Steve was introduced to Gerhard Pittnauer of Pittnauer Wines through their mutual friend and agent Patrick Walsh. Pittnauer Wines is based in the cool climate Austrian region of Burgenland along the eastern border with Hungary.
Steve had tasted the biodynamic Pittnauer Wines, and he found them to be bright, generous and authentic with a clear sense of place. Soon after, while Gerhard was visiting Australia for a wine exhibition they were introduced. Steve was in the process of certifying our Granton Estate to biodynamics and they found they had an immediate connection and shared similar environmental philosophies.
Steve was impressed by Pittnauer’s approach to organics, natural and unrestricted overall feel of their winemaking philosophy. Wine can be made using a scientific approach, made with numbers and equations to a formula. Whereas artistic wine styles are usually made by impression, touch and intuition, i.e. understanding the seasonal effects and leading with those rather than trying to insert a square peg into a round hole.
Not long after their initial meeting Steve travelled to Austria and undertook a sabbatical at the Pittnauer Estate. Here he witnessed a confident winemaker flowing with the vintage. Steve, a fifth generation winemaker, who trained at Roseworthy Agricultural College was looking to pare back a little of his mostly technical and academic approach to include a more empathetic methodology. He found that assurance through his experience at Pittnauer.
During Steve’s visit to Austria he also had the opportunity to taste the grape varieties in their environment and assess their suitability to our vineyard at Granton in the Derwent Valley. Steve decided that the two most suited Austrian varieties for our Granton Estate were Blaufränckisch and Grüner Veltliner and so planted a small plot of each. Many of you would have already tasted our Grüner Veltliner, that edges closely to a Pinot Gris and Riesling in style. Our Buon Gusto Club has already had the first taste of our Blaufränkisch and now we are excited to share this new release with you all.
Good friend and wine writer, Jane Faulkner, published an article on Steve Lubiana and Gerhard Pittnauer's relationship and complimentry wine making styles, which with her permission we have included below.