In his late twenties, with fair skin and a swash of auburn hair, Florian is the latest in a dynasty of Tyrolean winemakers. He looks after the 5,000-hectare family vineyards close to Bolzano. ‘My grandfather and father established the vineyards, and I’ve never thought of doing anything else,’ he says.
‘We’re lucky,’ says Florian, wandering among his workers as they snip off the year’s final flush of grapes. ‘We have so many aspects, altitudes, temperatures and soils, we can grow almost any grape we want here. It’s the perfect place to be a winemaker.’
He sets up a table high in the vineyard, overlooking Bolzano’s terracotta rooftops. From a satchel, he produces two bottles of wine: a white kerner and a lagrein red, both signature grapes of South Tyrol. The white is crisp and mineral-rich, the red perfumed and fruity. ‘Törggelen is our Thanksgiving,’ says Florian, taking a sip of wine. ‘That’s why it has lasted as a tradition.’ He smiles and heads off to fetch another bottle of wine.
Beyond the vineyard’s terraces, bare trees stretch out along the backroads, and clouds of fallen leaves rattle and swirl in the breeze. Above, the sun is sinking behind the Dolomites, and the summits sparkle with the first dusting of snow. Winter is coming to the mountains, but for now at least, there are a few more days of autumn to enjoy.