In the town chronicles of Horitschon, the first mention of the name Weninger at Florianigasse 11 is in 1828. The Weninger family cultivates a mixed farm, which is typical for Central Burgenland: it has five cows, 25 hectares of arable land, and five hectares of vineyards. The family buys its first tractor after World War II, but as a boy Franz Ludwig Weninger still learned to work the land with a horse.
The Thresher and Rosa’s Promise
In the 1930’s the family orders a mobile threshing machine, which – due to its size and the resulting unwieldiness in Horitschon’s narrow streets – is sent straight back. Great-grandfather Franz sues the company but loses. And the farm goes up for auction.
Six years later, “Uncle Franz”, who had emigrated to America in 1928, manages to raise the money to save the farm. In 1951 he visits Austria for for the first time since he left, waives all claims to the farm, and gives it to Ludwig and Rosa. Out of gratitude, Grandmother Rosa promises Uncle Franz to name her first-born son after him. In 1983 Franz Ludwig Weninger – who because of another promise made by his mother Rosa is actually supposed to become a priest – takes over the family farm.
Martina & Franz
“After we took over the farm,” Martina Weninger remembers, “we realized that there was a whole new clientele for fine wines.” Franz Ludwig Weninger often compares the loamy soil on his best sites Hochäcker, Kirchholz, and Dürrau to Pomerol. When it comes to vinification, he opts for long maceration.
Franz and Martina expand their business very quickly. Together with Attila Gere they found a winery in Southern Hungary in 1992 (currently 12 hectares), and in 1997 another one in Hungary close to the Austrian border in Sopron-Balf (currently 25 hectares). Over the years the family farm in Horitschon (currently 25 hectares) is transformed into an exclusively wine-growing operation. After 28 successful years, their son Franz Reinhard, who has been in charge of the Sopron-Balf winery since 2000, takes over the Horitschon estate together with Petra.