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SONNENTOR and Waldviertel

Unobtrusive and quiet – that’s the impression you get of Waldviertel.
The air is crystal clear.

You don’t only live here, you experience life in a very intense way - when you stroll through the rolling hills, enjoy the sparkling waters and cool forests or behold astonishing rock formations.
Waldviertel is enchanting, but it is also harsh.
Not everyone is persistant enough to take on the challenges of the land. The land seems to be rough but it wants to be treated gently.
The granite ground without much fertile top soil, high temperature fluctuation and the dry continental climate are ideal conditions for herbs like peppermint, sage and mint.
These herbs love the sandy soil which perfectly retains the warmth and power of the sun: they love the silicium in the granite because it reflects the suns’s rays and intensifies the light; and the daily dew provides the moisture the herbs need to reach their full potential. And because they like these conditions so much, they stay there for several years.
Annual varieties like marigold, sunflower and common mallow thrive under these conditions, maybe this is also because no fertilizers and pesticides disrupt the natural balance.

A place in the sun
Natur needs experienced and helping hands. Trusting hands look after her. There are lots of these hands here in the Waldviertel. The knowledge about the power of herbs is passed on from generation to generation. This happens naturally because several generations still live under one roof, even today, in beautiful traditional farmhouses which doors adorn a big carved sun: the SONNENTOR. Its 24 rays give the people the energy the need - and protect the farm from harm.
The story goes that the farms which carry the sun symbol will exist as long as the sun rises and sets – eternally.
Yes, that’s what the people here are like: deeply connected with their traditions and their land.

A brand is born
Johannes Gutmann, who is from the region around Zwettl, knows about the power of the sun symbol. He appreciates the deep connection that people have with their land and the land’s purity and naturalness.
One day, in his mid twenties, he had an idea.
Why not pass on the ancient knowledge of herbs and their benefits?
To all these people who have had anough of buying bad quality, who are health concious and at the same time, resepect the environment; people with a strong awareness of their diet.
The secret had been out, that good food is beneficial for your body.
He was ready for action.
In 1988 Johannes Gutmann and three like minded farmers founded "SONNENTOR" and from then on professionally marketed their organic products under the label of the laughing sun.
This venture was so successful, that eighteen years later, 150 farmers from Austria and abroad supply SONNENTOR with raw materials and over 100 staff members work in the main plant in Sprögnitz.
And each year they are growing.
They work in tune with the land and the rhythm of nature. Their whole heart and soul goes into their work, they make use of what they have got and embrace life.
Their customers appreciate the company as a reliable partner with qualities like great work ethics and full traceablility.
It is always evident where products come from and how they were grown and processed.

Award winning Quality
The word spread quickly, worldwide.
At present 90% of organic products are going into the export market; from the whole of Europe to Australasia.
Therefore, this Lower Austria producer of Organic Trademark Products was given a very special award; the Austrian Export Prize in the trade category.
The winners are selected by an independent panel of judges from the economy, science and press. Also awarded were originality and innovation.
It is not surprising that the sun on the SONNENTOR logo has such a beautiful smile.