It is now official in South Tyrol: the word “Vigna” on a wine label has legal status. “Vigna” signifies a single-vineyard wine made from grapes that stem from one single, exactly defined vineyard. As of now, only the harvest from one legally demarcated vineyard parcel may be vinified to create these superb wines. Even in years when the harvest is extremely small, it is forbidden to add grapes from a neighbouring vineyard. The term “Vigna” on a wine label guarantees the origin of a single-vineyard wine and is combined with the famed name of the vineyard parcel. The French term for this is a “Cru” – a wine that speaks of a specific origin.
For a vineyard parcel to classify as a “Vigna”, the vintner must register it with the South Tyrol department of land administration. He must be able to show that the vineyard parcel is mentioned by name in the land registry or prove that the grapes from the particular parcel have been harvested and vinified separately to produce a single-vineyard wine for several years.
The Josef Hofstätter wine estate has produced and labelled the single-vineyard wines “Barthenau Vigna S. Urbano” (Pinot Noir) and “Barthenau Vigna S. Michele” (Pinot Blanc) ever since 1987. Paolo Foradori, the father of the current vintner, introduced these two wines from Pinot varieties to the market because they offered superb expression of two extraordinary vineyard parcels located in the Mazon community. These two wines, which were regional pioneers at the end of the 1980s, are now internationally established and demanded. The Mazon plateau located above the village of Neumarkt is particularly renowned for its Pinot sites. A further Pinot Noir from the Hofstätter wine assortment grows here: the “Riserva Mazon”.
The Hofstätter’s famous Gewürztraminer is sourced from historic vineyards on the west side of the valley above the village of Tramin on the Söll slope: the “Kolbenhof” parcels of the Kolbenhof farmstead and the “Rechenthaler Schlossleiten” a parcel near the castle of the same name. The Hofstätter Estate owns yet another outstanding vineyard at the foot of the Söll Mountain called “Steinraffler”. This parcel is an ideal home for the autochthon grape variety Lagrein. The “Vigna” classification will also be used on the labels of these single-vineyard wines (the Kolbenhof, Rechtenthaler Schlossleiten, and the Steinraffler) in the future.
Martin Foradori Hofstätter states, “We were the first in South Tyrol to carry the name ‘Vigna’ on our wine labels. We have always meticulously documented the production of our single-vineyard wines from our best historic vineyard parcels. Other wine producers in South Tyrol must also provide documentation for their single-vineyard wines to carry the ‘Vigna’ label. Our advantage over other producers is that we have not resorted to replacing the historic names of vineyard sites and farmsteads with trendy marketing-friendly names. To the contrary, we have made a point of highlighting regional tradition and terroir. The registry of ‘Vigna’ by the department of land administration confirms our efforts. Most importantly, the new official classification will further enhance consumer trust in wine from South Tyrol in the future.”
The philosophy and efforts of Paolo and Martin Foradori Hofstätter now enjoy government certification and control. What was initiated by a wine estate in Tramin has become an advantage for the entire South Tyrol. A small wine region with a unique combination of varietal diversity and extraordinary vineyard sites can gain increased recognition and consumer awareness with its single-vineyard wines, terroir wines with a true sense of place.