The trend is unbroken – barrels from Lower Austria as an export hit

You often have to look for success stories: you can find what you are looking for in Sitzenberg-Reidling in the Tulln district. Here Gernot Schön runs an old-school cooperage in the third generation. “Tradition and craftsmanship are very important to us,” says the boss. The production facility is still being modernized on an ongoing basis.

In 1933 Gernot Schön’s grandfather founded a cooperage in Würmla, but because the winemakers had switched to plastic and steel tanks, they switched to winery supplies. “But we haven’t given up barrel binding,” says Schön during a visit to the company by Jochen Danninger, Member of the State for Economic Affairs. And that was lucky: after the wine scandal, many producers returned to the old values. This also increased the demand for wooden barrels. The old location in the center of the village quickly became too small, and the company moved to the industrial area in Sitzenberg-Reidling. In 2019, the Schöns built their own workshop here with the support of the Bürgschaften- und Beteiligungen GmbH NÖBEG.

With an area of ​​1000 m2, the new company headquarters is not only large enough for the 400 or so barrels that are made here by hand every year, but also secures 15 jobs. Including two apprentices, as Schön emphasizes: “We attach great importance to training, I taught at the vocational school in Pöchlarn for many years.” In Austria the craft of cooperage is only taught there – the apprentices from Germany also come to Lower Austria .

Back to Sitzenberg-Reidling: “We primarily produce wine barrels, 80 percent for export,” says Schön. The main customer is Italy, America and Australia are also supplied. “We tailor our kegs to the needs of our customers.” The demand for beer, cider and whiskey kegs is also increasing.

Traditional and innovative
The wood waste, mainly oak from Lower Austria, is processed in the in-house wood chip plant. The modern drum processing machine is fed by electricity from photovoltaics on the roof. “Traditional and innovative craft companies like VBS Schön are model companies in Lower Austria”, praised Provincial Councilor Danninger.