After moving into his new winery and cellar in Krems in 2010, Rainer Wess began to acquire new vineyards around the towns of Krems and Stein. Today, he owns or rents 7 hectares of exceptionally old and densely planted vines (6000 per hectare) on the south-facing slopes of this region. Wess has created new Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines from these sites which he calls simply “Krems.”
This cuvée is made from 3 hectares of 25 to 45-year-old vines grown on pure slate soil – ideal for Riesling. The winemaking for the Krems wines is the same as for Wess’s single vineyard bottlings: hand-harvesting and meticulous selection of grapes to ensure that only perfect fruit, without any trace of botrytis, is vinified; and about 5 hours of pre-fermentation maceration with the stems before pressing to attain a maximum of flavor and complexity. Wess prefers a long alcoholic fermentation which is not rushed to finish and no malolactic fermentation. The wines develop over 6 months on their lees, 50% in tanks and 50% in 1200 Liter, neutral oak and acacia casks. Before bottling, the Krems wines are assembled, fined with bentonite clay and lightly filtered. They share superb focus, verve and expressively rich mineral inflected fruit, in the Wess signature style. In a normal harvest year, Wess bottles about 800 cases of Krems Riesling.
About the Producer
Rainer Wess founded his own winery in 2003 after many years of diverse experience in the wine trade in both his native Austria and internationally. Rainer’s goal was to produce Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines that would not only be among the best of the region, but also express his very personal style and philosophy. He aims to produce the purest, freshest and most elegant wines possible, with clear expressions of the varietal and site. In 2010, Wess moved his operations to Krems where he renovated a 300-year-old building that once was the wine cellar of a monastery. His 2010 vintage was the first to be vinified in the new gravity-feed winery. He then began to acquire new vineyards around the towns of Krems and Stein.
Today, he owns or rents 7 hectares of exceptionally old and densely planted vines (6000 per hectare) on the south-facing slopes of this region. Wess has created new Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines from these sites which he calls simply “Krems.” The 2019 vintage saw the launch of Rainer Wess’s field blend, called Gemischter Satz (mixed planting). The pinnacles of the Rainer Wess line are the Grüners and Rieslings from the great Loibenberg and Pfaffenberg vineyards. All benefit from several years of cellaring to bring their power and concentration into harmony. Rainer's daughter Christina joined in 2016.
Climate: Throughout the growing season, cool air descends from the top of the slopes. This moderates the warmth at the bottom of the slope which is further enhanced by sunlight reflecting off the Danube. The interplay of temperatures adds complexity and freshness to the wines.
Farming/vinification practices: in the winter of 2020, Rainer Wess began the 3 years transition period to organic certification. In practice, nothing has changed as he has been working his own vineyards in Krems (many with 50 to 100 year-old vines) organically over the last few years. As harvest approaches, usually early October and running through November, Wess ensures that the grapes have an optimal balance of physiological ripeness and acidity, with no botrytis. As he explains, “my main goal is ripe and healthy fruit which can have extended hang-time on the vine.” The fruit is picked by hand and brought to the winery in small plastic crates. Wess vinifies in small batches to ensure full control over the process and the full, individual expression of each varietal and site. When necessary, he fines with Bentonite clay, and then lightly filters before bottling. The wines are vegan.
Click here: Interview of Christina Wess
Click here: Rainer Wess talks about his winery, vineyards and Grüner Veltliner wines.