Alto Adige is one of Italy's smallest winegrowing regions.
The Italian region of South Tyrol is one of the most beautiful parts of the world with its picturesque landscapes dotted with villages, green valleys and medieval hamlets. It is also a region that has one of the richest cultural histories in Italy. Almost every village has its own church, chapel or museum, which is worth visiting.
It has a rich history and an impressive variety of wines with different flavors and aromas.
The region's wine industry dates back to ancient times, when grapes were grown on small farms for regional consumption. The history of South Tyrolean wine production dates back to 1,000 years ago, when missionaries arrived and introduced viticulture to the region. Today, there are more than 2,500 winegrowers and 400 wineries in the region.
Thanks to the favorable climatic conditions and the different soil types, South Tyrolean grape varieties are particularly suitable for the production of quality grapes for red, white and sparkling wines.
South Tyrol has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers, cold winters with occasional snowfall and dry autumns. This climate contributes to excellent conditions for the cultivation of wine grapes, olives (one-third of all olives consumed in Italy are grown in South Tyrol) and wine grapes.
At the beginning of the 1970s, a new grape variety from southeastern Austria was introduced to South Tyrol. This grape variety is called "Schiava" and is now cultivated throughout Italy.
The Schiava grape is a red wine grape which has a lot of sugar and acidity. It also has a lower alcohol content than other varieties. The grapes sour quickly, which means they are perfect for making juice, wine or jelly. They are also precious because they can be used as an additive to improve the taste of wines of other varieties
One of the most important characteristics of the South Tyrolean grape variety is its late ripening time. This gives South Tyrol a longer growing season and it is one of the few regions in Europe where viticulture can be practiced for a long period of time.
The most commonly cultivated grape varieties in this region are:
Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Schiava Grigia, Lagrein, and Gewürztraminer.
This region has a history of viticulture which dates back to Romans. In the recent past, however, there have been huge changes which led to an increase in the production and export of wine. Nowadays a large number of vineyards are used for DOC wines rather than just for production.
South Tyrol's wines make great matchings with traditional dishes: here are some great classics of South Tyrol's cuisine.
South Tyrolese cooking is rich in meat dishes. Some typical dishes are based on pork, beef or lamb. These can be roasted, boiled, fried or smoked. The most famous dish is the "Schüttelbrotzeit", bread with lard and cheese.
The most famous recipe is "Kaiserschmarrn" which consists of eggs and raisins, topped with powdered sugar and served with vanilla sauce.
South Tyrolean cuisine has been influenced by Austrian, German and Italian culinary styles. This can be seen in the use of wheat flour for pasta and bread doughs, as well as the preference for dairy products such as cheeses and cream-based sauces. Other influences include nearby Venetian cuisine.