A winemaker walking a new path
At the end of the world
A discovery made in Australia
Now how can that be? Sarina and Hansi travel to the other end of the world and when they come back, they bring along an idea that they won't get out of their heads: gin. Three letters, a long tradition and in the case of Schneeberger not less than 27 botanicals are the ingredients of a recipe for success.
A s a winemaker, my senses have learned to be very sensitive, so I made up my mind which botanicals I would actually like to use. I really like classic gins with loads of juniper that do not taste as if the tonic has already been added. From the very beginning, I wanted to create a premium product – which does not mean that my gin must not change or develop in any way. Quite the opposite is the case: we consider ourselves a batch distillery; every batch is filled separately and of course there may be slight differences between the batches.
Among the botancials we use you can immediately taste juniper, also lavender is easily detectable. After some decent thinking, you will also taste rosemary and citrus fruits. The hops are quite hard to be identified, you also have to be very careful with the amount used in the gin so that it won't get bitter. Seven botanicals are responsible for the overtone, the rest makes our gin complex. At first I macerate these ingredients, then I extract the steam from the seven main ingredients.
G in is booming. I think it is because gin doesn't have such a dated image like single malt; gin still seems fresh and young. Plus in most cases, we do not drink pure gin but mix it, and thanks to the numerous options to combine it with other drinks it just doesn't get boring. You can play with the tonic, with garnishings and so on. Gin is also a very democratic product: everyone who has access to botanicals can manufacture it. And now try that out with whisky ...
Personally, I like my gin best with tonic. We do have really good products here in Austria, for example tonic made in Salzburg. As a ginmaker you really make an effort, so of course I don't want to lower its quality with the wrong choice of tonic. And when I need a really good night's sleep, I drink one or two negroni.
W e buy our juniper in Vorarlberg. Most of the other ingredients grow in our own herb garden, and I shop the rest nearby. With ginger and some other traditional ingredients that do not grow here, we of course need to make compromises.
In the meantime we have started working on our oak gin. You can come here to try it out whenever you want to, just let me know! The barrel I use for the oak gin contained apple spirit at first. This gives a hint of apples to our gin. I can't tell you yet when it will be available. I am still working on its colour, I want it to be more intense. I taste my oak gin regularly in order to check when it is really perfect. But as the 60-litre-barrel is not that large, the result will be a quite limited edition.
How come a winemaker
falls for gin?
A ctually, Hansi had distilled spirits for quite some time. When gin culture started developing, his interested started developing alike. His path to gin was not a long one, actually. But still it took two years to fill the first bottles. A significant role played a trip with his wife Sarina to Australia, where they celebrated New Year's Eve in a gin bar.
Whether your focus on garnish or the offered sorts of gin: this was paradise. The gin they liked best they tried is made on Kangaroo Island. As this is only a half-hour drive from Adelaide plus a short crossing by ferry, they went there spontaneously. There they met a typically laid-back Aussie who had started producing gin in his garage and has turned this to quite some business. He inspired Hansi to just try that out himself.
For almost 150 years
A genuine family business
For almost 150 years the Schneeberger family has dealt with agriculture and viticulture. Every member of the family fulfils a role. The work they do together is based on respect and trust.
T he Schneeberger family does not only produce gin. They have made a lot of effort in the past few decades to achieve new levels of viticulture in Styria. Their busines is one of the largest in their region, their Buschenschank – a wine tavern where they do not only serve their wines and spirits, but also home-made Styrian specialities in terms of food – is widely known and popular. They grow a large part of their products in their own garden, buy other parts nearby and refine them in the next step. Thus, the ham the Schneeberger family produces, has already been awarded with several gold medals.
Johann Senior has a special passion: old pig breeds. On a pasture with its own creek he breeds Mangalica pigs, Durocs and Schwäbisch-Hall pigs.
Using great raw products to produce genuine delicacies is in Margret's hands, the angel in the kitchen. She also takes visitors on guided tours to the cellars and gives presentations.
H eide, the mother of the Schneeberger family, is responsible for the Buschenschank, the traditional wine tavern where every hungry mouth will find great food. She has a great passion for flowers and plants. She does also run the office – successfully, of course.
Martina is our girl Friday: she is responsible for several office tasks, administration and purchase. Walter, our "man on the road" makes sure our products are delivered in time. He is also our expert for sales and presentations.
Sarina cares for direct sales, work in our office and on weekends as a waitress in the Buschenschank. And Hansi himself? He is not only Mr. Gin, but also responsible for the vinyard and the cellar, for spirits and presentations.
And here you get our Styrian gin
BUY GIN ONLINE
You do not need to go to the south of Styria immediately in order to shop Hansi's gin – although the Schneeberger family and their Buschenschank are always worth a visit. In the online shop you can order the Styrian spirit very easily, too. Besides, there are so many more nice things you can discover there.
To the Online Shop