A few years after Dorli Muhr and Dirk Niepoort went separate ways in their private lives, they have decided to terminate their professional partnership. Dorli Muhr is taking over the fifty per cent holding from her Dutch/Portuguese partner to turn the former limited partnership into Weingut Dorli Muhr.
It was in 2002, the year of their marriage that Dorli Muhr and Dirk Niepoort vinified their first Blaufrankisch red wines on the slopes of Spitzerberg in the Carnuntum region of Austria. They produced just 500 bottles and since then the estate has grown steadily.
“It is a highly emotional moment for me to return the name Muhr to Prellenkirchen,” said Dorli Muhr. “My grandmother spent her childhood and teenage years in Prellenkirchen and she always carried this village and the Spitzerberg with her in her heart. For me, the hours I spent with her in the tiny vineyard parcels on the Spitzerberg were always very special. They left an indelible mark on my relationship to this place and to viticulture. It has had a noteworthy influence on my entire life. She was a tough lady, a passionate farmer and a single mother, a woman who was obliged to overcome the dramatic twists of life. Despite this, her door was always open for visitors and went through life with open eyes, was always helpful and fond of travel and great fun to be with.
Dirk Niepoort spoke of the decision with laughter and tears at the same time. “The Spitzerberg is an extraordinary terroir and I find it fascinating how much of a stir we were able to create with it in just a few years. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that it has become personally difficult for me because of the geographic distance involved to stay involved with the work flow of the estate. For this reason, my departure makes a great deal of sense,” he said.
With the recent restructuring of his family business, Dirk has become the sole owner of the Port house Niepoort Vinhos, founded in 1842 and located in Oporto. Under his leadership, the firm has grown from an annual production of some 500,000 bottles of Port into an enterprise with vineyards in Douro, Dao and Bairrada regions, employing 70 workers. With his two sons, Daniel and Marco Niepoort, he has also founded the Fio wine estate in Germany’s Mosel Valley.
On the other hand, Dorli Muhr founded the PR Agency Wine&Partners which currently employs 14 experts in the field of communications and manages public relations affairs for a number of top wine producers as well as culinary projects around the world. In 2002, she founded the wine estate together with Dirk, the core of which is 0.17 hectares of vines in the vineyard Ried Roterd on the Spitzerberg. These parcels, which were owned by her grandmother from 1920 where revitalised by Dorli Muhr in 1996.
Since then, she has been able to expand the operation by purchasing vineyards with old vines, by replanting fallow tracts and by leasing parcels of vines in the best sites on the Spitzerberg. Dorli has also been able to acquire an old building in the town of Prellenkirchen which is now the official headquarters of the estate.
Weingut Dorli Muhr
With seven hectares of vineyard owned outright and five hectares of parcels under lease, all of which are situated on the south-facing slopes of the Spitzerberg – Wiengut Dorli Muhr is today not only one of the leading wine estates in Prellenkirchen in terms of size but has also brought an important dynamic to the village.
In 2004, Dorli founded a group of quality-oriented winegrowners who worked together to establish a criteria for the use of the appellation of origin Spitzerberg and since then support one another i the production of fine Blaufrankisch.
From her 12 hectares, Dorli produces an average of 35,000 bottles per annum of which 75% are monovarietal Blaufrankisch red wines. Since the 2018 vintage, the estate’s wines are certified organic.
Wiengut Dorli Muhr currently employed five people. Eisenberg native Lukas Brandstatter is responsible for vinification, carefully tending helping the precious grapes become elegant wines.
From 2002 to 2018 the estate was known as Muhr-van der Niepoort. As of last month (from vintage 2017), the name of the enterprise in Weingut Dorli Muhr.