-crafted. Since his first vintage in 2009, Alex has been focused on creating small lots of wine of exceptional quality, ensuring that his days of winemaking as a hobby are numbered.

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