cooperative has about 120 "official" members, and
they manage about 300 hectares of vineyards. The harvest is
delivered exclusively to the cooperative.
last 20 years have seen some major changes in the way vineyards
are managed: The harvested volume per hectare has been reduced
to an average of 8,500 kg. About 1/10 of the vineyards are
subject to what is known as the "8-grape program",
which is used to reduce yield to between 4,000 and a maximum
of 5,000 kilograms per hectare. Forty-five wine-growers have
agreed to participate in this quality initiative. Their vineyards,
which must be at least 30 years old and situated in the best
locations ("Grosslage Hochberg"), are checked and
monitored all year round. While the other farmers receive
a price per kilogram (based on Oechsle gradations), those
that have joined the 8-grape program will receive a fixed
price per hectare for their additional expenses. Their grapes
represent the basis for the highest category of quality within
the program of Neckenmarkt Wineries.
more than 60% of the vineyards, Blaufränkisch is by far
the most important variety of the company, and also the lead
variety for the entire wine-growing region. Almost a third
of all the locations are planted with Zweigelt. Other red-wine
varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot
Noir are in the 5% range..
grapes need to be delivered unmixed and will then be sorted
according to quality and location. The
gradation will also be measure, because the grape price is
connected to the gradation. This way, members have an incentive
to allow their grapes to ripen more.
The vinification facilities allow for gentle processing (e.g.,
grapes are removed from stalks very slowly). Fermentation,
depending on the type of wine, lasts from one to three weeks.
Wines are fermented in stainless-steel tanks with temperature
controls. Then, the juice run-off is filled into barrels.
The remaining fermentation heat is used to biologically
reduce the acid content, which renders red wines smooth and
low in acid. Subsequently, the wines are gently racked in
order to achieve early clarification.
storage capacities of Neckenmarkt Wineries amount to 6 million
litres. The best quality is achieved by means of wood barrels
made of French oak (Allier). The first wines to be aged using
the barrel method were vinified in 1986.