Industry News - June 24, 2022

Marveling Over Natural Wine in a Medieval Palace

Recap of Karakterre, a natural wine fair focusing on wines of Central Europe

Written by

Aleks Zecevic

After two years of canceling and rescheduling because of the complications due to the Covid-19 pandemic, wine fairs all over the world are back in full swing. On May 19, we attended Karakterre, a natural wine fair focusing on the wines of Central Europe. Now in its ninth edition, the event took place within the gorgeous Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, at Orangerie Schlosspark Eisenstadt.

The event saw high attendance, with over 1,000 natural wine lovers and more than 150 wine producers from 15 countries gathering in Austria. The actual fair followed three days of satellite events hosted by wineries in the Austrian region of Burgenland and by wine bars in Vienna.

Heinrich, Gut Oggau, and Christian Tschida each hosted a gathering with food and wine where other growers attending the fair had the opportunity to present their wines more intimately. Meinklang showcased their newly opened café/bistro/shop in Vienna called Meinklang Hofladen. Additionally, Moritz Herzog, one of the natural wine pioneers in Vienna, hosted Karakterre VIPs at his afresh wine bar R & Bar. Other Vienna natural wine bar institutions also saw an increase in guests this week.

The actual fair was impressive. Austrian growers were the majority, but vintners from all over Central Europe were in attendance, including those from Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia, and even the United States. The fair hosted a range of growers. Attendees include those with an established presence, such as Gut Oggau, Claus Preisinger, Dario Princic, and Muster, others emerging on the scene, and growers with wines already available on Ploder-Rosenberg from Styria in Austria and Vinas Mora from Dalmatia in Croatia. 

There was also a good representation of artisanal cider, spirits, food, pastry, coffee, and spirits. As always, Fruktstereo from Sweden made a strong appearance. A great surprise was an eau de vie producer from Serbia, Volos Natura, who made a positive impression on the crowd with their recent release of wines for the first time. 

For this reason, we view Karakterre not just as a wine fair but rather as a week-long celebration of craft, focusing on natural winemaking. “Karakterre is about organic, biodynamic, and natural wine, just as much as the ethos of the winery that makes the wine and the people behind them,” says Marko Kovac, who organizes Karakterre together with partner Niko Dukan, both veterans of the wine industry. The festival was impressive and a must-visit for any industry professional who wants to understand the craft of wine.

If you missed Karakterre, check-out our discussion with Marko Kovac on the Vintners Podcast where he talks about the fair, the criteria, craft wine and more.

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