"Save the Vernatsch!"

A plea on behalf of this light, highly typical South Tyrolean red wine
The modern Vernatsch of South Tyrol possesses finesse and elegance, and boasts an amazing longevity!

South Tyrolean wines (still!) have to a large extent retained their native and regional identities: they taste of the wind and weather, of gravelly, moraine and loamy soils, sometimes of an ideal year, sometimes a more truculent one. But they are always wines with a clearly recognisable style, as irregular and exhilarating as the mountains upon whose slopes they grow – another reason they stimulate our palates.
 
 
A pleasant, warm climate that alternates with cool early autumn nights and sandy-loamy soils give the South Tyrolean Vernatsch its attractive, velvety body with its typically strong colour and harmoniously integrated, refreshing acidity. Vernatsch is a greatly underestimated yet universal wine. If you have a bottle of Vernatsch open in the cellar after a long tasting session of Cabernet or Merlot wines, you will be surprised how many guests choose a Vernatsch as their last drop.

Vernatsch – beaten, cursed, marvellously quaffable, disreputable, difficult to market, wonderfully light, proletarian, beautifully fruity and, for all that, still able to generate a particular identity – once a year graces a fitting stage. It is in the month of May that host Ulrich Ladurner invites one and all to his extravagant hotel – the “vigilius mountain resort”, up on the Vigiljoch – and the “Vernatsch Cup”, where an international audience of experts gathers to choose the year’s best Vernatsch. The South Tyrol Vernatsch Cup began here thirteen years ago with the aim of promoting quality Vernatsch production: only if winegrowers can expect higher prices in future for their Vernatsch will this, probably the most typical of the region’s native varieties, be able to survive. The Vernatsch cultivation area has dramatically decreased in recent decades, far beyond the often-heard notion of “healthy downsizing”. In 1978 some 3,600 hectares of South Tyrol’s entire winegrowing area was planted with Vernatsch grapes, equivalent to 67%. Just ten years later this had fallen to 3,050 hectares (60%), in 1998 to 2,350 hectares (47%), in 2008 to around half this figure, namely 1,250 hectares (24%) and in 2015 there were just 836 hectares (15%), with the trend unfortunately still on a downwards curve, if not quite as drastically as in previous decades.

No less than Otto Geisel, the Gault Millau wine expert for Germany says: “This, the most distinctive of South Tyrolean wines, has sufficient acidity to be able to age!”. He encourages Vernatsch producers further: “A very long storage life has always been the most important criterion for foodstuffs! I can also see another great advantage for Vernatsch in the future: climate change will surely mean an increase in the alcoholic strength of wines; this fine wine however has a charmingly modest alcohol level, an important trump card for the South Tyrolean Vernatsch in the near future!”

The Vinum Hotels of South Tyrol are great and passionate promoters of Vernatsch, as it is an uncomplicated, easy-going and cheerful wine – a thoroughly merry companion. Vernatsch reflects tradition, yet at the same time stands for innovation, lightness and a sense of well-being. And this very lightness and elegance ensure it is interesting. More than any other wine, Vernatsch is linked to South Tyrol.
 
 
The Vinum Hotel wine story for April

“All is bursting forth from the earth!”
Asparagus season in South Tyrol – a springtime celebration with fresh, fragrant white wines.

Sauvignon is the undisputed star of the show during South Tyrol’s asparagus season. A South Tyrolean Sauvignon is characterised by its aromas of elder blossom, nettles and yellow pepper, so typical for this variety. The Vinum Hotel wine story for April is all about the awakening of spring!