The Falkenstein Winery is situated on the left bank of the Val Venosta on a sun-kissed hillside referred to as the ‘Fortress of the Hawk’. The vineyards stand above the picturesque castle of Naturno and have been managed with great passion for over 15 years by Franz Pratzer, the present owner, together with his wife Bernadette. The vineyards, all with southern exposure, extend for 12 hectares and are planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Apple trees, peach trees and Schiava also known as Vernatsch vines were previously grown here.
The wine story began after Franz returned from a school trip to the Wachau wine region of Austria. It was then and there where he discovered his passion for wine. After returning he spoke to his father about planting a few vines among the apple orchards that cover the land. What started as a hobby and then in 1989, Franz and Bernadette Pratzner decided to abandon their orchards and dedicate themselves completely to viticulture. Franz and Bernadette believed strongly in their project and quickly transformed this hobby into their profession. Today their daughters Magdalena and Michaela join them an actively work in the winery.
Sustainable viticulture and natural winemaking practices are pursued here, a way of retaining the best character of the grapes while giving back to the soil. The cellar, with very modern equipment has been updated and renovated. Acacia casks, of a capacity of 10-40 hectolitres are used to vinify and mature the white wines which are kept on the lees until the time of bottling. Acacia’s character and flavor is neutral so that the complex aromatics of the wines are maintained and enhanced.The wines are rich and structured, and the fruit is intense and complex with a lively and fresh acidity. Falkenstein Riesling has been awarded 3 Glasses Gambero Rosso 13 times in the last 30 years and continues on as one of Italy’s most celebrated Riesling.