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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.