Sandgrube 13

History

Wine growing in and around Krems can be traced back more than 2,000 years. Due to the mild climate, the quality of the soil and the local wine growers' hard work, Krems and the Wachau developed into Austria’s best wine growing regions.

Wine growing in Krems

The first quality grapes were harvested in the 3rd century AD under the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). According to the "Vita Sankt Severini", Saint Severin, who lived in Krems and Mautern, retired "ad vineas", into the vineyards.

 

Wine growing in Krems

The first quality grapes were harvested in the 3rd century AD under the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). According to the "Vita Sankt Severini", Saint Severin, who lived in Krems and Mautern, retired "ad vineas", into the vineyards.

 

In the 11th century, the origin "Kremser Sandgrube", renowned for their Grüner Veltliner, was mentioned for the first time.

The period after the great migration saw an upswing in vine cultivation, brought about by Frankish and Bavarian monks. Today, more than 40 Central and Western European monasteries still own vineyards in and around Krems.

At a time when farmers all over Europe were oppressed by their feudal lords, wine growers in Krems were conceded a social status equal to that of the bourgeoisie. The guild "HAUERINNUNG KREMS und STEIN", founded in Krems in 1442, was held in high regard. The climax of viniculture, social and religious meetings of people from all social classes lead to an intense, highly cultured and sophisticated form of communal living.

In 1305, Krems was granted a charter and officially became a town with the argument, that its honour lay in its vineyards.

The guild of the wine growers of Krems and Stein and their head, the "Hauervater", still live and work in accordance with their old traditions and cherish the heritage of wine growing. The initiation ceremony requires every young vintner to make a vow: "I promise to be a good wine grower." He knows that only dedication and hard work in the vineyards and the cellars will guarantee the growing of superior wines.

In 1938, members of the guild founded WINZER KREMS. The present "Hauervater", Eduard Felsner, was chairman of the board of WINZER KREMS until 2005. Today, the chairman Florian Stöger controls, together with 9 members of the board, the destiny of Austria’s largest wine producers. The heritage of wine growing in Krems is deeply rooted in the old traditions, thus guaranteeing connoisseur of superior quality - vintage after vintage.

Historical Responsibility

At the beginning of September 2018, triggered by the release of the novel "Wein des Vergessens" by Bernhard Herrman and Robert Streibel (Residenz Verlag), WINZER KREMS eG was confronted with previously unresolved aspects of its history in the NS-era. These concern individual properties that were owned by the Jewish family Robitschek before the National Socialist annexed Austria and were subsequently arianized.

Historical Responsibility

At the beginning of September 2018, triggered by the release of the novel "Wein des Vergessens" by Bernhard Herrman and Robert Streibel (Residenz Verlag), WINZER KREMS eG was confronted with previously unresolved aspects of its history in the NS-era. These concern individual properties that were owned by the Jewish family Robitschek before the National Socialist annexed Austria and were subsequently arianized.

Rehabilitation

According to this background, the board of directors of WINZER KREMS eG decided to proactively deal with this issue.
Therefore Dr. Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, the renowned historian and former director of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW), has been engaged as a critical adviser.

We had been unaware of the historical and moral issues for a long time and wanted now to face the critical questions of this period. We regret deeply that we had not reacted appropriately before. We now made it our task to process these relationships scientifically.
This work was started immediately under the direction of the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance and was completed by mid-2020. Find here a short chronology of our history reappraisal:

The pre-owners

Paul Robitschek and his mother Johanna (photos: archives Bernhard Herrman)

Visit

On September 13th 2018, Juanita Robitschek, the niece of Paul Robitschek from Caracas / Venezuela visited WINZER KREMS.

» read more

Interim Report & memorial plaque

On July 3rd 2019, WINZER KREMS presented an interim report on the reappraisal of the company's founding history and uncovered a memory plaque. The final report is expected to be ready in autumn 2019.

» Download interim report (pdf, German)

» Download press information (pdf, German)

» link: video (youtube)

Visit from Israel

On August 6th 2019, the Israeli ambassador in Vienna, Talya Lador-Fresher, visited the WINZER KREMS. She was impressed by the professional processing of the history and the presentation of the memorial plaque.

New documents

Nov. 5th, 2019

Mrs. Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, head of the commission which was charged with the reappraisal of our founding history, informed us that new documents were found. Therefore the final report, which was announced for autumn 2019, will retard.

Final Report

Juni 17th, 2020

In May 2020, the commission charged with processing the founding history of Winzer Krems completed the final report and handed it over to WINZER KREMS on June 17th, 2020.

The four authors of the publication:

  • Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, former scientific director of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW)
  • Gerhard Baumgartner, current scientific director of the DÖW
  • Bernhard Herrman, historian
  • Robert Streibel, historian

In summary, the Aryanization of the Robitschek family´s possessions in the Sandgrube in Krems was on the one hand a complicated and on the other hand well documented process with different interests within the Nazi authorities involved. The restitution proceedings after the war lasted several years and ended with a settlement in 1949, which was quite usual in Austria in these times.

It is beyond discussion that a great injustice was committed at that time. Today, WINZER KREMS is aware of its historical and moral responsibility and, with the publication of the final scientific report, reaffirms its commitment to tolerance, diversity and the indivisibility of human rights.

>> download final report (pdf, german)*
>> download attachment - chronology (pdf, german)*

*Any further use of these documents requires the consent of the authors and Winzer Krems.

Winzer Krems milestones

Follow us on a time travel through our history!

Winzer Krems milestones

Follow us on a time travel through our history!

April 13th, 1938

Resolution to found a cooperative wine-growers association

1939

Until 1938 parts of the winery in the Sandgrube were owned by the Jewish wine merchant Paul Robitschek and his mother Johanna. After the annexation of Austria to the national-socialist Germany, Robitschek fled Austria. His winery was "arianised " and acquired by the Winzergenossenschaft Krems in 1939. In 1948 a restitution procedure took place.
This dark period of National Socialism in the history of WINZER KREMS was reviewed by the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) from 2018 to 2020.

(see also "historical responsibility")

1943

Harvest and weighing in the single vineyard "Frechau"

1956

The officials of WINZER KREMS in 1956.

1961

WINZER KREMS´ first wine trademark: The "Kremser Schmidt" is presented.

1961

The winery of WINZER KREMS in 1961.

1964

"Kremser Schmidt" advertisment on a tramway in Vienna.

1970

Winzer Krems stand at the fair "Alles für den Gast".

1989

Franz Hellmer, managing director since 1956, retires and hands over his duties to Franz Ehrenleitner.

1995

The first accordion festival at WINZER KREMS - the precursor of the GLATT & VERKEHRT world music festival.

» Glatt & Verkehrt music festival

2001

Opening of the modernized filling & bottling station.

2003-2005

From 2003 to 2005, a new wine cellar, press house and grape collecting technology are built.

May 2005

Eduard Felsner, chairman since 1987, retires and hands over his duties to Franz Bauer.

August 2005

Opening of the new wine cellar & wine experience tour "SANDGRUBE 13 wein.sinn".

2005

The winery of WINZER KREMS after the rebuilding.

2011

The 50th anniversary of the brand "KREMSER SCHMIDT".

2014

Opening of the new Vinothekkeller Bründlgraben.

2019

Franz Ehrenleitner, managing director since 1989, hands over his duties to Ludwig Holzer.

2020

Franz Bauer, chairman since 2005, retires and hands over his duties to Florian Stöger.