In Harmony with Nature

In Harmony with Nature

Alois Lageder: paving the way for biodynamic wine growing methods in Alto Adige

True pioneers have strong personalities and firm beliefs that they will work for relentlessly no matter how strong the headwinds that they may run into. There is not doubt that Alois Lageder from Magreid/Margrè fully lives up to the definition of a true pioneer: he has a strong personality and has always believed in biodynamics, i.e., completely natural growing methods – even back in the day when many people still did not think much of it.

Lageder runs the family vineyard in the fifth generation and is intent on preserving tradition and the fundamental principles of wine growing. “A holistic approach is what matters most in agriculture,” he says. “In my opinion, a symbiotic relationship between flora and fauna is crucial for our health and for the quality of our products.” His credo is simple: for many decades now, he has been firmly committed to these standards and worked hard with plenty of courage and creativity to bring them to life.

Many of the principles of biodynamics have become common practice in modern-day farming in Alto Adige: working in harmony with nature instead of working against it or being mindful of the fact that vineyards are complex ecosystems that need to be preserved and maintained in the best way possible. And even nowadays, Alois Lageder can still be considered a pioneer, a trailblazer who does not rest on his laurels, especially not in the face of the new challenges arising as a result of climate change. “The conditions may well change way more quickly than some might expect,” he warns us.

Lageder’s response to these changes represents exactly what he has always stood for: think ahead and break new ground. “One of the options we have to respond to climate change is to move to higher grounds,” he explains, referring to an experiment he is currently running to see whether traditional grape varieties can be grown successfully at 1,450 m above sea level. The experience thus gathered, he tells us, will help make the right decisions for the future. “We need to think ahead, especially given the fact that the vines we plant in our vineyards today are supposed to last for a hundred years to come,” says Lageder.

And he is not setting his sights too high: Löwengang, one of Lageder’s oldest vineyards, has existed for almost 150 years now. Full of awe, Alois Lageder gently touches the bark of the old grape vines, which seems brittle and frail on the outside. “But it’s full of life,” he says, brimming with pride, He explains that the vines are just like the elderly, who draw upon their wisdom to make up for the physical strength they have been losing over time. “The vines are incredibly full of elegance, harmony, and sophistication,” enthuses Lageder.

While he is indeed a pioneer and forerunner, Alois Lageder is by no means a lone warrior and loves to compare notes with other winemakers in the country. In his opinion, pooling and drawing on the know-how and expertise of winemakers from many different areas of cultivation will be the only way to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. One of these challenges will include preserving the typical feel of wines from Alto Adige. Or, in the words of Alois Lageder: “It’s also about preserving the style typical of Alto Adige: the natural elegance, the sophistication, and the lively spirit of the wines.”
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