Törggelen Outings Also Mean... Wine in all Forms

Törggelen Outings Also Mean... Wine in all Forms

Explained by... Florian Hilpold from the Villscheider Winery and Buschenschank farmhouse inn

Autumn marks the beginning of Törggelen time in Alto Adige, a tradition with many faces. We asked Florian Hilpold, who runs the Villscheider winery in Brixen along with his family, how the authentic celebration takes place and what role Alto Adige wine plays.

The Villscheider winery and Buschenschank farmhouse inn are located in the Isarco Valley and thus at the very birthplace of the Törggelen outings. They may have originated either as an occasion for bartering between mountain and valley farmers or as marking the end of the harvest, at which the farmers toasted in the company of friends and neighbors with new wine and fresh chestnuts. Both are still the focus of Törggelen outings today, with Florian Hilpold having clear ideas about what is important.

Mr. Hilpold, people have been heading up to your farm to go Törggelen for some twenty years now. What does it offer to provide an authentic experience?

Florian Hilpold: Törggelen is authentic when the farm focuses first and foremost on agriculture and its products, so the Buschenschank farmhouse inn is only a sideline. Although “only” is placed in quotation marks, it goes without saying that we put a lot of work and passion into this pillar of our business.

So that means that Törggelen is only really Törggelen if you come to eat and drink at a real farm. What else comes into play?
It is no accident that the origins of Törggelen are to be found in the Val Isarco valley. After all, it came to life where the grapes grow in the estate’s own vineyard and are made into wine, but also where chestnuts grow.

That brings us to the fundamental keystones of Törggelen: wine and chestnuts. We are especially interested in the wine ...
... Which stands at the heart of Törggelen, and within this context, it can be drunk in all its forms: from the cask or from a bottle, as sweet wine, as new wine or also as aged wine from old vintages.

We should clarify that sweet wine is grape must that has partially fermented over a few days, while the new wine is fully fermented wine that is still young. Do your guests want to know all the details?
Yes, and that's where we as winemakers have the advantage of being able to not only explain to our guests what sweet wine, new wine, and aged wine are, but also to tell them the story behind the product. We can show them the very vineyards from which the grapes originated, and we can tell them about the cultivation, the harvest, and the winemaking process. Only so, hands-on experience is provided.

And if you are asked which wine you recommend for Törggelen...
... My answer depends upon what’s on the table at the moment. With homemade appetizers, I recommend a fresh, fruity white wine, and thus a Riesling, a Sylvaner, or a Kerner. But with the butcher's platter, a full-bodied red, and with the Krapfen doughnuts, a new sweet wine, especially if it has been freshly pressed.

Let's shift our focus briefly from the crystal goblet to the crystal ball: what does the future hold for Törggelen, for your business, and for wine production?
We don’t need to worry about the future of the Törggelen outings. They are well known and much sought after and will continue to be so for years to come. As far as our business is concerned, though – and probably not just ours – the double activity during the harvest season represents a challenge year after year. Because it’s precisely during the most labor-intensive period in both the vineyard and the winery that the Buschenschank farmhouse inn is also running at full speed. That is the reason why the Buschenschank inn is only open on weekends.

Nevertheless, you continue to be a winemaker with your whole body and soul. Is there anything that you can be proud of as an Alto Adige winegrower?
“Proud” is a strong word, but I find the evolution of the Alto Adige wine industry to be remarkable. The wineries are structured on a small scale, and the work is demanding. Yet the greatest value is placed on high quality – and that is consistently the case throughout the entire province. When I look, on the one hand, at the motivation of the young growers and, on the other hand, at their exceptional level of education... yes, I can assert that we can be proud of all these achievements.

One personal question to conclude: what’s your favorite wine, both for Törggelen but also on its own?
I don't need to overthink: it’s Sylvaner. It’s right at home here in the Val Isarco valley. The abundant sunshine and the cooler temperatures at night provide delightful acidity, lovely fruit, and a crisp body.
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