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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meeting the Sattlers...

Our first stop on Thursday after we settled into our hotel was the Weinbau Sattler, a little winery run by Erich Sattler in Tadten, just a couple of miles from Andau which is the area where my Sattler family came from. I assume there is some relation between me and Erich but don't know for sure.

I had looked at the Weinbau Sattler web site but had not contacted Erich ahead of time. We found the winery which is on the main street through Tadten - we had expected something out in the country. We brought with us the article from the International Wall Street Journal from February that had reported on the great Austrian wines and noted a Weinbau Sattler red as one of the best.

The sign for the Sattler winery on the main street though Tadten. In the background is the memorial for the men from Tadten who died in WWI and WWII. There are many Sattlers and a couple of Tischlers listed.

We went through a big wooden door from the street and entered the compound. We didn't see anyone and so continued to the back where we found the tasting room. We also found the door to the wine storage warehouse and rang the bell. After a few minutes an older gentleman came out and we tried to explain that we were looking for Erich. He didn't speak English but we understood that he wasn't in now but would be later. We thanked him and left to explore Andau.

We returned a couple of hours later and this time found Erich at home and I explained that I was doing some genealogy research on Sattlers and thought we might be related. His English was quite good and he graciously invited us to sit and have a chat. He brought out some of his wine (and apple juice for Noah) and I showed him a summary of my Sattler line and asked him if he recognized any or thought we were related. His answer, with a shrug, was "All Sattlers in Burgenland are related". He is a low key guy and I got the impression that he didn't really see the point of trying to find old relatives. Kathy sees a family resemblance, and I guess I do as well in the weak chin (which is nice way of saying no chin).

I asked him if business had picked up after he was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article and he had a blank look. He was not aware that one of his reds was proclaimed one of the best in Europe by one of the best known papers in the world. We gave him the copy of the article that we had brought with us and he seemed proud and happy.

We bought 13 bottles of his wine and then returned the next day and bought 8 more. The prices were very reasonable. The red wine mentioned in the Journal was listed at $32 a bottle at retail, but at his winery it can be had for about $12 a bottle. Again he brought out wine and apple juice and we had another nice visit.

I still don't know for sure if Erich and I are related or how, but I will keep looking with the help of my cousin, Rick. Rick and his wife plan to visit Burgenland next year and I let Erich know that he would probably be having more visitors. We also got the name of Erich's distributor in the US and we hope to be able to buy more of the Weinbau Sattler wine when we get back home.

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