1171 The monks of the Zwettl monastery are granted their first vineyards at the Heiligenstein and Gaisberg.
1740 The castle and its vineyards are acquired by the order.
1786 After a fire at the Kammern winery, winemaking is transferred to Gobelsburg.
1996 Michael & Eva Moosbrugger take over the management of the property together with Willi & Edwige Bründlmayer. The winery is admitted to the association Österreichische Traditionsweingüter.
“Qui bon vin boit, Dieu voit.” (Spruch der Zisterzienser)
The very early history of the castle Gobelsburg and its vineyards is an unwritten story as with many similar estates in Austria. Archeological excavations in one of our vineyards (Grub) and at the occasion of a major extension of the chateau’s vaults have released many traces of settlements in eolithic, bronze and iron age, the Roman empire and early medieval periods.
The castle was first mentioned in a contract dated 1074 in relation to Azzo de Gobatsburich, Earl of Kuenring. The property remained in the possession of the Kuenring until the end of the 12th century when it changed hands to the family Felsberg-Falkenstein as a dowry of the last lady Kuenring. In the 15th century the Habsburgs as reigning Dukes of Austria took possession of the estate. Obviously during the flourishing regimen of the Habsburg, German Emperors then, the fortified castle Gobatsburg was torn down to be replaced by a Renaissance manor house. It changed hands again only 100 years later.
History and Development of Schloss Gobelsburg’s Viticulture and Wine-making
When Stift Zwettl, a Cistercian monastery, was founded by Earl Hadmar I of Kuenring in 1137 the monks were bestowed with forests and land around Zwettl in the heart of Waldviertel as well as with vineyards and arable land in Kammern near Langenlois and the rivers Kamp and Danube. The oldest known vineyard in the region is mentioned in this deed of donation, i.e. the Allerheiligenstiftung.
Between 1074 and 1740 there were as many as 18 different families on the estate and castle Gobelsburg. The last aristocratic owner Freiherr Achaz Ehrenreich von Hohenfeld instigated the alterations of the Renaissance manor house into a handsome Baroque chateau in the first half of the 18th century.
The basic structure – two-storied 4 wings around a courtyard – stayed as it was. Renaissance style can still be seen today with the arcade in the courtyard and the vaulted Sala Terrena. The main modifications are very delicate Baroque ornaments on the three facades and huge tiled stoves thematically harmonized with stucco and painted ceilings in most of the rooms.
The small terraced garden was laid out most likely at the same time as can be seen by the decorative watch-towers and box hedges.
The reconstruction planned and carried out by the famous architect Josef Munggenast (Melk, Zwettl, Altenburg) caused severe financial difficulties to the family Ehrenreich-Hohenfeld, hence in 1740 the son of Baron Achaz entered the monastery of Zwettl bringing in with him the whole property and incurred debts.
As said, in 1740 the estate Gobelsburg was also incorporated by Stift Zwettl. 1784 the two estates, Kammern and Gobelsburg, were merged and have operated as “Schloss Gobelsburg Weingut des Zisterzienser Stiftes Zwettl”.
Since Gobelsburg has developed to one of the major and most distinguished wine-makers of Austria.
Between World War I and II the chateau was (mis)used as a summer youth camp, during World War II French POWs were quartered here. No major damages occured during the war, however, afterwards the occupying Soviet troops made a sport of shooting into the front facade. Today the chateau is a beautiful place again, well accepted by the public for cultural events, family and company functions.
After World War II and the Soviet occupation (hence, no vintage wine before that time!) Father Bertrand Baumann managed Schloss Gobelsburg such that the importance and reputation of the winery could be restored swiftly and fully and the chateau could be nicely renovated. Then he served as Abbot of Stift Zwettl from 1980 until 1994 when he resigned due to age. “Altabt” Father Bertrand is still proudly and joyfully inspecting vineyards and cellars here.
In consequence of Cistercian tradition Father Bertrand introduced the “Burgundy vine” Pinot Noir to the region achieving outstanding results in spite the fact that viticulture and vinification of Pinot Noir is more complex and difficult as with most other grape varieties.
Another famous speciality of the winery is the Gobelsburger Messwein (altar wine), a light and crisp Gruener Veltliner that is being produced in strict accordance to ecclesiatical regulations concerning vineyard and cellar techniques, i.e. organically sensitive work in the vineyards, no chaptalization or additives.
In January 1996 Schloss Gobelsburg and the whole estate has been taken on a long-term lease by Willi Bründlmayer and Michael Moosbrugger. Michael manages the estate and winery Schloss Gobelsburg.
Some of the finest vineyards in Austria belong to Schloss Gobelsburg, i.e. vineyards on the terraced Heiligenstein and Gaisberg as well as the hollow site between the two hills, the Grub.
The terroir of these hills and hollow sites respectively is very different. On the hills there is porous rocky soil containing mica-schist and gneiss, even basalt in places on the Heiligenstein. The soil within the hollow is fertile loess 4 to 8 metres deep.On the adjoining lower sites there is loess and loam mixed with some brown and sandy soil. On the Gobelsburg plateau, south of the chateau, the vineyards are based upon pebbles and gravel transported here by the “early Danube”. There is a top soil of about 0.5 to 1.0 metre consisting of black and loamy soil and loess.