The Beginner’s Guide to Italy’s South Tyrol Wine Region

Given that neighboring vineyards often have very different characteristics, it is not surprising that the Alto Adige DOC is subdivided into zones, adds South Tirol Wine. The DOC covers approximately 98% of all wines produced in the region, providing a useful indication to consumers of what is in their glass. The main regions are Valle Isarco, Santa Maddalena, Terlano, Meranese, Valle Venosta and Colli di Bolzano. Further subdivisions can be made to identify more specific winemaking guidelines.

Valle Isarco is the northernmost and oldest wine-growing area, and produces mostly crisp, aromatic white wines thanks to the steep terrain and high altitudes (via Forbes). Given its northern location, common German varieties like sylvaner, kerner, and riesling are primarily grown. Terlano also focuses on growing white grapes and international varieties like pinot blanc and chardonnay.

Santa Maddalena and Bolzano are known for their red wines thanks to the added warmth of the sunny climate. In small quantities, the local grape schiava is the star cultivar along with other red grapes like lagrein and pinot noir. More reds are grown in the Meranese subregion, where high altitudes and sandy soils underpin Pinot Noir, Schiava and Merlot wines with sweet acidity and smooth tannins (via Great Italian Chefs). As for Valle Venosta, red and white varieties flourish – gewürztraminer, sylvaner, müller thurgau, chardonnay and pinot blanc, grigio and noir are part of the mix.

Elisha A. Tilghman