Breaking the gender barrier with a passion

27 June, 2008

As a woman winemaker, Sylvia Prieler is unusual in conservative Austria. The eldest child of Engelbert and Irmgard Prieler, with a younger sister and much younger brother, she studied molecular genetics and had no intention of joining the family business, which has 20ha of vineyards around Schützen-am-Gebirge in Burgenland, eastern Austria.

"During my studies my father decided he wanted to export his wines, but he didn't speak English. He said if I helped him I'd get money for it - so I said OK. Then he said, if you really want to help you will have to take a wine course." By the time Prieler had finished studying, she was hooked.

She specialises in Blaufränkisch, the indigenous speciality of Burgenland, full of black cherry and dark berry flavours, with spicy pepper notes and crisp, biting acidity - and is hoping the variety will be the next thing to take off in the UK.

"My philosophy consists of three things," says Prieler. "First, we want everybody who drinks the wine to know the grape variety. Secondly, they should know when they taste the wine where it comes from, whether it is slate or schist, and that it is from our region. And the best thing would be if they would say, that is a Prieler, and no one else could make such a good wine."


UK importer: Clark Foyster Wines

020 8567 3731

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