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Culturonda® Wine
12 routes to discovering wine culture in South Tyrol

South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian) is a classic “small but beautiful” winegrowing region. Although the province comprises only 0.7 per cent of Italy’s winegrowing area, Alto Adige wines garner top awards year upon year and enjoy a much higher profile than one would expect given such a small area of cultivation.

The South Tyrolean Wine Road meanders from Nalles (Nals) to Bolzano (Bozen), continuing as far as the province’s southern border. As the wine road crosses rolling vineyard-covered hills, it runs past picturesque wine villages, castles, manors and magnificent wine estates. These vineyards comprise 85 per cent of South Tyrol’s total winegrowing area. Exquisite, fruity white wines grow at elevations of up to 1,000 metres in the cooler, peripheral cultivation areas in the valleys of Valle Isarco (Eisacktal) and Val Venosta (Vinschgau). Here the ripening season extends well into the autumn; warm days alternating with cool nights result in wines with intense aromas, lively acidity and Mediterranean mellowness.

Lagrein, Vernatsch and Gewürztraminer – three grape varieties that are native to South Tyrol – have become emblematic for the province’s wine culture. For decades, trials have been carried out throughout the region’s central valleys to determine which grape variety performs best on which soil and in which microclimate. Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, near Ora (Auer), explores the principles of sustainable winegrowing. Nothing is left to chance – apart from enjoying a Glasl Wein, as the South Tyroleans put it, in good company. Even the wine elves of local legend would have had nothing against that!

South Tyrol is one of Europe’s oldest winegrowing regions. It was here that the Romans learnt how to store and transport wine in containers made of wooden staves held together by iron hoops. Way back in the early Middle Ages, monasteries in southern Germany established wine estates in South Tyrol. The Great Vine at Hampton Court is none other than South Tyrol’s native Vernatsch. South Tyrol, in fact, has its own equivalent: a 350-year-old vine known as the Versoaln, which grows in the village of Prissiano (Prissian) between Merano (Meran) and Bolzano. It still yields up to 800 bottles of white wine per year. At Merano’s Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, South Tyrol’s old grape varieties are preserved from extinction.

In South Tyrol, wine is steeped in culture. The purpose of Culturonda® Wine is to pass on this unique cultural experience. To this end, we have selected twelve themes, each with three points of interest. Wine enthusiasts who wish to go beyond simply enjoying wine and become acquainted with the history and stories behind the vineyards and cellars will find Culturonda® Wine a useful and succinct introduction to South Tyrol’s diverse cultivated and cultural landscape.

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