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Honours come full circle for winemaker Dorli Muhr

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Winemaker Dorli Muhr and cellar master Lukas Brandstätter

Winemaker Dorli Muhr has been honoured by the prestigious wine and gourmet guide Gault&Millau for her pioneering work in putting the Spitzerberg slope in Austria's Carnuntum region on the wine map.

"Twenty years ago, hardly anybody knew Spitzerberg. Today, it is considered a great terroir for Blaufränkisch - and that is thanks to Dorli Muhr", begins the citation in the 2023/24 Gault&Millau Guide, which ends with: "The 2020 vintage is hard to beat in terms of finesse."

That was reason enough for the wine guide, now in its 36th edition, to award the trophy for 'Stand-out Winemaker of the Year' to Dorli Muhr at a ceremony in Vienna in November.

The award is a special one for Dorli Muhr because it is the first she has received in Austria despite chalking up many international accolades since she vinified her first vintage on the Spitzerberg in 2002.

In 2019, she was honoured as "Wine Hero of the Year" in the Netherlands by Perswijn magazine. In 2020, Wine Spectator awarded her the highest score ever given to an Austrian red wine in its magazine, which has been published since the 1970s. Robert Parker Wine Advocate has also praised her wines, as have Sweden's Livets Goda, Japan's Vinotheque magazine and many others around the world.

Winemaker Dorli Muhr
Winzerin Dorli Muhr © Anna Stöcher

Muhr now produces around 70,000 bottles of wine from 12 hectares on the exposed Spitzerberg slope, which stands in the gateway between the Alps and the Carpathians. The wines are just as popular in Australia as they are in Norway, Thailand and the UK. Her delicate Blaufränkisch has even made it onto the wine lists of in top restaurants in the gourmet capital of Paris.

Dorli Muhr was recently even included in the illustrious list of the World's Top 100 Wineries by US magazine Wine & Spirits.

Yet, despite these international accolades, Dorli Muhr had a simple message as she accepted the Gault&Millau award from publisher Martina Hohenlohe. "Success is only real when you are also honoured in your own country," she said with a smile.

Muhr vinified her first Blaufränkisch from the Spitzerberg 21 years ago: 500 bottles from the Obere Roterd vineyard where her grandmother Katharina Muhr owned a small plot with 0.17 hectares of vines as early as the 1920s. Over the last two decades, the winery has grown bit by bit, as Muhr managed to acquire more and more plots with old vines - which are particularly dear to her heart.

Over the years, she has gained an ever deeper understanding of the barren limestone slope. "With every vintage, the mountain challenges us to delve deeper and deeper into the complexity of the terroir," says Muhr, and thanks her cellar master Lukas Brandstätter for the sensitivity with which he vinifies the irresistible single-vineyard wines.

Particular care is taken both in the vineyards and the cellar. From soft pruning and organic farming methods to handling the grapes and stems by hand (not to mention the time-honoured tradition of foot-stomping grapes), the gentlest methods are used to guarantee the vines a long life and thus allow the wines to best express their special origin.

Ausnahme Winzerin des Jahres Award: Winzerin Dorli Muhr, Kellermeister Lukas Brandstätter und Gault&Millau Herausgeberin Martina Hohenlohe
Ausnahme Winzerin des Jahres Award: Winzerin Dorli Muhr, Kellermeister Lukas Brandstätter und Gault&Millau Herausgeberin Martina Hohenlohe © Philipp Lipiarski

New winery at the foot of Spitzerberg

For many years, Muhr and Brandstätter vinified the wines in a leased barn. It was not until 2022 that a new winery was built right at the foot of the Spitzerberg. But here, too, Muhr charted her own course. The building was constructed from brick, with extremely thick walls to minimise the need for cooling. The concept was designed to minimise energy usage across the entire winery. A wall of plants around the brick building provides shade, temperature regulation and a natural ambience.

The sustainable building was designed by architect Sabine Laub. It reflects the winemaker's understanding of how to work with vines and the natural environment. The end result is a winery that is just as pioneering as the style of Dorli Muhr's wines.

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About Weingut Dorli Muhr

Dorli Muhr, who for three decades has led the internationally renowned agency Wine+Partners, founded her own estate in 2002. The heart of the estate is a 0.17 hectare parcel that her grandmother received as a wedding gift in 1918. Plot by plot, Dorli Muhr has acquired sites on the Spitzerberg with notably mature Blaufränkisch vines. She transitioned her vineyards to organic and founded a new, extra-gentle vinification method to encourage the finest, most elegant expressions of the Blaufränkisch variety. In 2019, the Spitzerberg received its Erste Lage classification by the Österreichische Traditionsweingüter.

Weingut Dorli Muhr
Kirchengasse 24
2472 Prellenkirchen

Weingut Dorli Muhr

Dorli Muhr beim Wein Verkosten
Astrid Rauch bei Wine+Partners
Astrid Rauch
Head of Media Relations

Good communication builds bridges and is the key to success. Thanks to many intensive years in journalism, Astrid is not only very familiar with the media industry, but is also very well connected. Since 2022, she has been heading the PR department and brings her know-how to the international agency. Astrid is responsible for the top winemaker Dorli Muhr, the Doktor Wunderer winery and Tenuta Monteti in southern Tuscany.