South Tyrol i the oldest wine-growing region in the German-speaking countries. Wine has been grown for more than 2,500 years in South Tyrol. Rhaetians, the ancestors of modern-day South Tyroleans, invented the wooden barrel. The bizarre vineyard landscape extends from the floor of the valley up to above 1,000 meters. Various small climates provide ideal conditions for elegant reds and crisp, racy white wines.
With harsh wind, untold hours of sunshine and low rainfall, grapevines in Vinschgau form deep roots. This makes the whites very mineral, and gives Zweigelt and Pinot noir a delicately fruity and racy character.
Vernatsch enjoyed a great deal of appreciation as the “grape cure” in Merano during the century before the First World War. Since time immemorial, Vernatsch has been known here as Meraner Hügel – a lighter and very spicy type of Vernatsch. In 1852 Archduke Johann introduced the first Pinot noir and Pinot blanc: a pioneering achievement with positive consequences.
As a result of expanding fruit-growing, wine cultivation has retreated to the best sites in the valleys and on the slopes. The quality of the white wines and – in smaller niches – of Lagrein and Pinot noir is outstanding
In comparison with other parts of South Tyrol, the southern tip of the province has consistently intense daytime warming. When the weather is wet, the grapes retain their good health through the Ora, a strong wind that rises from Lake Garda in the afternoons.
In summer, the Bolzano Basin is sometimes so hot that the daily temperature peaks are the highest in Italy. The best Lagrein ripens on the gravelly alluvial s oil formed by the River Talfer. On the warm St. Magdalena Hill, the most powerful Vernatsch, named after its location, is cultivated.
Lake Kaltern favored the growth of sun-seeking varieties within its catchment area. White wines that are very fresh and racy, with strong fruit notes, grow at medium-high to high sites: Kalterer, Girlaner, St. Paulser and Eppan/Berg.
The Eisacktal Valley, which was mainly planted with red varieties until 100 years ago, has long been one of Italy's most prestigious growing areas for white wine. Warm summer days and cool nights in early autumn lead to an exciting flavor concentration of dense grapes.