For the two, natural winemaking was the only choice – Eduard’s parents formerly working as conventional winemakers in Styria and Stephanie’s family owning and operating Michelin starred restaurant Taubenkobel. What was important to the two was that they didn’t change the vineyard but rather discover its natural potential without fertiliser, pesticides, or other chemicals. Now, green grass permanently lives on top of all 15 hectares, with cow manure and compost key to a gentle, slow and sustainable approach.
Although mostly blends of 6 native grapes: Blaufrankish, Zweigelt Grüner Veltliner, Welchriesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), and Gewurtzraminer, the Tscheppes actually emphasises doing away with conventional notions of terroir or grape varieties. Stephanie says that after finding their first release teeming with liveliness and personality, they searched “for a way to describe the wines that everybody could follow, regardless of their ability to smell and taste and name the aromas and the mouthfeel properly,” and hence the creation of the iconic wine family tree. Although the drawn illustrations by friend Jung von Matt are nothing short of remarkable, the wines aren’t just pretty faces with each bottling having its own story.
The youngest generation of the family both metaphorically and literally, Atanasius, Theodora, and Winifred, are grown in gravel with a little limestone, and are described as “youthful, energetic, self-confident, open-minded wine.” The middle generation, Joschuari, Emmeram, Timotheus, and Josephine, are riper with more body and power coming from limestone and schist vineyards with a little more sun exposure. The grandparents, Mechtild and Bertholdi, come from their oldest vines and are the most traditional of the family. There’s also a maskerade collection which are mystery blends using grapes from vineyards under conversion to biodynamics.
There’s almost a cult following for these. Limited quantities with biodynamically grown grapes and minimal intervention winemaking, iconic labels that could almost pass as gallery and a complex drinking experience with a few delightful twists means that they’re always gone in a blink of an eye.
We’re pleased to stock Theodora and Winifred, as well as a couple of Theodora magnums so all your friends and family can have a taste (and a picture of course) of an icon of natural wine.
“Wiltrude’s daughter. A pert but likeable young lady, who takes everyone’s heart by storm with her cheerful and animate manner. She is attractive like her mother and at the same time both impudent and elegant. The prankster at the vineyard Oggau, she is nonetheless most reliable and steady. She has a particularly close relationship with her beloved grandmother Mechtild and her favourite uncle Emmeram.”
“The daughter from Timotheus’s first marriage, which ended suddenly when his wife disappeared mysteriously over night. Just like her cousins, Winifred has a winning and open personality, is sociable, and of a cheerful disposition. Upon a first encounter she can appear to be somewhat shy and reticent, but those that make her acquaintance remember her as a unique, refreshing and charming young lady with an inquisitive mind.”