From Grape to GlassJanuary:
the first new wine is bottled and delivered to the customers.
the vines are pruned (from December to February); the first “normal” harvest is when the vines are three years old.
(average temperature 8 degrees) the farmer repairs the wooden arbour like trellis and the farmer’s wife prunes the vines and then the ground is shallowly ploughed.
(average temperature 12 degrees) during the warm sunrays, the vines begin to “cry”, which means that water is being drawn from the roots to the shoots. If this doesn’t happen, the vine has suffered some kind of damage, either through dryness or cold.
(average temperature 17 degrees) the young shoots (“Garzen”) start sprouting.
(average temperature 22 degrees) the vines start flowering and the shoots are so long that some of the leaves have to be taken off. The wines of the previous year have reached maturity and are bottled in 7/10 bottles.
(average temperature 23 degrees) if the harvest is going to be good, the vines need 1,900 hours of sun per year.
(average temperature 20 degrees) the grapes are now the size of hazelnuts and the red grapes start changing colour. There is a danger of damage by storms and hailstones.
(average temperature 17 degrees) the harvest is just around the corner and the barrels are cleaned and repaired. The harvest of the white grapes starts at the beginning of September on the lower slopes.
(average temperature 13 degrees) the ripe red grapes are now harvested in 2-3 pickings to obtain the best quality. The white grapes are pressed and the juice is caught and fermented whereas the red grapes are crushed until the skins burst, and then fermented with the pulp, skins and seeds. During fermentation the sugar in the grapes is turned into alcohol and the grape juice is turned into wine. It is now time for “Törggelen” the South Tyrolean tradition of tasting the new wine.
after fermentation (6-10 days), the wine is pumped into barrels and the pulp is pressed. Grappa is made from this pulp.
the wine is fermented in the barrels till the middle of December. Once the yeast has settled and fermentation has finished, the wine is transferred to different barrels. The vines rest from the first frost to the beginning of growth in March.
20 different types of vinesWines and Vines: there are over 20 different types of vines grown in South Tyrol. The Vernatsch grape accounts for about 55% and is South Tyrol’s most important grape.
Other red grapes include Lagrein, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet and Rosenmuskateller and make up 13% of the total yield. The white varieties Weissburgunder and Chardonnay account for 20% and the final 12% is made up of Gewürztraminer, Ruländer, Riesling, Sylvaner, Welschriesling, Sauvignon and Goldmuskateller.
South Tyrol’s yearly wine production is about 450.000 hectolitres of which 68% are red wines and 32% white wines. Nearly all of the vineyards can give their wines the D.O.C. label, which means they are quality wines of defined origin. It took the South Tyroleans a long time to get this official recognition for their wines. This means that rules and regulations have to be kept to in order to produce good quality wines.