Even before the birth of Christ, the Rhaetian people were already using wooden barrels for their wine in what is now modern-day Alto Adige. When the first transalpine road came into existence with the “Via Claudia Augusta”, pilgrims and merchants brought not only new knowledge regarding the topic of winemaking back to Alto Adige from their travels, but also improved vine seedlings. Beginning in the eighth century AD, Frankish and Bavarian monasteries acquired wineries in climatically favorable Alto Adige and called the first wines “Potzner” and “Traminer” after their towns of origin (Bozen, or Bolzano, and Tramin). The Lagrein
variety was first mentioned by the peasant leader Michael Gaismair in 1525.
Alto Adige’s winemaking was especially supported under the Hapsburg empire. The number of grape varieties increased, and Riesling
and the Burgundy varieties moved into Alto Adige wineries, as too, unfortunately, did the phylloxera epidemic that arrived from America. Starting around 1980, Alto Adige winemaking began to experience a sustained upswing thanks to modernization and consistent ideas about quality. Today, the Alpine character in combination with the charm of the Mediterranean make Alto Adige wines more popular than ever before, both throughout Italy and abroad.