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The cellar is her workshop

Her profession: oenologist and winemaker. Her heart's desire: To create fine wines of the highest quality. Her secret love? She will tell you at the end.

Before Magdalena Pratzner found her way in her professional life, first she had to go elsewhere. She had to get away from her parent’s home, a place where there was always work: Her mum Bernadette toiled in the vineyard whilst her father Franz worked in the cellar. Surely there had to be something else in this world?

The way back home

Twelve years later, Magdalena Pratzner's gaze wanders from the cold stone floor up to the bright acacia barrels. "This cellar is my studio," she says. "Here I can bring my ideas to life and express myself through wines, just as many artists do with their paintings” says Pratzner.

The 31-year-old has seen a lot of the world. But now she has come home again and has an even greater appreciation for the hard work of her parents at the Falkenstein winery. At the nearly 200-year-old farm high above Naturns/Naturno, there was once a falconry from the nearby Hochnaturns castle.

The passion

When your job doesn’t feel like work, it's called a passion. Magdalena Pratzner is one of the lucky ones who feel that way. And yet, once upon a time, she had quite different plans. By chance, she ended up studying oenology after all. But she had to travel to Australia, France, Styria and the USA to gain the foundation she has today. In 2019, she joined her parents' business. She is also supported there by her sister Michaela, who lives in Munich but is also toying with the idea of returning.

The role models

Was there someone in particular who set a good example? No, there were two: "My parents, who dared to do something in the 1980s. Back then people called them crazy." At that time, almost 100 percent of the cultivated land along the Etsch river had been converted to fruit growing, which was more lucrative. “My father was the only one to focus entirely on wine-growing." His success proved him right.

Her mother, meanwhile, stands for the courage of having switched careers by working at the vineyard. Posthumously, her grandfather Engelbert also served as a teacher for her. “Though it is cared for in the wine cellar, good wine is produced in the vineyard,” her grandfather once said. This is a lesson that granddaughter has taken to heart. "Producing a high-quality vintage from good grapes is not an art," Magdalena says. "The challenge is to deliver good quality even under difficult conditions." It is precisely this challenge that spurs the young winemaker on.

Her secret love

What is your favourite wine?

Riesling is our calling card, but my secret love is Pinot Noir, the only red wine to be featured in our range. This variety is very demanding, and does not forgive mistakes. But when I have done my job well, it rewards me with extraordinary quality.

Do you also have a "secret" goal?

We distribute our wines in South Tyrol and Italy, and in the USA, Japan and the Benelux countries. Getting a foothold in the Austrian market would be great, but Austrians are very patriotic when it comes to wine.


Text: Edith Runer
Photos: Armin Huber

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