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Wine with mountain views

The rebellious vintner from Zillertal

Can you even grow wine in Zillertal? Despite other people’s doubts, Maria Pfister believed so, put it to the test and is now Zillertal’s only vintner – with her own wine tavern. A truly delectable story!

When the first leaves started to appear on the then small plants five years ago, there were lots of intrigued whispers about what was sprouting and growing. The theories ranged from hemp to hops, but no-one guessed that they were simply the leaves of Maria and Roland Pfister’s first grapevines.

Maria naturally likes to tell this story – and does so with a grin. After all, it clearly demonstrates how unusual grapevines are in this region of Austria. A few happy coincidences made it possible for them to be grown at all: fruit trees have always thrived on her parents’ farm, which aroused Maria’s curiosity. She spontaneously studied soil culture in Vienna. And when the family farm was handed down to her, she used her knowledge to test the ground and soil. “To my great surprise, the lab results clearly showed that we have the perfect terroir for viticulture”, she tells us. She also realised that the Zellberg and Gerlosberg closely hug the vineyard, creating an optimum microclimate. Despite the scepticism of others around her, the expert allowed her vision of making wine to develop further and has now been growing grapes for five years.

“People instantly
started whispering
about what was
being grown. It was
only our wine.”

Maria Pfister, vintner

Today, things have really matured: Maria has opened a genuine wine tavern right next to the vineyard. This is subject to the same special laws that apply throughout Austria and stipulate that such taverns must predominantly sell products that they have made themselves rather than pre-purchased ones like in a restaurant. This means that Maria solely offers her own wine, spirits, juices and spreads. She also only serves regional products, such as meat products from her brother-in-law, who is known throughout the valley for his specialities.

But the Gielerhof wine tavern is the only place where you can enjoy these and other culinary delights with a glass of wine while sitting in a relaxed vineyard surrounded by three-thousanders. An idyllic scene unlike any other in the world!

Image and text: Bernhard Huber | Johannes Stühlinger
Zillertal magazine summer 2020


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