This piece of land is different from the rest of Southern Styria. The vineyard slopes are much steeper, everything is a little narrower and more winding, quieter, sleepier. Here is where one can find ancient soils, a Palaeozoic type of slate from the Palaeozoic era dating back between 300 and 350 million years. The highest point of the Sausal Mountains is the Demmerkogel, sitting at 671 metres above sea level. On its Southern side, at nearly 600 metres above sea level, is exactly where Wilhelmshöhe, and our wine estate, is located.
The origin of the Sausal name lies in the Latin "solva silva" for Sulmwald, from which the term Susal was derived in the Middle Ages. The hypothetical derivation of "Sau-Suhle" due to the abundance of wild boar in the area is not scientifically justified. This region, with one of Austria's oldest wine origin designations, is famous for its minerally wines with delicate smoky flavors derived from the shale. Viticulture has existed here since Roman times, often practiced by the clergy since the beginning of the 12th century. In the Sausal in those days, the archbishops of Salzburg directed their local farmers to cut down the forests to plant vines. In addition to grapes, chestnuts, pumpkins, and various types of fruit such as figs and kiwis also thrive in this region due to its Mediterranean-influenced climate.
The climate in the Sausal is Illyrian Mediterranean, characterized by strong temperature differences. On one hand, the southern sunshine heats strongly during the day, on the other hand, the area cools down just as strongly at night due to the proximity of the Koralpe - a mountain range of the Noric Alps between the Mur and Lavant rivers. These fluctuations give the grapes complex flavors and a concise acid structure, part of the Sausal wines’ character.
The Sausal soils represent one special feature, consisting of 85% various types of slate, and 15% shell limestone. These barren soils ensure slow vine growth and low yields. They characterize the wines, which express an often salty mineral character and a certain smokiness.