Love and Joy as a Recipe for Success

Christine Saahs is a biodynamic winemaker, hostess and cookbook author.

The Demeter-certified winery “Nikoleihof” is in Wachau, a wine region 70 kilometers west of Vienna. Owned by the Saahs family since 1894, it rests on the foundations of a 2000-year-old Roman castle and is the oldest inhabited building in Austria.

When Christine Saahs married her husband 52 years ago, she took over her in-laws’ vineyard—six hectares of land in poor condition. Due to scarce financial resources at the time, she was forced to cultivate the vineyards in a natural way. This later proved to be a blessing. Today, the vineyard has grown to 22 hectares and their wines are now exported to 46 countries.

Thanks to a family friend, the anthroposophical physician Jutta Scheich, Christine Saahs was introduced to Rudolf Steiner’s work and thus to biodynamic agriculture. This approach conflicted with her environment, because her mother-in-law, the people in the neighbourhood and the farm team were convinced that this approach could be the downfall of the farm. However, quite the opposite happened and the farm experienced rapid economic success—the wines were full of vitality and their quality lasted for decades. In addition, Christine Saahs’ love and joy of working with people helped her build an international trade network. Wine trading used to be a man’s business and she was always asked whether her husband would allow her to do this work. Undeterred, she traveled to Japan, among other places, where she successfully sold her wines in prestigious hotels.

Still, even after 44 years, Saahs’ restaurant is her heart’s delight because she loves receiving guests. Today, many come, especially young women, to learn more about the healthy Demeter diet. This is why Saahs has started publishing cookbooks. However, the greatest success for her is having been able to teach her four children anthroposophy as a basis for life and passing on a healthy earth to the next generation.

Translation Eliza Rozeboom
Photo Harald Eisenberg, 2018

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