– Burgenland, Austria
@thomasstraka is among the young winemakers reshaping the modern Austrian wine style in southern Burgenland, reinvigorating a region that has long been quiet in terms of tourism and viticulture. Straka is both a passionate and skilled winemaker who artfully merges time-honored practices with contemporary techniques.
The Straka family’s roots lie in Rechnitz, a village located 140 kilometers south of Vienna. The locals often say, “Perhaps it’s not the most beautiful place here, but it’s certainly one of the best!” This sentiment aptly characterizes both the area and its wines. The winery sits on the southern slopes of the Geschriebenstein, the highest mountain in Burgenland, with vineyards extending up to 500 meters in altitude. This elevation significantly shapes the microclimate, with lower temperatures and pronounced day-to-night temperature fluctuations, lending distinctiveness to the region’s wines. The Pratner vineyard, Straka’s most productive, is home to vines that date back to 1932.
Straka oversees 10 hectares of vineyards, following organic guidelines and earning organic certification in 2017. Of these, 70 percent are dedicated to white wines, with a special focus on Welschriesling. Straka seeks to elevate this grape variety, which has sometimes been misjudged due to its association with overly sweet and simplistic wines. He has successfully crafted exceptional and unique Welschriesling wines, spanning from approachable, light styles to single-vineyard and old-vine selections.
Stratos Weiss and Stratos Rot are standout offerings. The name “Stratos” cleverly combines “STRAka” and “TOm.” Stratos Weiss is a lively cuvée composed of Welschriesling, Weißburgunder, Riesling, and Gelber Muskateller, fermented in stainless steel tanks and large oak (10%). It exudes liveliness and boasts an excellent drinking experience. Stratos Rot, also named “Stratos” in homage to its creator, blends Merlot and Zweigelt, undergoing open fermentation and maturation in small oak barrels. The result is a fresh, smooth, and alluring wine.
Cultivation: 7 ha
Production: 25,000 bottles/year
Varieties: Welschrieslingm Blaufränkisch, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gelber Muskateller, Merlot, Pinot Blanc