The cooperative has about 120 "official" members, and they manage about 300 hectares of vineyards. The harvest is delivered exclusively to the cooperative.

The 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.

At 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..

The Wine Family

The 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.

The 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.


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