Two of a Kind

This is about two cottages and two humans that fell in love with this place.

It was love at first sight.

When Vießling was still its own municipality, the old winemaker's house had a long history, once serving as the mayor's house of the village. Even later, it had its reputation as a social center, being one of the first houses in the area to have television. In 2017, after a long search, we first discovered the Spitzer Graben and the house, and it was immediately clear to us that we wanted to stay here. At that time, we were only looking for a holiday home with top-priority being located in a wine-growing region. Today, we have put down roots here and consider it our second home when we drive from Linz to Vießling. This is exactly the feeling we want to convey to all guests in our apartments.

In a first step, in 2018, we completely renovated the old building – our stone house. During the renovation, we put particular emphasis on local craftsmanship. The house was made winter-proof with underfloor and wall heating, the larch wood box windows come from a carpenter in the Waldviertel just a few kilometers from Vießling, and a tiled stove with a table cooker, which provides cozy warmth especially in the winter months and during transitional periods, was built by Jürgen Rajh, a friend from Graz. The controlled residential ventilation ensures that we always enter freshly ventilated rooms, even if we cannot be in the house for two or three weeks. Additionally, the ceiling was removed throughout the building to create a retreat in the over-high rooms, where one feels surrounded by the vineyards through the large glass front.

After its completion in 2018, the idea of ​​building a twin house on the same property quickly arose. The old barn that was no longer present should be rebuilt to complement the winemaker's house. Architecturally, we were guided by the basic idea of ​​re-interpretating the characteristic features of the old winemaker's house in a contemporary way. Thus, a concrete floor was created in the lower part, and above it, a sustainable wooden construction emerged, characterized by a distinctive open wooden cladding made of rough-sawn larch slats. Similar to the old building, the layout is not rectangular but widens towards the courtyard. On the other side, facing the vineyards, the building opens up with large glass surfaces and a spacious terrace overlooking the prime locations of the Spitzer Graben.

In the interior, glass, large-scale claddings made of white-lacquered spruce wood, and deliberately untreated exposed concrete dominate. All floors are made of concrete, in the polished version, providing a simple and very elegant solution. Visually, the floor is intended to bring the Danube gravel into the house. Gravel was also deliberately used as a design element in front of the house. In summer, the floor provides cooling, while during transitional periods and in winter, the underfloor heating ensures that you prefer to walk barefoot through the house all year round. The new house also features controlled residential ventilation, which ensures good ventilation while preventing annoying insect visitors indoors.

To harmoniously blend into the existing village landscape, it had to be a gabled roof again, with a roof-integrated photovoltaic system serving its purpose sustainably on both surfaces. The sloping terrain, combined with the descending ridge, allows us, on one hand, to comply with the building height regulations imposed by the authorities, and on the other hand, to accommodate the two small apartments at both ends of the building. The large apartment spans the entire building with staggered floors. At the upper end, facing the courtyard, a small apartment sits above the bedroom, while at the lower end, facing the vineyard, the second apartment is hidden under the terrace.

The original plan envisioned the "Enoteca Vießling" in place of the large apartment. We thought of a combination of a wine shop, direct sales point for selected wineries from the Spitzer Graben area, and a mini-trattoria with a maximum of about ten seats. Hence, the very generously sized terrace and a brick pizza oven outdoors, in close proximity to the wine cellar beneath the winemaker's house. Since we are still engaged in our activities in Linz and finding an operator proved more challenging than hoped, we initially realized the apartments instead of the "Enoteca." However, all the necessary provisions have been made in the construction to possibly make the "Enoteca" a reality in the future.

Our great passions are wine and our road bikes. On many weekends, we come from Linz to the Wachau, mostly via the hills of the Mühl- and Waldviertel, with our bikes, and then enjoy the peace and seclusion of the Spitzer Graben, just a few kilometers away from the hustle and bustle along the Danube cycle path. When you enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace in the evening, preferably from one of our neighbors, you can't imagine why light pollution is talked about everywhere. Light pollution is a virtually unknown phenomenon in the Spitzer Graben. And what is even less known is the mystique of the Spitzer Graben in winter when the fog rising from the Danube clears and reveals the view of the vineyards covered in hoarfrost. With a bit of luck, there's snow on the vineyards. Our absolute insider tip ...