The J.Hofstätter estate was established in 1907 by the Foradori-Hofstätter family in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy, bordering Switzerland and Austria. The 50 hectares of vineyards are located on both sides of the steep Adige valley on south-west and south-east facing slopes which benefit from good sunlight at this high altitude. Within the estate there is a wealth of different soil types and microclimates; the soils themselves include deposits created by glaciers that melted from the Alps. A range of different grape varieties is grown here including the demanding gewüztraminer and the sensitive pinot nero (pinot noir). The latter is an important variety for Hofstätter, who make some of the most fragrant and seductive examples, with a freshness, texture and unmistakeable pinot flavour rarely encountered in Italian pinot noir. Pinot bianco is also a particular speciality.
Making wine in this cool, mountainous area requires the highest level of vineyard husbandry, reflected in Hofstätter’s commitment to their environment. One of the guiding principles here is to respect the biological rhythms of nature, and to interfere with them as little as possible. Interestingly, the estate has a very special relationship with bees, producing a delicious honey called Hofstätter Honig, and relying on the bees to replace chemicals in pest control. The team here is largely drawn from local people led by Martin Foradori, his cousin Franz Oberhöfer and their gifted winemaker Markus Heinel. Land in the village of Tramin (the origins of gewürztraminer) where Hofstätter is based, is limited, so their remarkable cellars are five levels high. Pinot nero matures in barrels below ground and the tasting room on the top floor is level with the bell tower of the church!