The „Seewinkel“ is an area in the Burgenland region of Austria, approximately 20 km wide, along the eastern shore of lake Neusiedl. The villages of Illmitz, Apetlon and Podersdorf are situated within this reedy wetland, which is actually a natural preserve. It is an immense plain, with countless shallow lakes of various sizes scattered throughout it. Most of these lakes, including the largest, Lake Neusiedl, are less than five feet deep. This unusual terrain is often covered with dense fog, adding to the special charm of the region.
The pannonic continental climate brings hot dry summers and very cold winters. These extremes are somewhat mitigated by the presence of the large Lake Neusiedl, creating a unique microclimate for viticulture.
During cool autumn evenings, evaporation from the numerous lakes creates heavy fog, which covers the area until mid-day when the still strong sunlight burns through. This daily change of weather is the prerequisite for the special Botrytis cinerea, a nearly annual gift of nature, which makes the production of Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese wines possible.
Alois Kracher’s vineyards stretch between Illmitz and the shore of Lake Neusiedl. To the untrained eye the area will appear completely plane, but Alois Kracher points at the "mountains": undulations of a height of up to one to one and a half meters, which have considerable influence on the development of the grapes and, above all, the quality of botrytis.
Alois's father, Alois Kracher sen., is in charge of vineyard management. The vineyards are planted at high densities in order to "stress" the vines, thus producing lower quantities at elevated concentrations. Traditional grape varieties include Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Weißburgunder and Sämling 88 (Scheurebe).
The National Park
The Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park, which crosses borders with Hungary, was founded in 1993 and has a total area of around 300 km², of which around 100 km² is on Austrian territory. The Neusiedler See area is a unique natural area in Austria. Due to its location on the eastern edge of the Alps and on the western edge of the Little Hungarian Plain, it is a border area from a historical, but also from a biological point of view, in which plant and animal species from Alpine, Pannonian, Asian, Mediterranean and Nordic areas can be found. This biodiversity would not be possible without a variety of habitats: large and diverse wetlands, pastures, meadows, dry grasslands, sand steppes and salt locations lie next to each other like a mosaic.