In 1986, “Luis" Kracher, who was educated as a chemical engineer, went to work at his father's winery. Kracher was already known for its sweet wines and the young chemist quickly added to the winery's reputation. His timing was as good as his winemaking skill: he became a leader of the Austrian wine renaissance as well as its most recognizeable spokesman. Alois Kracher was named Winemaker of the Year" by Wine Magazine in London six times. In addition to the national and international awards, his wines received high praise from some of the world's most influential wine critics. All of this success and appreciation had turned Alois Kracher into Austrian wine's most globally-renowned luxury brand name.
Alois Kracher had worked tirelessly, not only for his own winery, but for the reputation of Austrian wine overall. He opened the door to the international markets for many of his fellow winemakers. His son, Gerhard, with the support of the Kracher family, will carry on the work of the great wine pioneer from Illmitz.
The question now for lovers of dessert wine is which direction the house of Kracher will take in the near future. Most of the sought-after dessert wines in the world are ‘branded’ by region: Sauternes, Port, Sherry, Banyuls. Kracher is virtually alone in having a house name that is instantly recognized, has a certain cachet and is simultaneously associated with both quality and value. In some circles, the MBA's would be urging a rapid expansion and diversification. As Austria's wine industry expands, the national wine board might be tempted to encourage Kracher to expand quickly and become a flagship.
Let's hope that the temptations are resisted and that this remarkable house remains faithful to the traditions-and the delicious wines-of Alois Kracher.
Lynn Hoffman is the author of bang BANG, a romantic thriller about sex, death and gun violence. He is also a wine and travel writer and author of The New Short Course in Wine