The so-called “Genussregal” gourmet shop is a culinary display at the entrance to the vinophile destination of Southern Styria. People come here to enjoy an overview of the regional products as well as to hear the stories about this particular landscape in Southeastern Styria. It comes as no surprise, then, that travelling from the Styrian Volcano gourmet district we first “have to stop here” before heading to our accommodation for the night. Katja, of the German travel blog Wellspa-Portal, is amazed at the creative container display that appears as a hallmark of the “Vinofaktur Genussregal” at the entrance to the Southern Styrian Wine Route. I nod at her knowingly, thinking back of my last visit here together with the international travel bloggers Terry & Sarah Lee (of Live ShareTravel) and Janett Schindler, of Teilzeitreisender.de. Nice. Very good food, and most enjoyable – last but not least thanks to the warm welcome of Dagmar Brauchart and her team (thank you for your positive engagement also during this visit, dear Dagmar!). Listen to her when she asks you: “Do you want to kick off your visit with a typical Styrian starter, scrambled eggs served with pumpkin seed oil?”
My tip for you: Just say YES (even with possible language difficulties in understanding the “Styrian barking” or the “Austrian English” accent in general – most people speak very good English here anyway). And of course, you are always in good hands among the warm-hearted, happy Styrian people anyway. 😀
Travelling to our Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg, we pass the largest “Klapotetz” in the whole world. Upon arrival, our host & managing director Thomas Prenneis is there for us, meaning we go straight to the wine tasting cellar.
Of course, you may say: After all, we are in the winesome wonderland of Southern Styria! But: What on Earth is a “Klapotetz“?
Just past the “Vinofaktur Genussregal” is the beginning of the South Styrian Wine Road. On the way to our winesome accommodation for the night, we pass the most important little towns of this wine district: Ehrenhausen. Glanz. Gamlitz. Schlossberg. And finally: The Pössnitzberg hill. High up on the steep slopes of this beautiful country, our eyes are happy to wander off into the distance, our ears notice nothing but peace and quiet whereas all our senses immediately warm to the delicate green of spring. Here, the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg is located along with its sparkling wine cellar, the “Kreuzwirt” restaurant and the estate of the family and business empire Polz, “la Grande Dame” among all the renowned South Styrian wine-growing families. Of the family, we later meet Erich, Walter, Margaret and Lukas Polz; for now, we simply enjoy the pleasure of our charming host Thomas Prenneis’ company. He is very happy to have us and show us around, soon passing to the most famous part of the visit: The Polz sparkling wine cellar. “Now, let us start with a small tasting, so I may relax from my last six-hour meeting, too,” he says in a cheerful voice. More than two hours later, we are brimming with (information about) WINE and the South Styrian wine district, as well as lots of adventure stories concerning Thomas Prenneis’ globetrotting career. He really takes time for us and is a host through & through. Finally, the old saying applies: Talking, (wine) and sharing stories brings people together. At the end of the evening, we are all friends. And swear to come back soon. In vino veritas ? …
Last but not least, we meet with THE wine-growing family of Southern Styria: Polz. They own the “Vinofaktur Genussregal”, the Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg, several wine cellars, estates and Heurigen restaurants. Still (or simply because), they are most charming and down-to-earth!
Margret Polz loves to garden at the “Genussregal” only to greet us a little later at her winery wearing a traditional Dirndl dress. Walter Polz pays us his respects during the previous sparkling wine tasting with Thomas Prenneis at Hotel Gut Pössnitzberg. Lukas Polz is due for taking his final exams at school and enjoys hosting us to a “cool”, guided wine cellar tour. And Erich Polz? “Greetings from Anna!” I tell him smiling, my dear friend Anna having worked nearly a decade at the family wine estate here in Southern Styria. “Oh, dear Anna!” Erich smiles, remembering her well. He immediately starts by telling us a story, and fortunately for our own interest has no intention of stopping any time soon. His stories are incredibly exciting, the excellent (sparkling) wine tasting in the morning adding to the general sense of comfort. “Do you realise why Styrian apple taste the way they taste?” Passion gleams in his eyes when he talks. “Here in Southern Styria, we benefit from a unique microclimate of cool nights and hot days with sufficient rainfall. Together with the soil, this benefits both our fruit and our wine to an outstanding degree: Our apples have already been awarded in Paris as part of a world exhibition some 100 years ago … The idea of starting the “Genussregal” Southern Styrian gourmet shop came thinking of Provence in France, which represents the art of living ‘par excellence’: Regional, local products and the highest quality. This is exactly what we want to showcase here in Southern Styria, too. We are really working with and across the region to present our wine and our products. Mutual respect for each other’s work has always been there. I could never say anything bad about the others, because literally every one produced really good wine. We can only move forward by working together, and you too are here to help us with that today!”
This is how you make travel bloggers, and wine growers, happy at the same time. Erich Polz, we can already see that, is a man well-travelled and with clever foresight. We gladly would have stayed a little longer, if it wasn’t for “duty” calling us:
Lunch at the “Buschenschank” wine tavern Polz, run by the legendary Kohlenberger family. Legendary is what you would call the unique presentation of food and drink items here!
The last act of my gourmet travel article here for you is an act of few words. Those of you who have already fallen for the culinary and winesome Southern Styria wine-growing district will certainly be won over once more by the following gourmet “foodporn” photography. Gourmet is short for the pleasure we have had in tasting the following delights. See it for yourself, and thank you dear Walter Kohlenberger for the wonderful welcome here at the Buschenschank wine tavern at the South Styrian Wine Road!
Fancy even more “virtual & visual” impressions of the Styrian Volcano district, the wine district of Southern Styria or the Schilcherland wine district in Western Styria? My Flickr Photo Gallery takes you with me on a journey … :