Large numbers of winegrowers have abandoned the hillsides for the lower slopes and valley floor where vineyards are far easier and cheaper to tend. We have resisted this temptation in the knowledge that the very finest wines come from sloping and steep vineyards.
Steep vineyards expose the vines to more sunlight, rainwater drains away quickly and the "guyot" trellising method, which restricts the yield per vine, results in finer quality. When my father introduced this training system in 1962 nobody in South Tyrol could believe it.
In spite of this we have not completely abandoned the traditional South Tyrolean pergola system, which works well for local varieties which grow vigorously and need room to expand. Very old pergola-trained vines yield tiny quantities of grapes and can still produce superb quality, as revealed by our Pinot Noir from the Barthenau vineyard at Mazon, and our Gewürztraminer produced in the Kolbenhof estate at Söll above Tramin, both of which come from pergola-trained vines. View all J. Hofstatter Wines
About Trentino-Alto AdigeView a map of Trentino-Alto Adige wineries (tren-TEE-noe ahl-toe ah-DEE-jay)
Notable FactsReds are likely to be Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, along with a few local varieties, most notably Schiaval. The white grapes are Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Traminer and Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the most-planted and most revered, while Traminer hails from Austria and has an amazingly light body, but is also intensely floral and delicious. Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio are the international players that make lively whites of good value. The sweet spot of Trentino Alto-Adige is Vino Santo- a wine not to be confused with Tuscany's Vin Santo. Vino Santo (which means holy wine) is a sweet wine of the area made from dried grapes. Not found as much as Vin Santo, but still a treat.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.