Our family and farm
Our farm provides a home for our large family. Initially, only one of the three sons was expected to remain at home, while the other two were supposed to go and build their future on “solid ground” by becoming lawyers or doctors. However, all three children had a stronger desire to pursue farming. Guided by our preferences, each of us found our respective fields of expertise, and our parents provided us with the necessary setting and freedom to fulfil our potential. When our parents realised that all their children were serious about remaining at the family home, they found no risk or effort too great to grow our smallholding into a bigger farm which could support several families.
Today, each son has the privilege to do the type of work which initially drew his interest: Werner, who spent more of his childhood around the wine press than on playgrounds; Hannes, who already as a child had a fascination for tractors; and Lukas, who had always felt drawn towards plants and animals.
The farm`s cycle of life
The noblest form of agriculture is one that maintains its own fertility and therefore also becomes self-sufficient. This is a high ideal and a life task which must be considered on every level.
When one manages to take individual areas and form an interdependent entity from them; when the simple, sparse pastures are as important on the farm as the lovingly looked-after vineyards; when the smell of a cow pat receives the same recognition as the aromas of a wine; when haymaking is placed on the same priority level as harvesting grain; when the plants benefit from the same love and care as the animals, then the result is an organism carried by creative people whose work constitutes their life.
Pamhagen lies nestled in a steppe landscape, on a geological line situated at the deepest point of Austria. On one side of the village there is barren land which was used as pastures long ago and which is now ideal for wine. Back then, the region extending from the village in the direction of Hungary stood true to its name “Seewinkel” (lake corner), with its multitude of ponds and marshlands. These were eventually drained through the Einser Channel, and the most fertile land was cultivated. This man-made channel leading from Lake Neusiedl (Neusiedlersee) right through to the Raab, became a border river and formed part of the Iron Curtain which practically encircled our village, creating a secluded life for us over many decades.
It is this border region that our family has called home for many generations. The village used to be Hungarian before the First World War, but was later allocated to Austria. A part of the village land remained in Hungary, until communism expropriated it. After the fall of communism and the reopening of the borders, it was Anneliese and Werner Senior’s life’s dream to expand their small 40 ha farm to 100 ha, and to cultivate the Hungarian fields once again.
The view over the border, the opportunities, but also the need to expand the farm sufficiently for three children made the farm grow – it was an endeavour full of risk and enterprise. Today the farm spans over 2000 ha, but Meinklang is actually still exactly what one used to find everywhere in the region long ago: a multi-faceted, independent and self-sufficient mixed farm run on gut feel and instinct.