Claus Preisinger: making wine on nature's cycle
When you've surrounded yourself with natty loving zealots like I have - it's not unusual for them to utter such sentiments as: "Claus Preisinger's Blaufränkisch is the best I've ever had."
I'd seen Claus's labels around a lot in the wine community, and I'd also come to be a fan after viewing an interview with the Terroir Squad. His unabashed, unfiltered approach to winemaking, coupled with disdain for the bureaucracy in wine had me immediately hooked. This was a guy I knew I needed to keep tabs on.
When he agreed to answer some of my questions, I immediately took to my natural wine group chat to quiz them on what I should ask such an icon.
Here is our conversation.
LM: What kind of music do you listen to? What are some favourite albums that you can't get enough of?
CP: A huge variation depending on the day to day feeling. Since I listen to vinyl, I listen much more carefully on albums. From Radiohead to Joy Division, LCD Soundsystem to Austrian Voodoo Jürgens.
LM: What's the story with the emojis on the corks?
CP: On Austrian quality wine you find the red white red flag on it – and an approval number – I am out of this system – that’s my way of not being too serious, and encouraging people to trust your personal taste as opposed to a system.
LM: I bought a case of your Puszta Libre recently and drank it embarrassingly fast. I shared a bottle with a friend who told me I've gone too far down the "glou glou" rabbit hole, and that a lot of the wines I like to drink while fresh, lack complexity. What's your response to statements like this?
CP: This is what the industry told us the last 20 years – heavy wines with lots of oak and tannins are complex and can last long. The natural wine movement got rid of this idea – and of course – you can drink much much more.
LM: My Father has a PhD in microbiology, and as such is very rigid on his views on the world, most specifically science based peer reviewed studies that back his beliefs on medicine, food, etc. When I shared with him that a lot of the wines I like to drink come from biodynamic vineyards, he wanted the facts about what makes it so special - there doesn't seem to be a lot of science or research proving why this approach is healthier, and some of the techniques used come across a bit "odd", like the burial of the manure in horns, or respecting the lunar/celestial cycles. What's your response to disbelief of this nature?
CP: I try to bring very old, forgotten knowledge about nature's cycles into a modern time and world we are all living in. Your father just needs to dig a little deeper into this knowledge. The magic of it is pretty logical.
LM: What are some regions you're particularly excited about? Who's making wine that's really wowing you?
CP: In every region, you can find unique people in unique spots who are creating special wines that open your eyes.
LM: Have you ever tasted any Canadian wine? If you have, who are the producers you think are making waves?
CP: Pearl Morissette´s wines are pretty good. And I've had some honey wines - I forget the name but - wow.
LM: Where do you see your business and brand going in the next 5-10 years?
CP: Pretty hard to say. Things are changing too fast to really know. Step by step – season by season – I try to make better wines.
LM: Do you think the trendiness of natural wine is helpful or detrimental to honestly made wine? Do you think the pendulum will swing back again?
CP: It's helpful – because it's opening people's eyes on how wine is really produced.
LM: What's a trend you wish would go away?
CP: Trends just have a short period to be a trend. So....
LM: Top food and wine pairings?
CP: Trying to combine what you think never work is always the best.
Thank you Claus for answering my questions! You can follow Claus on Instagram: @c_laus