Behind the Label: Judith Beck

Behind the Label: Judith Beck

Judith Beck is a big fan of local grapes and embraces a biodynamic philosophy that ensures she produces fabulous wine. The Beck winery is one of our most exciting discoveries of recent years.

She heads the family winery in the village of Gols, which sits in Austria’s winemaking heartland of Burgenland, an hour and a half outside Vienna. Her passion for tradition and a focus on Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent grapes ensure her wine is an expression of the place as well as her talent as a winemaker.

The Beck story starts in 1976 when her parents Matthias and Christine took over the family farm on the edge of Lake Neusiedlersee, a lake that straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border, and focused on increasing the area that was planted with vines.

The creation of a winery in 2005 was an obvious next step and it was around this time that Judith assumed control – albeit under her father’s watchful eye – having made her first vintage a couple of years earlier. By then, her skills were evident and she had worked to enhance the knowledge she acquired at Klosterneuburg Viniculture College with spells at renowned wineries including Chateau Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux, Braida in Piedmont and Errazuriz in Chile.

Her style relies on the ideas of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher who came to prominence in the late 19th century with revolutionary views on education and biodynamic agriculture. In a winemaking context that translates into holistic methods such as applying biological humus as fertiliser, being guided by moon cycles, and employing manual techniques.

The estate produces a range of wines, from a delicate white that is fruity and fresh, as is typical of the Weissburgunder grape – the name Austrians give to Pinot Blanc – and seen by many as an alternative to drier offerings from Alsace.

The Zweigelt is much lighter than many Austrian reds, with fruits and spices coming to the fore and making it an excellent accompaniment for red meat. Unlike many Austrian winemakers, Judith doesn’t use heavily toasted oak barrels to create rich and powerful reds, so fruit and spice also dominate her Blaufränkisch, which is made from a single grape.

However, the Beck winery earns particular plaudits for the Ink cuvée, which is an exceptional blend of Zweigelt and St Laurent, providing an approachable entry point to the often underrated world of Austrian reds. It boasts the same dark fruit and spices as the other reds, but also has a lightness reminiscent of a berry fruit salad. It’s ideal for summer drinking.

The Beck winery is a member of the Pannobile Association, which represents the winemakers of the region and emphasises their reliance on local grapes. It’s also part of ‘11 Frauen und ihre Weine’ (11 Women and their Wines) – evidence that Judith Beck is a driving force for women in the industry, as well as for her home area. We’re delighted to be working with her and to offer our customers the chance to judge her talent as a winemaker.