WHERE THE LAGREIN AND ST. MAGDALENER WINES GROW
They are dark red and velvety, have a hint of forest berries, cherries, violets, almonds and barrique. They prosper on well-aerated, gravelly soils, especially those of volcanic porphyry, they enjoy 300 days of sun a year and dry temperatures of up to 40 degrees.
What are they? The answer: Lagrein and St. Magdalener. These are Bolzano’s two local wines and they grow both on the sun-kissed slopes and also in the valley within the town itself, at altitudes ranging from 205 m to 700 m. There’s an old saying: Venice swims on water but Bolzano swims on wine. And sure enough, with its 510 hectares of vineyards, South Tyrol’s capital produces around one tenth of the whole province’s wine, making it the second-biggest wine-producing municipality in South Tyrol. The town itself has almost 30 wineries, large and small, producing Lagrein and St. Magdalener, as well as other wines.
The Cantina di Bolzano winery has 200 members and produces around 3 million bottles a year on around 330 hectares. Around 35% of the production are white wines. Also the municipality of Bolzano is a member because the town has its own vineyards in the centre of town next to the river Talfer, around romantic Schloss Maretsch, as well as on the hillsides near Schloss Runkelstein. South Tyrol has always been a wine area, already the Romans knew how to harness the mild climate for the cultivation of grapes.
Since the 1990’s South Tyrol’s wineries have become internationally-renowned for producing top-quality wines. Initially, it was the white wines that caught international attention but more recently, the reds have joined them, so that they can easily hold their own against wines from France and from other parts of Italy. South Tyrol’s wines win top awards year after year, such as those of Italy’s renowned Gambero Rosso wine-guide; Bolzano’s Lagrein has even featured in a supplement of the New York Times.
The town also knows how to promote its wines, with three events dedicated exclusively to the cult of Bacchus: the Bacchus Urbanus programme which takes place every Saturday in April, May, June, September and October allows interested visitors to take part in guided visits to Bolzano’s wine-growing area, together with a visit to a winery and a wine-tasting session. The 10th August is the Lorenzi Nacht event, from 6 pm till midnight, when Bolzano’s medieval Lauben street is transformed into an open-air wine and gourmet mile, with all Bolzano’s wineries presenting their different wines. And the 17th September sees the St. Magdalener wine day, during which the fascinating small church of St. Magdalena can be viewed and the wineries clustered around the St. Magdalena hill can be visited, together with wine-tasting sessions.
Bolzano Tourist Office