Where Alto Adige’s top-quality wines thrive

A journey through the land of DOC wines

Alto Adige boasts an Italian record: over 98% of its winegrowing areas are protected under the DOC regulations. But what exactly does “DOC” mean, and what lies behind the controlled designations of origin “Südtiroler” and “Kalterersee”?

DOC status refers to denominazione di origine controllata – controlled designation of origin – and guarantees that winegrowers comply with strict regulations, ranging from maximum vineyard yields to permitted grape varieties and the quality contained in the bottle. It is no coincidence that the quality rating system introduced in 1963 places DOC wines at the very top of the quality pyramid.

Winegrowers in Alto Adige use the controlled designations of origin “Südtiroler” and “Kalterersee” to identify their DOC wines.
Alto Adige

Alto Adige (Südtiroler)

The designation “Alto Adige” may be carried by all common Alto Adige grape varieties that conform with the DOC provisions. The grape variety involved is to be additionally indicated (such as “Alto Adige Lagrein”). Without a further addition, this designation by itself may only be used for sparkling wine and for “Alto Adige Bianco” (“Südtiroler Weiß”) white wines.
Lago di Caldaro Alto Adige

Lago di Caldaro (Kalterersee)

If the “Lago di Caldaro” or “Kalterersee” wine is produced in one of the Alto Adige winegrowing zones, then both the words “Alto Adige” or "Südtirol” and the additional designation “classico” or “klassisch” may be used. Top-quality wines may also go on the market as “superiore” or “Auslese” [“select”].
Alto Adige Valle Isarco

Alto Adige Valle Isarco (Südtirol Eisacktaler)

In the Isarco Valley, it is almost exclusively white wines that are produced. The only exception is formed by the “Klausner Laitacher”. The designation “Alto Adige Valle Isarco” or “Südtirol Eisacktaler” must be followed by a designation of variety. The permitted grape varieties for white wines are Sylvaner, Veltliner, Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling.
Alto Adige Santa Maddalena

Alto Adige Santa Maddalena (Südtirol St. Magdalener)

The “Santa Maddalena” flourishes on the slopes north of Bolzano and is a classic Schiava (Vernatsch) wine which, earlier on, used to be able to also contain up to 15% Lagrein or Pinot Noir. At the current time, if they grow in the same vineyard, they may contain up to 15% of other varieties of the same color, as with all other wine varieties. If the wine comes from the zones of St. Magdalena, St. Justina, Rentsch, Leitach, or St. Peter, it may c
Alto Adige Terlano

Alto Adige Terlano (Südtirol Terlaner)

This designation may only be used for white wines from the Terlan area. Without a listing of the grape variety, “Alto Adige Terlano” or “Südtirol Terlaner” is a white wine cuvée that contains a minimum of 50% Pinot Blanc and/or Chardonnay.
Alto Adige Merano

Alto Adige Meranese (Südtirol Meraner)

The “Alto Adige Meranese” or “Südtirol Meraner” wine grows in the cultivation zone around Merano and is made only from the Vernatsch (Schiava) grape variety. In addition to the Schiava grapes, at the present time other red grape varieties may also be planted in the vineyard and used for the wine. The Schiava grapes from this area are also known as “Merano cure grapes” and are recognized as a remedy.
Alto Adige Val Venosta

Alto Adige Valle Venosta (Südtirol Vinschgau)

In Alto Adige’s newest DOC zone, the grapes that are permitted are Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Riesling, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Schiava (Vernatsch), and Pinot Noir. The designation “Alto Adige Valle Venosta” or “Südtirol Vinschgau” must always be followed by the varietal designation.
Alto Adige Colli di Bolzano

Alto Adige Colli di Bolzano (Südtirol Bozner Leiten)

The “Colli di Bolzano” (“Bozner Leiten”) is a Schiava (Vernatsch) whose cultivation zone lies like a belt around the Santa Maddalena (St. Magdalena) area.
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