As early as the Middle Ages, Alto Adige wine already had an excellent reputation and represented an economic factor for the province. But what was decisive for the development of winemaking in Alto Adige was the modernization in the twentieth century. Old equipment was cast aside, and the Saltner – the guardian of the vineyards – was no longer used.
In 2002, 2,500 year-old wooden barrels that were fitted with iron hoops, just like those used by the Rhaetian winegrowers in Alto Adige, were discovered near Bressanone. Also bearing witness to winemaking in Alto Adige during Roman times is the “Roman Villa” in St. Pauls-Eppan. The largest wine press in Alto Adige may be found in the Trostburg Castle above Waidbruck in the Isarco Valley. Worth Experiencing
The South Tyrolean Wine Museum in Kaltern illustrates the history of winemaking with a unique collection of articles on display from archaeology, art history, popular religion, handicraft, and the wine industry. Old, rare grape varieties grow in its vineyard. In the autumn, the grapes may even be picked from the Pergola trellis. www.weinmuseum.it
The Village Museums of Tramin and Kurtatsch offer an invitation to discover the farming traditions and the wine culture in the southern part of Alto Adige. The museum in Tramin owns an international collection of Gewürztraminer bottles dating back to 1886. Also unique are the carnival figures of the Tramin’s ancient pagan Egetmann parade. www.museumzeitreisemensch.it
The vineyards of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano conserve fifteen indigenous grape varieties from oblivion: they bear names such as Blatterle, Jungferler, Fraueler, Gschlafener... (which in English translate into such colorful names as Leafy, Virgin, Woman, Sleeper...) In the autumn, winery tours are offered, including to the “Versoaln” at Katzenzungen Castle in Prissian, the largest and possibly oldest grapevine in the world. Exclusive tastings of the Versoaln wine are held. www.trauttmansdorff.it