You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

Most of the "bios" and biodynamics in South Tyrol can be found in the "Freie Weinbauern", an association of self-marketing vintners. Their largest and certainly best-known member is the Manincor winery near Kaltern. The wines of Manincor have always been characterized by a distinctive individuality. The spontaneous fermentation of all wines in wooden barrels of different sizes, which has been practiced since 1999, and a choice of sorts, which is unusual for the Sophie and Cassiano top cuvees in South Tyrol, often caused discussions. Also the testers of various wine guides were not very satisfied with the Manincor wines, so that they did not appear there, respectively Count Micael Goess Enzenberg, the owner of Manincor, decided not to send any wines to tastings for a while. Whether you like the Manincor wines or not, they are always uncompromising growths. I personally appreciate the steadfastness and consistency behind the decision for such wines extraordinarily. Because there are more than enough wines - even in the so-called top range - where the verdict is mostly "not bad". Those that elicit either a decisive "no" or an enthusiastic "yes", unfortunately, far too few.

South Tyrolean classic: Vernatsch

In the interest of the individuality of his wines, Graf Michael would have liked to have started with biodynamics much earlier. It is only since January 2006 that the winery has been completely converted to this type of cultivation. The reservations were not so much due to the biodynamic methods, but to the difficulty of convincing the employees of these methods. Their fears were mainly that the conversion would mean giving up regular working hours. Of course, biodynamics is based on the constellation of the stars and not on a 35-hour week. "However, we've found that disciplined work doesn't require sacrificing weekends or altering usual work hours." However, the labour input, at least during the changeover period, is quite a bit higher than before, so new workers have had to be hired. This, of course, is associated with increased costs during this period. Count Michael sees it as one of the big challenges for his company to reduce these labor costs to an economically reasonable level after the changeover has been completed, because "the wines are supposed to remain affordable" However, he is confident "to be able to reduce the labor input again after the conversion phase. Because a soil that is in natural balance doesn't need so many interventions anymore."

One problem associated with this extra work in all organic viticulture is the increased exposure to pollutants from the mufflers of the tractors used. This saves the use of chemicals in plant protection, but the diesel soot ruins the ecological balance. Since biodynamics primarily aims at the greatest possible reduction of all interventions, this problem should be reduced to a minimum after conversion and should at least not be greater than in conventional cultivation. In addition, the loosening of the soil is of decisive importance for biodynamic farmers. Heavy tractors would compact the laboriously loosened soil again. Producers with smaller areas therefore do much of the work on foot. However, this is hardly possible on the 43 hectares cultivated by Manincor. The company has therefore purchased quads, which are much lighter and faster than tractors and emit fewer pollutants.

A lot has already happened in the vineyards in the almost two years of the changeover. "When I take a spade sample today and compare it to two years ago, it's differences like night and day. Before, I barely brought the spade in. Today, I have a biomass percentage and root penetration that is tremendous." To keep this change going as fast as possible, a relatively large amount of humus is applied in the Manincor vineyards. In contrast to the Kalterer Solos project, here it does not serve as "information for the soil", but it is supposed to have a direct effect and directly change the soil quality in a positive way. Because an independent, closed cycle is important to him, Count Michael would like to obtain the necessary, not inconsiderable quantities of compost from his own animals in the future. It is still a dream of the future, but one day there will be cows on the Manincor estate again. The stables for this are still there from earlier times.

Manincor: Combining modernity and tradition - also in architecture

Count Michael does not yet know whether a reference to this should appear on the bottle label after the conversion to biodynamic production has taken place. Currently, he rather tends against it, because "the wines are to be drunk because they taste good and not for ideological reasons."

For the other biodynamically or organically working members of the Free Winegrowers, the quality of the wines is also in the first place. Two of them - both of them being in the conversion phase - even got three glasses in the Gambero Rosso last year. On the one hand, this is certainly due to the fact that the awarded wines come from the Isarco Valley, which is currently very popular in the Gambero. But regardless of what one thinks of the Gambero Rosso, the wines of Alois Ochsenreiter (Haderburg) and Christian Kerschbaumer (Garlider winery) deserve attention. Alois Ochsenreiter's Eisacktaler Sylvaner 2005 was awarded, but I think another wine is the best, namely the bottle-fermented sparkling wine "Steinhauserhof" from Ochsenreiter's bio-dynamically cultivated vineyards in Buchholz near Salurn, which has been ripened for 10 (!) years. Christian Kerschbaumer in Feldthurns works organically according to Bioland criteria and produces the typical white wines of the Eisack valley Müller-Thurgau, Veltliner, Sylvaner and Kerner as well as a Pinot Noir. With the exception of the Müller-Thurgau, the white wines are full-bodied, lush drops, but due to their origin from Italy's northernmost growing region, they are also always endowed with a certain elegance and minerality.

Also located in Feldthurns are the organic farms Radoarhof and Zöhlhof. On the former, Norbert Blasbichler produces original brandies, among others from sweet chestnuts, besides quite unconventional growths from Müller-Thurgau, Kerner and Zweigelt. From the Zöhlhof come the most elegant Eisacktaler organic wines. The owner, Josef Unterfrauner, attaches great importance to the fact that you can taste in his wines their origin from the mountains. He produces Portugieser, Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Müller Thurgau and Regent.

Like the Eisack Valley, the Vinschgau Valley is a very small sub-zone. There is only one organic winery here, the Stachlburg Winery of Sigmund Kripp. He mainly focuses on the South Tyrolean classics Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Gewürztraminer, Vernatsch and Pinot Noir. The latter was voted Italy's best Pinot Noir in 2007 at the annual National Pinot Noir Days in Neumarkt.

Classic wines from the hills around Bolzano are available in organic quality from Ebnerhof in Leitach and from Nusserhof in Bolzano. To get to Ebnerhof you should be free from giddiness. But it is worth going up there. Johannes Plattner reliably produces very good Sankt Magdalener and Blauburgunder every year. Heinrich Mayr from Nusserhof specializes in Lagrein and the Teroldego, which is related to it. Since the latter does not enjoy a DOC status in South Tyrol, and thus one can see its South Tyrolean origin, it is sold as table wine with the name Tyroldego. The Lieselehof in Kaltern offers a special attraction. Here, 200 different grape varieties from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, the USA, Russia, South Africa and Japan are planted on a vineyard trail. The wines bottled and sold are the local classics Kalterersee, Pinot Blanc, and a Cabernet. During the tasting, I found the wines "Julian" and "Sweet Clair", made out of the Bronner mildew-resistant variety, to be the most impressive.

Other smaller South Tyrolean organic wineries are the Strickerhof in Frangard near Eppan, the Steffelehof in Kaltern, the Hof Gandberg in Eppan, the Sonnleitenhof in Terlan, the Zollweghof in Lana, the Schnalshuberhof in Lana as well as Franz Egger in Neumarkt.


There is a lot going on in the organic sector in South Tyrol. What impressed me most was the seriousness and seriousness with which organic or biodynamic work is done in South Tyrol. Although organic is very fashionable at the moment, no winegrower in South Tyrol hangs his activities in this regard on the big bell and uses them as a marketing tool. On the contrary - I only learned about the organic activities of some producers by chance. The organic methods serve the winegrowers here above all to produce very good, often first-class wine - which they also succeed in doing. Therefore my wish: keep it up!

To the third part "Even the stars go green"

To the second part "The green comrades

To the first part "Rainer Loacker

Related Magazine Articles

View All