Rebels of Wine : Christoph Hoch
In our blog series; ‘Rebels of Wine’, We get personal with some of our wine makers who showcase their talents through minimal intervention methods of wine making and their passion for terroir (amongst other things that excite them). It is with their commitment to creating honest and true wines that we are able to build the foundations of our offerings. Let's get crackin!
This month we were honored to sit down with Austrian wine maker Christoph Hoch. The Hoch wines are very original and are some of the best representations of the ‘new’ wines of Austria. Christoph Hoch has an infectious enthusiasm and that energy comes through in the wines. We highly recommend checking out his range on our website!
Video Credit to Dry Farm Wines (https://www.dryfarmwines.com/)
So give us a little insight on your journey :
- I was Born as the 12th generation in the family Hoch in Hollenburg – always related with winemaking
- 2005: With around 15 started the viticulture school in a.d. Donau – what really awakes my force of wine, was definitely not the school itself, it were the classmates (still now my best friends are from this time!) All the others in my class were already much more in their parents winery involved – I felt at the beginning as I was not good enough…. I had to fight for my position – I WAS CHALLENGED – this was what made the motor started!!
- 2006: My first internship with 16 years at Tenuta J. Hofstätter (good classic wine) in Alto Adige/ Italy – the time there was amazing! The first time in my were I had responsibility – and they gave me a lot of them – they also gave me the feeling/ open up my eyes how big the wine world can be / how far you can go – the meant really a lot to me!!
- 2007: second internship at Weingut Stadt Krems (good classic wine) in Krems/ Kremstal/ Austria – also great time, great people – learned a lot about my “home grapes”: Grüner Veltliner & Riesling
- 2008: third internship at Weingut Rudi Pichler (very good classic wine) in Wachau/ Austria – this was the place where I found my “love in the detail” – how far you can go in the detail – differences from vineyard to vineyard in seeing, feeling, working and tasting – hard, fair BUT incredible (important) time for me!
- 2009: finished viticulture school and started to work in the parents winery, mainly as “winemaker” (cellar)
- 2010: first trial with “natural wine” even though I didn't know that natural wine was existing!
- 2011: more projects in this direction, because I felt bored about the classical winemaking
- 2012: the first projects were tasted together with friends and the wanted to buy those wines
- 2013: splitting from the parents and founding my “own winery” = also first official vintage = birth of Hollenburger Grüner Veltliner & Riesling
- 2014: first trial with Pet Nat´s (even though I didn´t know that this exists already outside of Austria) – idea of Kalkreich was born (at this time the name used to be Sparkling Project until 2018) – also some projects which will “sleep in my cellar” for 10 years and then see whats happen ; ) (all of course sparkling and without any additions)
- 2015: Kalkspitz was born
- 2016: Rosé was born
- 2017: Rosé Rurale was born
- 2018: Hollenburger Rot was born
What is the most memorable dish you have had :
The river prawn in pork belly jam, shrimp paste at Ledu!. In general Le Du was for me the most exciting cuisine (also because of the idea, traditional Thai Cusine, in a new Interpretation) I had in Bangkok, although I have to say the quality level was everywhere was also above par
What is your most prized possession :
My wife, If I would sell her.
Just kidding, in terms of real-estate: some specific vineyards owned by the family
In terms of Ideology: my book where I write all my ideas and Impressions, called translated: “the clever book”
What does natural wine mean to you:
basic/ fundamental : MINIMUM organic, ideally aerodynamic farmed vineyards
Winemaking :1. No additions – the only thing where to discuss about it, is sulphur… Here the edge/border for me is an addition of max. 25mg/L in the entire process of winemaking (Depends on the grape and origin between 30-45mg/L total sulphur)
How do you forsee wine 50 years from now?
Hhhhmmmmm – quite important question, but still not easy!
The climate is changing – that’s for sure! More and more “extreme years” (drought, flood, hail, frost etc….) – so in that case I think we are already on a very path in terms of farming biodynamic. It is about balance, which helps the vines (and of course also all the surrounding like soil, hedges around vineyards and co) to be able to deal with such adversity.
In terms of “natural-winemaking” I think will still have to learn more about those things – especially in the warm or “tropical” vintages.
So as result, I believe wine in Austria will survive even though many things will change weather wise. More disease resistant grapes will be planted. More cool sites will be preferred where former time might have been “just apples” because it used to be too cool for the vines, BUT still the wine stylistic will go in a “lower Alcohol” direction..
Best and worst purchases you have made? :
In terms of wine: Cotar Merlot 2007. In terms of production: a barrel washing system
In terms of wine: a vertical from an expensive Austrian Wine, what I don´t want to drink anymore…
In terms of production: a CO² measuring technique what we used just for 2 vintages…
Does size matter? :
In terms of bottles: YES – bigger = better
In terms of vineyards: NO – sometimes big is good – sometimes small can be good as well
In terms of barrels: YES – must be aligned with the wine type
In terms of male human: NO – if you have a strong confidence
Three wines from the Naturalista shelf you would recommend our patrons to try?