JOISEPH – Jois, Burgenland, Austria
Joiseph is a collaborative project between viticulturists Richard Artner and Alex Kagl, and winemaker Luka Zeichmann, who is only 26 years old. All of the vineyards are near or around the town of Jois, just north of lake Neusiedl in Burgenland – ‘See’ means Lake in German, so Jois-‘see’-ph is sort of a play on words and represents a fictional character.
2015 was the first vintage for Joiseph, and Luka’s first time making wines with all of these varieties (he was 23 at the time). His very first wine was actually made in 2013 when he was 21 from his grandfather’s small Pinot Blanc vineyard – a wine that he is now starting to make again under a separate label (stay tuned!). Luka is still at uni, currently studying agricultural science but has delayed the completion of his degree due to his wine work. His training has been top notch – he did two harvests with Markus Altenburger, and for the last year he has been working full time as Franz Weninger’s vineyard and cellar assistant.
Luka is perhaps one of the most gentle and humble human beings I’ve had the chance to meet. He is so connected to his land, to nature, to his vines… He grew up in Burgenland, his family have always had organic plots, organic orchards (from which they make incredible natural ciders), so farming organically and making wines with the littlest possible intervention has never been a question, it’s a complete way of life for him. He is also part of the local forest preservation society and looks after a specific section of forest. He does not have wi-fi at home, hardly ever uses social media… wise beyond his years. When I told him he should get on Instagram, his reply was ‘sure… but then I need a phone with a camera.’ I think that says it all.
Winemaker: Luka Zeichmann
Region: Jois, Burgenland, Austria
Grapes: 100% Blaufränkisch
Sulphur: 25 mg/l (total)
Suitable for vegans: Yes
Altitude: under 50m
Total Area Farmed: 1 hectare
Soils: Limestone/ stony topsoil (5-10cm of rocks in upper layer)
Age of vines: 20 years,
Viticulture: Organic (official certification from 2018 vintage)
Vineyards: The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard called ‘Neuberg’ – out of all of Luka’s vineyards this is the closest to Neusiedlersee, the lake straddling the Austria- Hungary border whose climate-moderating influence is key to vinegrowing in the region. It is interesting to note that the particular clone of Blaufränkisch that is prevalent in this vineyard has slightly softer and thinner skins, and hence produces a more approachable, ‘friendlier’ style, though every bit as complex.
Vinification: 1/3 whole bunch, 2/3 destemmed, fermented in steel for 10 days before pressing, no punchdowns, light infusion. In 2016 there was only enough wine to fill one 500L barrel (old), where it spent around 14 months with no racking until just before bottling. Minimal sulphur added prior to bottling. Unfined, unfiltered.
Total production = 660 bottles