We caught up with Alois Lageder, the fifth generation of a highly esteemed winery in South Tyrol
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I took over the family estate 40 years ago, and I am proud to have been able to put nature in the centre of our creation; over the years we have converted to bio-dynamical farming. In the 1980’s I worked systematically on improving the quality of grapes and wines and have broken new ground to achieve this goal, leading to success worldwide.
In 1934, my father purchased the manor house and vineyards of the Löwengang estate in the village of Margreid near Bolzano. Here he found what he was looking for: excellent exposures not only for white-wine vineyards, but also for full body red wines. I’m happy that my son has recently entered the winery – along with me and our team he will work on the future of the estate, by further increasing the quality and elaboration of the terroir in the various wines of our wine region.
What is it about South Tyrol that you love the most?
The peculiarity of South Tyrol is mainly its intact natural landscape. This is characterized by the contrast between North and South. The meeting of alpine elements with Mediterranean creates contrasts, symbioses and strong attractions. In all areas, from the landscape on to the climate, the culture, the language, the architecture, the cuisine and the wine you can feel this interaction.
How does South Tyrol inspire your work and creativity?
As a winemaker here in South Tyrol I feel very lucky. Wines are always an expression of their place of origin – especially so here, where every site has its own peculiar characteristic. Whether the grapes grow in the protection of the face of a cliff, on the chalky scree of Magrè or on the steep slopes above Lake Caldaro, for example, you will taste the difference in these wines.
This great variety of position, exposures, soils and microclimates offered by our land, is certainly a great inspiration for my work, because it challenges us to constantly adapt.
Do you have a favourite wine?
My favourite grape variety is definitely the Pinot Noir. I love the elegance, the saltiness and the complexity of that grape variety.
How would you spend a summer’s day in South Tyrol?
In my leisure time I love to experience the South Tyrolean mountains, which give me an incredible amount of strength and energy. And once having reached the summit, I enjoy a dip in one of our many small mountain lakes.
Have you got a favourite time of year?
I don’t have a favourite time. What I like is to observe and experience the differences of each single season.
Why do you think South Tyrol produces and inspires some of the world’s best food and wine?
I think the decisive factor is again our terroir: the totality of all the natural factors that constitute the uniqueness of this place and influence the quality of our work. In regions such as ours, the greatest challenge for producing high quality is to understand their terroir.
Where would you go to eat the best food in South Tyrol?
To my friend Norbert Niederkofler, who is the chef of the Hubertusstube in Sankt Kassian, in the heart of the Dolomites.