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    Wineries in South Tyrol

    There are more than 200 wineries in South Tyrol where tasting, purchasing and discovering everything about outstanding South Tyrolean wine is on the agenda. Some are smaller operations that grow only one type of grape as well as cooperatively managed, larger wineries. In South Tyrol, wine and architecture are issues which are becoming increasingly interrelated. For example, many wineries are architecturally magnificent constructions that have been carefully integrated into the rural landscape. Details about South Tyrol’s many wineries, including opening times, bars and wine tastings, are available here.

    Griesserhof Winery
    Vahrn/Varna, Brixen/Bressanone and environs
    Creating wines with character. That is the goal of Paul Huber at the Griesserhof in Varna. The winery is one of the northernmost in Alto Adige and focuses above all else on white wines. But Zweigelt and Pinot Noir are also grown there.

    The foundation for winegrowing in Varna was created by the Ice Age. Gigantic glaciers left behind a fertile moraine hill there on which today primarily white wine grapes grow. Huber uses three separate vineyards at his Griesserhof: Gols, Gall, and Rigger.

    The Gols hill lies in the middle of the valley, with the vineyards directly at the farmhouse. Wine grapes were grown here as early as the fourteenth century, as was recorded in the records of the Novacella monastery. So it is no wonder that the loamy, sandy soil is in fact ideal for a series of grape varieties. “For us, Gols is the best location for our Sylvaner,” Huber says. Gall, on the other hand, which is located at an impressive elevation of 800 meters, is the cultivation area for the Kerner of the Griesserhof, while Rigger in the warm basin in the Val Riga provides the best conditions for expressive Veltliner wines.

    “It holds true for all of our locations that we only press the grapes with the best quality and work with them according to the most modern of standards of winery technology,” the winegrower explains, and adds with a few clear words, “It is important to us to make wines with their own character.”
    Weingut in der Eben
    Bolzano/Bozen, Bolzano/Bozen and environs
    The Weingut in der Eben in Cardano was one of the first estate wineries to have been operated organically. As a pioneer at that time, Johannes Plattner moved forward, and his son Urban not only follows his father’s path today, but pushes ahead himself: with biodynamic management and “living wines”.

    The Weingut in der Eben estate winery on the plain in Cardano has been in the possession of the Plattner family since 1982, and the grapes from three hectares of vineyards have been cultivated since 1996. It is Johannes Plattner who is to be thanked for these steps, although his son Urban has been at the controls since 2011. He converted the growing operation to biodynamic cultivation. Through the sowing of grasses and herbs, he promotes the diversity of species in the vineyard and thus also the beneficial insects which, in conjunction with prudent leaf care and selective harvesting, provides for healthy grapes.

    Not only has Urban Plattner continued developing the method of management, he has also fundamentally changed the style of the wines of the Weingut in der Eben. Thus from Schiava, Pinot Noir, Malvasia, Merlot, Lagrein, and Sauvignon Blanc, wines of a completely particular type come into existence, “living wines” as Plattner calls them. He goes on to explain, “I allow my wines to ferment spontaneously and age them for a very long time in large wooden barrels because only with time, patience, hardly any sulfur, and the correct sensitivity do they take on the depth that I wish them to have.”

    In the end, another part of the particular drinking experience is that all of the wines from the estate winery on the plain in Cardano come to the market unfiltered. In fact, as living wines.
    WeineWolf Winery
    Eppan an der Weinstaße/Appiano sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    WeineWolf – the product of a passion for nature. “Making wine from what Mother Nature provides” – that is the philosophy that persuaded Wolfgang Ladurner to become a vintner. What was originally a dream developed over the years into a project and was finally fulfilled in the form of a winery of his own. As a boy, he spent many days in the vineyards and became familiar with the rhythm of the vines. In 1990 Wolfgang Ladurner founded W.Ladurner GmbH, a company that specialized in importing and selling recycling plants. But at the back of his mind he was always dreaming of making his own wine. In 2002 he moved a step closer to his goal by buying a first plot of land, which he started to cultivate in 2004.

    How he was going to do it was clear from the start: His vineyard was to be terraced and laid out for dense planting to obtain optimum results from the site. Step by step, he hunted out other sites in Caldaro that had the location, climate and soil to offer ideal conditions for wine-growing. With the foundation of the WeineWolf company in 2013, Wolfgang Ladurner’s childhood dream of making wine out of a passion for nature finally came true. His next goal is to build his own cellar, a project that will bring the Ladurner family and lovers of wines from WeineWolf still closer together.
    Tenuta J. Hofstätter
    Tramin an der Weinstraße/Termeno sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    In 1907, Josef Hofstätter founded a winery in Termeno which has developed today into the largest family estate winery in all of Alto Adige. Although the designation “Alto Adige” restricts the sphere of activity of J. Hofstätter too much, since the view of the Foradori family that runs it does in fact extend beyond the provincial borders. Far beyond.

    Areas of cultivation of 50 hectares in the west and the east of the Bassa Atesina, in the south of Trentino and, as the first winegrower from Italy, even to the Saarland in Germany are tended under the direction of Martin Foradori and the J. Hofstätter brand. But no matter how broad the sphere of activity is, the philosophy always remains the same: “In Alto Adige, Hofstätter has been the forerunner with the idea of location, and thus the orientation that wines should taste like the location in which the grapes mature,” Foradori explains.

    Soils, climate, elevation: all of these should be reflected by the wines of J. Hofstätter. “Seven of our wines carry the Vigna designation of origin, a rating that is comparable to the French ‘Grand Cru,’” says Foradori, who traces the idea of location back to a simple piece of wisdom: “When the grape variety and the location interact, a unique wine comes into existence.”

    Added to that is a gentle working of the vineyards, which has a long traditions at J. Hofstätter: “Early on, we made use of a gentle kind of vine pruning, minimized the interventions, and let healthy, strong grapevines grow,” the winegrower explains. And there is also an obligation with the selection of varieties. They focus on local grapes: Pinot Blanc, Lagrein, Schiava, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir.
    Winery Castel Juval Unterortl
    Naturns/Naturno, Meran/Merano and environs
    An estate winery also lives from strong personalities. The Castel Juval Unterortl Estate Winery in Castelbello at the entrance to the Val Senales has three at the same time: the king of mountain climbing, Reinhold Messner, is the owner, and Gisela and Martin Aurich run it as tenants. Three heads for one estate winery, so to speak.

    While Reinhold Messner most likely needs no further introduction, in the context of his estate winery it is worthwhile to take a closer look at the Aurichs. They have dedicated themselves to wine and distilled spirits since 1992. In the Castel Juval Unterortl Estate Winery, they are responsible for 30,000 bottles that are produced here year after year: Müller Thurgau, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir, whose very particular character is passionately looked after by the Aurichs. As their credo goes, in the end it should be possible to taste the characteristics of the grape variety, the soil, and the microclimate.

    Their newest child is a rosé, with the description of which Martin Aurich waxes eloquently, “Our Pinot Noir rosé is salmon-colored, stimulating, and multifacetedly fruity, its flavor is seductively full and lasting,” says the winegrower, who has taken under his wing the production not only of wine, but also of grappa at the Castel Juval Unterortl Estate Distillery.

    With Martin and Gisela Aurich, the threads are woven together of the Castel Juval Unterortl Estate Winery and Estate Distillery. In the castle, they are the winegrowers and distillers of the king. The king of mountain climbing, but a king nevertheless.
    Pföstl Winery
    Schenna/Scena, Meran/Merano and environs
    Two friends, three locations, one project: with the Pföstl Estate Winery in Scena, Stefan Pföstl and Georg Weger have fulfilled a common childhood dream. Weger takes care of the vineyards and the winery, while Pföstl handles sales – including in the Schenna Resort that he runs. In addition to the fact that the foundation of the Pföstl Estate Winery is based upon a sandbox friendship, there are above all else three thoroughly different locations that distinguish the estate winery. Thus there are grape growing areas in Merano, Scena, Lana, and Pochi that are managed, all of which take advantage of a great deal of sun and heat.

    Each of these locations has a different climate and different soils and exposures and is therefore ideal for different grape varieties. “The fact that the whole is more than the sum of its parts also holds true for wine,” says Pföstl. “It is the interplay of soil, variety, weather, and human labor.”

    A large part of this work takes place in the vineyard and in the winery, “With passion and honesty,” as both Pföstl and Weger emphasize. It is thanks to the variety in locations that such a conceivably wide product line of wines has been established at the Pföstl Estate Winery. It ranges from Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio to Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir and all the way to the special Merano spa treatment grape, Schiava Grossa. Also in the range of the winery are two sparkling wines produced according to the classic method: A Blanc de Blancs and a Rosé sparkling wine.
    Finkhof Merano
    Meran/Merano, Meran/Merano and environs

    A statue of Blasius Trogmann stands in the Merano neighborhood of Maia Bassa, where a street is named after him, too. That is not a coincidence: Blasius Trogmann is regarded as Andreas Hofer’s most important ally in the Tyrolean Rebellion of 1809. A native of Merano, Trogmann had another passion apart from the one for his home, however: wine growing and winemaking.

    Blasius Trogmann was able to pursue that particular passion at his home, the Finkhof estate in Hagen, a Merano neighborhood with generous sunlight situated between the spa town proper and the Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens. A contemporary chronicler notes: “(...) in the quiet and tranquil grounds of Hagenach, the vines, turned toward the midday sun, cook a delicious juice.”

    People realized very early that Hagen was a suitable area for wine growing: the Finkhof estate was first mentioned in a document in 1213. In the 18th and early 19th century, the aforementioned Blasius Trogmann would be the one to work that land and deliver his wines all the way to the capital of the Austrian empire. Even today, more than 200 years later, the estate is still run by the Trogmann Innerhofer family. And they are still passionate about wine, which they also sell in their very own farm store, the Bottega contadina Merano. All four members of the family work in the business, making a living from wine growing.

    Wines produced by the Finkhof winery include a light and fruity Schiava (Vernatsch), an intense Merlot, and a complex Lagrein. In addition, traditional methods are used to process Schiava grapes into sparkling wine, which is sold under the brand name “Hagenach,” named for the area where it grows and matures. Last but not least, the range is rounded off with an elegant white cuvée bearing a name which proves that the people of the Merano Finkhof winery feel an obligation toward their family and estate heritage: it is called “Blasius.” 

    Niklas Winery
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Three generations of vintners – With a passion for wine-making

    We are down to earth, but also innovative. We have great respect for Nature, and cultivate grapes only at the appropriate locations. That describes, in a nutshell, the philosophy of the Niklas winery. We view our family heritage as a responsibility to shape and maintain a South Tyrolean wine-growing estate like no other. It embodies the know-how and motivation of three generations of vintners, and is a place where outstanding South Tyrolean red wines typical for their location are created. In the meantime, Dieter Sölva guides the estate’s continued development. Dieter learned the business from his father, Josef, the founder of the Niklas winery, whom he succeeded. Dieter’s son Michael is already adding his unique handwriting to the family business – whose wines are now being marketed throughout the world.
    Radoarhof Winery
    Feldthurns/Velturno, Brixen/Bressanone and environs
    The Radoarhof in Velturno is situated at no less than 850 meters above sea level – and directly at the Chestnut Path in the Valle Isarco. It is thus one of the highest winegrowing estates in Alto Adige. And one on which Edith and Norbert Blasbichler have been working strictly biodynamically for a quarter century: according to the phases of the moon, with herbal teas, and with exclusively natural yeasts.

    But biodynamic or not, it doesn’t matter: work is work. The leaf trimming of the vines that are up to forty years old takes place at the Radoarhof just like everywhere else, and it is also taken just as seriously. And yet the work in the vineyards of the Radoarhof that are situated at 900 meters and encompass three hectares differs fundamentally in many ways from those that are more conventional, and that is also reflected in the results: Norbert Blasbichler is convinced that “The use of biodynamic preparations, various herbal teas, the planting of greenery, and the consultation of the phases of the moon yield special grapes.”

    Contributions to the “special grapes” are also made by the slate soils and the constant sunshine. And they are also processed specially in the winery. For the fermentation, for instance, only natural yeast is used, and the wines – Müller Thurgau, Kerner, Zweigelt, and Pinot Noir – are allowed to mature after that for nine months, some of them in large oak barrels.

    And by the way: at this winegrowing estate so close to the sky, top-quality distilled spirits are also produced. Biodynamically, of course.
    Zollweghof Lana - organic farm
    Lana, Meran/Merano and environs
    For thirty years, Franz Josef Pfeifhofer has dedicated himself to organic and biodynamic cultivation. At the organic Zollweghof Estate Winery in Lana, he makes wines of the highest quality from fungus-resistant varieties and creates completely new wines – including one with lemon balm.

    The Zollweghof in Lana is a small, family-run winegrowing operation whose winery dates back to the fourteenth century. In these historical surroundings, winegrower Pfeifhofer matures his wines in old large wooden barrels and clay amphorae. In so doing, he uses long-established methods which only enhance the biodynamic cultivation at the estate. “My grapevines are fungus-resistant, so I hardly need to treat them: applying sulfur twice at the most suffices,” Pfeifhofer says.

    And doing all of the work in the vineyard by hand also fits in with this philosophy. And for the grower, there is no alternative, since the vineyard areas are so steep that work by machine would in any case be impossible.

    As a winegrower, Pfeifhofer has set for himself the goal of making “great, modern top wines” from fungus-resistant varieties. And to do so, he is prepared to travel unconventional paths. His glowing rosé sparkling wine “Swing”, for instance, is intended as an aperitif, while “Melissa gold” can be drunk as a digestive. “We have refined this wine with bee balm, thus combining the knowledge of organic wine with the knowledge of nature and herbs,” Pfeifhofer says.
    “This knowledge is ancient,” he adds. And yet totally new.
    Loacker Wine Estates
    Bolzano/Bozen, Bolzano/Bozen and environs
    That which is more and more gaining a foothold today was still being laughed at forty years ago. Rainer Loacker, the patriarch of the estate winery of the same name in Bolzano, didn’t care. He had already gotten started with biodynamic winegrowing back in the 1980s. Or, to put it better, he revved it up.

    That term is a much better description of the development that the Loacker Estate Winery has gone through up to today. For instance, in addition to the historical pillar in Alto Adige, two more were added. In the form of two estate wineries in Tuscany: one in Montalcino and one in Maremma.

    But it doesn’t matter where Loacker grapes grow: they are tended strictly biodynamically. “Because we have been doing that for so long, we have soils filled with life and we are also among the very few who use homeopathy in the vineyard,” Loacker explains. Added to that is a very particular form of green manure. In plain language, that means that in the winter, greenery is sown in the vineyards which makes artificial fertilizers superfluous. “We are open-minded thinkers and rebels, we challenge the status quo and the mainstream society,” the Loacker family announces.

    And it goes without saying that the open-minded thinking also continues in the winery. Thus all wines, including the bold Tasnim Sauvignon Blanc and the outstanding Gran Lareyn Lagrein are fermented only with their own natural yeast from that vintage. “Our natural wines are simply different,” the Loackers explain. “They have their own character, and they have a soul.
    Unterhofer Thomas Winery
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    If the search is for three terms that most accurately describe the Unterhofer Estate Winery in Pianizza di Sopra, they would indeed be: tied to nature, determined, and family-run.

    Let’s start with the term “family-run”: the Unterhofer Estate Winery is a family operation, and thus one in which not only has the operating family given its name by bearing the brunt of the work on their own shoulders, the wines that come into existence here are also imprinted with their very own stamp. At the same time, the term “family-run” describes a second aspect: the manageability, that “good things come in small packages”.

    The term “tied to nature” fits the Unterhofer Estate Winery because the entire philosophy is oriented toward this. “We work our largely very steep, airy slopes as close to nature as possible,” explains winegrower Thomas Unterhofer, “and we also view ourselves as caretakers of the landscape.”

    Landscape caretakers who in any case also produce wine with passion. And, in so doing, have clear goals in focus – so “determined”. Thus the motto applies in the winery to also bring the high grape quality that was achieved in the vineyards into the bottles. The results are expressive wines which, with the exception of Schiava, are for the most part white: Kerner, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Blanc. “Our wines are character wines,” Unterhofer adds, “unique, reflective of their vintage, and with a very personal signature.”
    Winery T. Pichler
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Thomas Pichler knows wine in all of its facets and, in fact, in greater detail than most others. And that is not just because he comes from a family of Caldaro winegrowers and therefore himself grew up with wine cultivation. Rather, it is because he has worked for nearly three decades in different wine laboratories. But since wine under laboratory conditions obviously was not sufficient for him, he also now produces wine himself – at the Thomas Pichler Estate Winery in Caldaro.

    The question that immediately comes to mind with such a career is: how does the know-how from the laboratory get transferred into practice? And the answer from Pichler is surprising: “With winemaking, I do not depend very much upon theory,” he says, “but rather with all of my decisions, I rely upon feeling, upon my nose and mouth.” In the end, it is not about bottling some trendy wine with all sorts of aids, but rather producing independent wines that are characteristic for the variety, area, and grower.
     The winegrower places correspondingly great value upon the selection of variety, whereby his heart lies above all else with indigenous grapes and classic wines.

    Thus Lago di Caldaro and Lagrein make up nearly half of the production, followed by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. And with sales, as well, Pichler follows the long-established routes. His wines are sold at the winery, at select wine bars, and to dining establishments.
    Winery Castel Sallegg
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    The Castel Sallegg winery certainly boasts excellent conditions for producing grand wines. The grapes are cultivated in three historic vineyards, each with its own distinctive terroir.
    Seehof by Lake Caldaro, for example, lies just 230 to 280 meters above sea level, creating an ideal climate for grape varieties that prefer warmer temperatures such as Merlot, Lagrein, Cabernet Sauvignon and Moscato Rosa. The VIGNA Bischofsleiten is the origin of the multiple award-winning Lago di Caldaro, named after that very lake.

    A bit higher up at 500 meters above sea level and beyond lie the Leisenhof and Preyhof vineyards. Located in the heart of Caldaro, Leisenhof is where mainly white grape varieties are cultivated, while Preyhof features mostly Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir.

    In addition to the conditions set by Mother Nature, the taste and quality of the Castel Sallegg wines depend in great part on the care and skill the grapes receive from the cellarer, of course. Descending the three stories and eleven meters down into the 1000-year-old wine cellar takes you on a journey into the past. In this solemn and quiescent atmosphere, the wines ferment all year round under controlled temperature. This wine estate was founded on tradition and history, and the work ethic is infused by curiosity and a passion for innovation. That is why Castel Sallegg is the first winery in Alto Adige to fill their wines into innovative and exclusive lightweight bottles that are made from 100% recycled glass and feature details such as the s ommelier’s top.

    And at the Castel Sallegg winery, the grand and elegant wines make for a truly special drinking experience.
    Winery Castel Wehrburg
    Tisens/Tesimo, Meran/Merano and environs
    When a child draws a castle, the similarity with Wehrburg Castle in Prissiano-Tesimo is astonishing. In the end, this fortress is along the lines of a storybook castle. Erected in the thirteenth century, it forms the heart of the estate winery of the same name, in which Jakob Holzner creates wines in which the terroir can be tasted.

    Wehrburg Castle has been in the possession of the Holzner family since the middle of the last century. Since that time, it has been converted into a castle hotel, but winegrowing continues to play a central role here. The basis for this is provided by 2.5 hectares of vineyards at an elevation of around 500 meters above sea level. The slopes have a southeastern exposure, the soils are rocky, yet at the same time containing a good content of limestone and loam. Traditional grape varieties grow here, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Schiava, Pinot Noir, and Zweigelt.

    Jakob Holzner places particular value on quality. That begins with careful work in the vineyard and reduced yields, and thus a high-quality harvest is guaranteed. In the winery, as little technical support is relied upon as possible, “And for that reason, more sensitivity is required,” as Holzner emphasizes. “And so we create authentic wines that reflect the terroir: the location, the vines, the soil composition, and the mild climate of Prissiano.”

    A mineral-rich quality, elegance, and a multilayered character are the confirmation of the wines from Wehrburg Castle, which thus have gone far beyond the sour beverage that was drunk in the Middle Ages. Which makes it possible to enjoy storybook castle even more.
    Alois Lageder Winery
    Margreid an der Weinstraße/Magrè sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Working in harmony with nature and not against it is the credo to which Alois Lageder has dedicated himself as one of the first with his estate winery in Magré. The expression of that is the strictly biodynamic method of cultivation in the family’s own 55 hectares of vineyards.

    Recognizing the estate as a self-contained microcosm with a diversity of plants and animals: that is what biodynamics professes, according to which the Lageder Estate Winery is oriented: “As an estate winery, we have set ourselves the goal of maintaining and expanding this complex ecosystem,” explains Lageder.

    And a second goal is pursued in Magré: the palette of grape varieties of the Lageder Estate Winery ought to reflect the diversity in Alto Adige – as should the wines that are made from them. They are subdivided into classic grape varieties, compositions, and masterpieces. With the classic varieties, the product line ranges from Gewürztraminer to Lagrein to Schiava, while the components from the vineyard and the winery for the compositions are newly combined with each other each year. In that way, no vintage is similar to another.

    The flagship of the Lageder Estate Winery is the masterpieces. “With these, we strive to perfect all of the aspects of winemaking,” says Lageder. Nothing less than perfection is therefore the goal. But within that context, Alois Lageder as both a lover and patron of the arts (the Löwengang Manor as the headquarters of the estate winery is an eloquent sign of this passion) is well aware that perfection is unattainable. But one can always try to get as close to it as possible.
    Morandell Winery
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    From egg to caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. Or, rather, from shoot to blossom to grape to wine. Armin Morandell of the estate winery of the same name in Caldaro recognized the similarities of two impressive processes of metamorphosis in nature. So it is no wonder that all of the Morandell wines are named after butterflies.

    The Morandell Estate Winery is located above Lake Caldaro, and his vineyards extend across different locations and elevations from 200 to 500 meters. All of them may well be pampered by the son, but otherwise they have different microclimates and soils, the palette of which ranges from lime gravel to red loam. “This variety makes it possible for us to purposefully grow top-quality varieties that thrive especially well at each respective location and bring forth wines with strong character,” Morandell explains.

    He concentrates on Pinot Grigio, Schiava, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, “On a handful of wines,” as he himself puts it, “that we produce according to all the rules of the art.” And market. And so the butterfly was made the trademark and the wines from the Morandell Estate Winery are named after species of butterflies with the labels related to their wings. “Wines and butterflies: both of them are the unbelievable result of a completed transformation,” explains Morandell, providing the idea behind it.

    And because in addition, the butterfly is a sensitive creature, it also matches quite well with the philosophy of the Morandell Estate Winery, which is: “We work according to a holistic approach, devote ourselves with dedication to the care of our grapevines, and focus on sustainable management.”
    Milla Winery
    Kurtatsch an der Weinstraße/Cortaccia sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Two wines come from the Milla Estate Winery in Cortaccia. No more. Both are cuvées, both contain the same three grape varieties, both ferment in open wooden barrels, and both can be aged for a long time. Winegrower Gert Pomella thus concentrates on a small product line. But good things come in small packages.

    Pomella tends nearly four hectares of grape growing areas at the Milla Estate Winery in Cortaccia. It is divided into seven different vineyards, all of which are on steep slopes and have heavy loam soils. That makes them the ideal location for Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, which are grown at the Milla Estate Winery in Cortaccia. In different proportions, these three grape varieties form the foundation for the two wines from Gert Pomella: “Centa” and “Milla”.

    When making the two wines, Pomella follows his own path. The fermentation takes place in open wooden and steel barrels, the cap of pressings is circulated several times a day – by hand. “I use the pressed wine to extend the physiological maturity of the wines,” the winegrower-slash-winemaker explains. Both wines then mature in small casks of French oak, and for a full 24 months. “I age my ‘Centa’ wine in used barrels and my ‘Milla’ in one hundred percent new barrels,” says Pomella, who then also lets his wines age for at least one year in the bottle.

    A lot of time, a lot of expense, a lot of work for two wines. But you can taste it.
    Winery Abraham
    Eppan an der Weinstaße/Appiano sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Working with nature means making compromises, compromises between acting and letting go. This balancing act is our daily challenge.” Since 2011, Marlies and Martin Abraham have been walking along this narrow tightrope. Since that time, they have been growing grapes themselves in the vineyards of the Abraham Estate Winery in San Michele-Appiano, saying, “If we are successful with the balancing act, then great wines emerge.”

    For these “great wines”, we can also thank the variety of locations that the Abraham Estate Winery has. Their vineyards are scattered between San Paolo, San Michele, and Cornaiano at elevations from 450 to 700 meters. And because every vineyard has its own special features, the Abrahams have seen to it that only the most suited grape varieties grow in each one.

    And with the selection of them, they also go back to tradition. Thus the vineyard above San Paolo has been planted for more than sixty years with Pinot Blanc. The grapevines in Appiano also have deep roots. In the hamlet of Weißhaus, the grandfather of today’s operator had already planted Pinot Blanc as early as 1955. And the small-berried Schiava grapes also grow between Appiano and Cornaiano on vines that are more than fifty years old.

    So time seems to play a particular role at the Abraham Estate Winery. Because they take their time not only in the vineyards, but also inside the winery. Particular attention is paid to time: that, too, is part of the balancing act between acting and letting go.
    Eberlehof Winery
    Bolzano/Bozen, Bolzano/Bozen and environs
    The Eberlehof above Bolzano was mentioned in a document for the first time in 1312, and thus more than 700 years ago. It has been in family possession since 1668 and for just as long, the family’s coat of arms has been decorated by a pruning hook. And that is not surprising, as the Eberlehof lies right in the middle of the classic Santa Maddalena winegrowing zone.

    And it is also not surprising that the 700 years of estate and family history have left their legacy behind and they are accompanied by an obligation to uphold tradition and family. The latter becomes clear when it is realized that at the Eberlehof, three generations of the Zisser family are involved at the same time in winegrowing. The elder Horst and his wife Lisi bring along their experience. His son Tomas and his wife Margit manage the vineyards and the winery along with their sons Christian and Lukas and also take care of three vacation apartments at the estate winery.

    As far as upholding tradition is concerned, at the Eberlehof it is first and foremost indigenous grape varieties that are typical to the zone (Schiava, Lagrein, and Blatterle) which are grown on pergola trellises, added to which Merlot also finds a spot in the product line. “Just because of the steep location on the slopes, the use of larger machines is already impossible, which is why we tend our vines, some of which are very old, almost exclusively by hand,” explains Tomas Zisser. In addition, because maturation takes place in large oak barrels, the red wines from the Eberlehof are full-bodied and strong, and they express their origins. Precisely as tradition would desire.
    Biedermannhof Winery
    Tscherms/Cermes, Meran/Merano and environs
    Wine may not be the drink of the gods, but it is always the drink of the church. And that also becomes clear through the history of the Biedermannhof in Cermes. For centuries, it was in the possession of various convents and monasteries and provided them with their wine for mass. Today, fruity white wines and full-bodied red wines come from its winery.

    For more than two hundred years, the Biedermannhof in Cermes has been in the possession of the Innerhofer family, and today it is Hannes Innerhofer who runs the winegrowing operation with its deep roots. The farm was already mentioned in a document as early as the fourteenth century; as property of the convent of the order of St. Clare in Merano. The estate winery then changed owners again and again, although the proprietors always remained convents and monasteries to which the Biedermannhof provided their drinking and mass wine.

    Today, the ecclesiastical sales channel has run dry, and the Biedermannhof in Cermes has turned into a normal private estate winery. One in which great value is placed upon maintaining the biological balance in the vineyard. “Planting greenery between the rows of grapevines helps, for instance, to regulate the air and water balance in the soil, to promote the formation of humus, and to protect against erosion, and it is a welcome habitat for beneficial insects,” Hannes Innerhofer explains.

    This method of management, along with the sedimentary soils, the southeastern exposure of the vineyards, and the relatively low elevation (350 meters), leaves its traces in the wines of the Biedermannhof. Thus the white wines are fruity and mineral-rich, while the red wines present themselves as deep and full-bodied.
    Are the centuries of divine presence to be thanked for that? God only knows...
    Oberpreyhof Winery
    Kaltern an der Weinstraße/Caldaro sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    The Seppi family has run the Oberpreyhof in Caldaro since 1885. So it’s no wonder that particular attention has been paid to tradition here. Or, as Markus Seppi puts it, to “maintaining the heritage of the forefathers to pass on to the next generation.”

    For the Seppi family, those are more than just pretty words. Thus the vineyards in the Caldaro locations of Prey, Barleith, and Lavason are managed gently, there is a focus on undergrowth that is rich in species, and herbicides are avoided. “In the end, only a healthy, living soil brings forth healthy, resistant vines which, in turn, bear good grapes,” Seppi says.

    The vines are supported in the classic pergola system, although not only as a nod to the predecessors at the estate, but also for practical considerations. Thus the Seppis consider the pergola trellis to be the optimal training method in the estate’s vineyards with a southern exposure. They distinguish themselves by hot days and cool nights which guarantee a regular maturation of the grapes and foster the development of extracts and aroma substances.

    And in the end, an eye is also kept on tradition with the selection of the varieties, with the Seppi family greatly concentrating (and in fact even more and more) on indigenous varieties. Thus Lagrein and Schiava form the foundation of the Oberpreyhof in Caldaro. The latter is used for the classic Lago di Caldaro, and in addition to that, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Yellow Muscat are also found in the assortment. In addition, grappas that are produced at the estate can be tasted in the vaulted cellar from the fifteenth century.
    Obermoser Wine Estate
    Bolzano/Bozen, Bolzano/Bozen and environs
    Innovation yes, tricks no. When what is concerned is the further development of wines that are typical for the region, a clear line is followed at the Obermoser Estate Winery in Bolzano-Santa Maddalena. A line that was already prescribed by the forefathers of Thomas Rottensteiner more than a century ago.

    Since 1890, the Obermoser Estate Winery has been in the possession of the Rottensteiner family, and since that time, the family has distinguished itself by not being so inclined to follow the well-trodden path. As early as 1929, Franz J.C. Rottensteiner had already launched the idea for an irrigation system that would provide water not only to his own vineyards, but to all of those surrounding them. The idea caught on, and Rottensteiner became the father of the first large-scale winegrowing irrigation system in all of Europe.

    So being open to new ideas is in the blood of Thomas Rottensteiner, generation number five at the Obermoser Estate Winery. “For generations, we have been concentrating on the care, further development, and intensification of wines that are typical to the region – without tricks, but rather through innovation,” he says. Within that context, all of the innovations serve the promotion of the quality and individuality of the wines. And thus also of the grapes.

    The latter grow in two areas that are far apart from each other. The larger of the two lies predominantly within the classic Santa Maddalena zone in Bolzano, while the smaller is in the core zone of the Lake Caldaro cultivation zone. Together, the two of them provide the raw material every year for around 34,000 bottles: from the classic Santa Maddalena to Lagrein and Cabernet all the way to Sauvignon Blanc.
    Elena Walch
    Tramin an der Weinstraße/Termeno sulla Strada del Vino, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    Elena Walch is actually an architect, but in the 1980s, when she married into the Walch winegrowing family in Termeno, wine became the main focus of her life. Since that time, it has been with commitment, self-confidence, and no compromise that she has implemented her ideas of sustainability in the vineyard and the winery and developed her terroir wines.

    Even though Walch crossed over from a sector that was distant from wine, she soon became a forerunner and a pioneer of a wine philosophy which, forty years ago, was still broadly new. Quality became her guiding idea, and it was to be pursued without compromise: “With the finest terroir wines, we raised the quality standards of the region to a new level,” she says today, with self-confidence. And that is also attested to by independent experts. Thus the terroir wines of the two single vineyards of her estate winery – Castel Ringberg in Caldaro and Kastelaz in Termeno – are highly respected products that have received numerous awards and have found their place on the best wine lists around the globe. And both locations were included in the exclusive VIGNA list of vineyards, through which the origin of single vineyard wines is guaranteed.

    The attention with which Elena Walch harvests proves that her linearity is in the right direction. In addition, the general development has proven her correct when what is concerned, for instance, is sustainable work in the vineyard and in the wine cellar. “Our particular attention along those lines was always paid to the support of the vine’s own self-defenses,” says the pioneer from Termeno.

    In the meantime, Walch has also transferred her philosophy to the next generation. Today, she runs the family estate winery along with her daughters, Julia and Karoline.
    Tenuta Kiemberger
    Terlan/Terlano, The South Tyrolean Wine Road
    In the colorful mosaic of Alto Adige winegrowing, there are larger and smaller tiles. The Kiemberger Estate Winery in Terlano, with an annual production of just around 8,000 bottles, is among the smaller. Nevertheless, something would be missing if this tile weren’t there.

    The Kiemberger Estate Winery is located in the winegrowing village of Terlano in the Adige Valley, with its vineyards in the village itself and in neighboring Andriano. On a total of just 1.5 hectares of grape growing areas, Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc are grown, which form the basis for the classic Terlano wine. “The first three grow on a sandy-loamy limestone soil in Andriano, while the Sauvignon Blanc, on the other hand, is planted in Terlano, where it finds a sandy porphyry soil,” explains Norbert Kofler, winegrower at the Kiemberger Estate Winery.

    Kofler has been making his own wines since 2007 and also markets them independently. “Our wines must first and foremost meet our own demands,” Kofler says. To do so, the grapes are harvested in the second half of September, they are pressed gently, and then the mash is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a constant temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. “Our wines are matured on the fine yeast, primarily in small and medium-sized oak casks, for at least eight months with the Terlano Classico and up to 32 months with the Lagrein Riserva,” the winegrower says.

    The wines that are created in this way are “originals strong in character,” says Kofler, in which the properties of the soil and the vintage can be tasted. “Our wine is anything but mainstream,” the head of the small but impressive Kiemberger Estate Winery says. He goes on to add, “And yet it is somehow classic.”
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