Monday, August 9, 2010

Weinviertel and Lipizzaners

We continued our tour after a rather large lunch at yet another English Garden and some museums. The highlight for me was a tour of the Summer Riding School of the Lipizzaners from the Spanish Riding School. Its like Summer camp for horses, they certainly have an awesome life out there. Along the way I learnt how they name their horses, the training process and how they pair the horses with their riders.

Did you know that all Lipizzaners are born brown and that they changed to white from about 4 years, sometimes up to 12 years old. Some horses never change to white. These horses can still perform in the shows and they are said to bring luck to the school. There have been a few years that have not had a brown horse like 1938 but currently there are 3 brown horses performing which must mean they are very lucky :)

Lipizzaners start training from the age of 4 and it can take 6 years before they are ready to perform. Lipizzaners live well into their 30s and perform until they're about 28. We got to meet a few of the horses and man are they tall but absolutely beautiful.

After all the horses we finally had a chance to drink. We toured the Obenaus winery, a local winery in Glaubendorf. The owners son shepherded us through the various rooms. It was interesting to see an small operation with the cellars, bottling line and presses (the people here would probably be annoyed when I call it small, but I consider it small in comparison to Vergelegen, Welmoed, Spier etc where I've previously done tours).

Following the tour we got to taste the various wine the winery produces including Gruner Veltliner, Roter Veltliner and Muskat. The menu said a cold meat supper and that is exactly what we got, LOTS of cold meat and nothing else. We thought they were joking when they handed us each a plate of meats, eventually we begged for a vegetarian plate to split. The party table made a valiant effort to consume our months worth of meat in a hour but it proved impossible.

I asked a lot of questions about the growing conditions here, temperatures, grape types etc because they make such different wines to South Africa and Australia which is what I typically know. The grow their whites in clay soil and reds in gravel. The temperatures are below freezing (-18C) in Winter and they harvest white in the morning and red in the afternoon. The really interesting this is that they use acacia instead of oak as they don't like the favour it gives to the wine.

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