“Nikolaihof is the oldest wine estate in Austria, whose history goes back almost 2000 years to Roman times. In the walls of Nikolaihof can be found remains of the early Christian Agapit basilica in which Bishop Pilgrim of Passau held a synod in 985 A.D. In 1075 the former ‘Freihof' was referred to in a document as the central administrative seat of the Passau monastery of St Nikola; the present-day chapel was established by the Augustinian canons of this monastery.
"Wine has been produced here since the time of the Celts. The first documentary evidence of this dates from around 470 A.D. in the time of St Severin and the Romans. Cellar established in Roman Crypt The foundations of the house date back to a Roman horseshoe-shaped tower and a fort made of wood and earth, which existed way back in 63 B.C.. The cellar itself was constructed in a Roman crypt, and as the floor level has sunk by about three feet in a thousand years, the ‘year rings' are still clearly visible on the walls.
"The Saahs family operates in accordance with the regulations of the Demeter Association, one of the strictest control systems of organic agriculture. Its principles may be very roughly summed up as follows: to get as much power and energy as possible into the wine whilst interfering with nature as little as possible. In the Nikolaihof vineyards no herbicides, pesticides, artificial fertilisers nor synthetic sprays are used, but stinging nettle manure, valerian drops, valerian tea and other specially produced preparations, which are applied in highly diluted form like homeopathic medicines, are used.
"The whole farm or enterprise must be run along biodynamic guidelines. Regular state inspections ensure that these working principles are properly applied. The biodynamic wine estate is regulated through the Austrian wine code, the Austrian foodstuffs codex and the EU directive ‘Ecological Agriculture'. The Moon also has its Part to Play For planting and harvesting times the Saahs family refers to the moon calendar – a sort of tightrope balancing act between sensible measures and the esoteric, as Christine Saahs admits.”