In a word - Christoph Hammel stirs up the wine scene

"I was unhappy up to the point of death"

Christoph Hammel runs the family winery, which was founded in 1723, together with his brother Martin, who takes care of the finances. His son Markus is already in the starting blocks. Currently he is still studying at the Weincampus Neustadt, but has only one year of studies ahead of him. Of course he wants to look around in the wine world a bit after that - maybe he'll go to Austria or New Zealand - but then he'll join the winery. So the succession is secured.

There was almost an interruption in the 80s: "You're going to Klosterneuburg! Period!", his father decided for the then 17-year-old because he met the headmaster of the educational establishment in Bordeaux, not far from Vienna. A war veteran like himself, with similar experiences and convictions, who impressed him. Christoph Hammel was therefore sent to Vienna at the age of 17 to study viticulture in Klosterneuburg. "I was unhappy up to the point of death," he reports and seeks advice from the headmaster of his former school. He knew of his protégé's enthusiasm for theatre and paid a visit to the Hammels without further ado. "Your son must not become a grape picker", he tried to convince his father, but the thunderstorm after the interfering visit was great and Christoph Hammel had to return to Klosterneuburg. Of course he is happy about this consequence today - and so are we. Because otherwise the wine scene would have to do without one of its most lively protagonists.

Christoph Hammel makes wine in the 8th generation and tells with pride about the generations before him, for whom wine also came first. "My grandfather was a do man who was incredibly successful after the war," he reports. "He made a million bottles of Portuguese." In former times there was only red wine in this area, especially Portuguese was en vogue at that time. His grandfather looked for the role models in France and so the whole family was francophile. Even today the name of the winery Hammel & Cie. indicates the French connection. "Cie." used to be the abbreviation for Compagnie and describes the classic trading company. "We have always been drawn to it," says Christoph Hammel, who spent some time in South Africa even after his training. It was also a station that had a great influence on him.

The family history of the Hammels is a record of German wine history; it is exciting to hear what Christoph Hammel has to report. He carries his heart on his tongue, speaks without a dot and comma - about everything that comes straight to his mind. Spending time with him is instructive intensive theatre. But Christoph Hammel is free of airs and graces the stage with gorgeous comedy, but never superficial, rather serious and with great depth, only to laugh himself to death the next moment over a good joke or a self-story. And that's exactly what his wines are like, which rightly receive one award after the other. Multifaceted, modern, dazzling and profound.

Dies ist eine gekürzte Version des Interviews aus der Ausgabe 2/2020 der Meiningers Weinwelt (Text: Ilka Lindemann) und wurde uns für Sie zur Verfügung gestellt.