The lightness of the burden
Tradition and the weight of expectation are not a threat for Katharina Lackner Tinnacher, but rather a catalyst for the playful light-heartedness and elegance in her wines.
The warm light of the late summer afternoon is falling through the room-high windows of the living space, right into the kitchen. Katharina has just opened a massive fridge and holds a bottle of wine against the sun. She opens it with a well-trained twist of her wrist, talking about electronic music, then classical music, offering various drinks and snacks. All at the same time. Multitasking, quick wits and analytical thinking, working hard and all the while making it look easy is something like the unofficial mantra of the young lady winemaker.
Perhaps it is this confusing, elf-like grace in Katharina Lackner Tinnacher that impresses you most. You cannot help but asking yourself whether this ease in her mind is the only way for her to escape from the sheer weight of 240 years of family tradition, at least for a while. Her carelessness is the unexpected result of her childhood says the woman winemaker: “Up until the age of 18 I had not given a thought as to what I would do for a living one day.” A luxury that she only really appreciates today.
The bond with wine is however inborn: “If you grow up in a winery”, says Lackner Tinnacher, “then you can hardly escape from it all.”
As lively as her mind, her gestures and movements may be, her considered, calm, and focused talk betrays the opposite. Where her male colleagues like to show their down-to-earth side and conjure up their gut feeling and intuition for making wine, Katharina takes a different approach: considerate, though without reservations: “Good winemakers”, she says, “need a little talent but a lot of knowledge.” Taking her distance as well as the pleasure in shaking the foundations of tradition only to the point where you are no longer determined by it, has become a drive behind her work.
The outsiders’ view, the exchange with friends, the interest in other industries and cultures is what keeps her awake and finally also benefits her wines: “Especially as a long-established producer, we have to prove over and over again that we are neither stagnating nor resting on our laurels – whilst also cultivating our own tradition in a considerate and self-conscious manner.” This is how Lackner Tinnacher describes the two ends of the scale to depict her field of work. Is this intimidating for her? “Nope”, she says in a determined voice, and still she can’t help laughing…
Of course, Katharina Lackner Tinnacher is the only woman among ten STK winemakers, a fact that she however ignores with admirable nonchalance: “My parents had two daughters”, she says about herself and her sister who is pursuing a career as an architect, shrugging her shoulders. Fine art and culture have become more than a counterpoise and passion for the winemaker: “It is quite important to have a life aside from wine”, somehow distancing herself from those whose lives revolve around a single purpose.
The depth in which Katharina Lackner Tinnacher is interested in the arts, can always be found in her wines. As elegant as her passion for design, even more so are the whites of this small organic producer, which boasts a long-standing tradition. Their young fresh liveliness combines with a wide array of soft aromas and clearly conveys the line of thought of the young winemaker. Of course, she laughs when we talk about the secret of her wines. Then she gets going, talks about special soil structures, the legacy of a 240 year-old tradition, and concludes in her light-hearted style: “I think congenial winemakers will always make congenial wines.”