An important birthday for a typical son of Alto Adige

An important birthday for a typical son of Alto Adige

100 years of the Santa Maddalena Conservation Consortium

Simultaneously traditional and modern, with a mild acidity and soft tannins, the wine known as Santa Maddalena makes a versatile accompaniment to all kinds of food. Its qualities as an authentic everyday wine from Alto Adige were appreciated over 100 years ago, leading determined winegrowers from Santa Maddalena to establish the “Santa Maddalena Winegrowers’ Cooperative” on 19 March 1923. Its purpose: to protect the area’s wine production and prevent misuse of the name. Its geographical designation, “Santa Maddalena Wine” was thus copyrighted for the first time, receiving a trademark in return. This made the Santa Maddalena Conservation Consortium (and its predecessors) Italy’s first association aimed at protecting a designation of origin: it was not until 1924, for example, that the Chianti Conservation Consortium followed suit in Tuscany.  

Even one hundred years after this historic event, the typical pergola training system still characterises the landscape around the Santa Maddalena winegrowing area, which remains a vigorous centre of winegrowing in Alto Adige as well as a reference for the native Schiava grape. “We love Santa Maddalena because it fits so well into our landscape and our way of life”, says Veronika Pfeifer from the Pfannenstielhof winery. She is one of the new generation of winegrowers in the Conservation Consortium who, reflecting on their heritage, take an open-minded approach to the need to preserve the traditional winemaking methods while interpreting these in new and interesting ways.

In recent years the Conservation Consortium has faced up to changing times with fresh content and new blood. Josephus Mayr, its chairman, states: “Our thanks go to the pioneers of yesteryear who recognised the importance of protecting the origin of Santa Maddalena. It is both our mission and our obligation to continue their work of constantly improving the quality of our Santa Maddalena wines.”

To commemorate its founding, on 14 March 2023 the Consortium invited guests to the Untermoserhof to celebrate its 100th anniversary, at the exact place where, one century ago, the goal of protecting the production of Santa Maddalena wine was set. Chairman Josephus Mayr used the occasion to unveil a memorial stone created by the sculptor Filip Moroder Doss from Val Gardena. Long-standing members of the Consortium, such as Heinrich Plattner of Waldgries and Toni Rottensteiner of the Hans Rottensteiner Winery, provided an interesting retrospective while Helmuth Scartezzini offered various eyewitness accounts. Representatives of current producers (Philipp Plattner, head of the Bolzano Winery; Hannes Spornberger of the Kandlerhof) reported on their recent experiences; and Veronika Pfeifer from the Pfannenstielhof looked towards the future and the challenges for the coming generation.
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