This morning we headed out on the Gondola to the town of Bolzano below. Once in Bolzano we caught a bus to the Kellerei Bozen Winery where we took a wonderful tour. The winery used to have two locations where they produced their wines until 2018 when they moved into this new facility.
The winery is not owned by one family or corporation but instead is a co-operative of about 225 families who own vineyards in this region. They pool their small vineyards grapes to create about 50 different wines with a production of about 3,000,000 bottles a year. Each member of the co-operative is paid on the quality of the grapes that they bring to the winery for processing. The members receive payment for the grapes when they are harvested as well as receiving a quarterly payment from the profits of the winery.
This new facility was designed by an architect who had never previously designed a wine processing facility. It was built at a cost of about $40,000,000 and is built into the hillside and partially covered with vineyards making it both productive and eye appealing. Eight stories of soil had to be removed from the hillside before beginning construction from the ground up. Much of the rock in the soil was used in the concrete and the remaining soil was sold. There are ramps and scales for trucks and tractors to deliver the harvested grapes. The grape processing begins at the top floor of the facility in a drive through warehouse where the grapes are delivered. Gravity is used, rather than pumping, to move the grapes and juice through each process of the wine making until it finally reaches the ground floor cellar for storage and sale.
The facility is the most modern and complex winery I have ever seen and the multi-story processing plant is like none I have ever seen. They have a beautiful store and tasting room where they offer tours and sell their wines.
We tasted three white wines, three red wines and one dessert wine in a classroom- type tasting room. The wines sell in the range of $15 to $40 a bottle and everyone seemed to like them all, even if they had favorites. They do export some of their wines to the US and Canada, although most are consumed locally.
After our wine tour and tasting we took the bus back to the center of Bolzano where we had a walk through town. We stopped for a sandwich and a soft drink before returning to our hotel at the top of the mountain. Dinner is always something special and this night was no exception. We had delicious spinach dumplings with brown butter and parmesan followed by a wine soup. The main course was a veal saltimbocca with scalloped potatoes and cabbage. Dessert was a very light chocolate mousse with a hint of orange accompanied with pears.