May 14, 2018|In Winery Spotlight

Franz Haas: One of the Finest Producers from Alto Adige

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Looking for something a little different? Tucked up in the mountains of Alto Adige in the far north of Italy, we are thrilled to have discovered a hidden gem – the Franz Haas Winery.

Franz Haas’ wines are refreshing, exciting and dynamic offering new flavours and textures. Since its establishment in 1880, the Franz Haas Winery has endeavoured to produce top quality wines. Their grapes are sourced from 55 hectares of vineyards which are a mix of those they own, rent or contract. The estate has been lovingly passed down for seven generations, each one taking on the name of their father, Franz Haas. The current owner and winemaker is technically named Franziskus, but still goes by the name of Franz.

Current owner and winemaker Franziskus Haas

Although steeped in history, the wines are modern and visionary combining the best of tradition with the best techniques and philosophies of the twenty-first century. The family has always strived for excellence and the current Franz Haas has pushed the boundary even further – upwards in fact! Grapes grown at higher altitudes offer wines of wonderful elegance and purity, however, due to global warming, Haas felt some of the refreshing acidity and delicate flavours were starting to decline. He took a pioneering leap and decided to plant new vineyards higher up the mountains, some even at 850m above sea level. The fruit from these higher vineyards, as well as from following biodynamic practices has led to Franz Haas producing some of the finest wines in the region. They offer wonderful finesse and fragrance and are a true expression of their terroir.

High altitude vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Apart from being unique and prestigious wines, Franz Haas stands out from the crowd with their beautiful, eye catching labels. Simple but dramatic, they were designed by the esteemed artist Riccardo Schweizer who used to paint with Picasso, Chagall, Cocteau, Paul Éluard and Le Corbusier. When Franz released his new range of wines in 1990 his wife, Maria Luisa Manna presented the labels to him as a lucky omen. Many years on, these artistic labels still attract attention. They reflect the quality and creation within the bottle as well as without.

Franz Haas Winery produces a range of wines, their most famous being Manna, named after Haas’s wife. It is a delicious and unusual blend of white grape varieties and one of the most versatile wines ever produced for food matching. It was launched in 1996 and was specifically created to accompany all the courses of a traditional long Italian lunch which as we know includes a huge range of flavours and textures. The blend is Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc.

Franz Haas is also driven to produce high quality Pinot Noir – a more unusual variety for this region, yet one he feels will work well in the cool climate conditions. Known as Pinot Nero in Italy, Haas picked his first vintage in 1987 and released it in 1990 under the new, show stopping Schweizer labels.

Pinot Nero Grapes

The estate also produces a wonderfully fruity Pinot Grigio which is pure, elegant and refreshing.

Lagrein is a seductive red variety which is now being trialled in New Zealand. However, it is indigenous to the North of Italy where they have been making these enticing wines of dark red and black fruits with a hint of spice for centuries.

There is no doubt that the passion and vision of the current Franz Haas and the six previous Franz Haas’ have together created a legacy of wines which capture the essence of the mountainous Alto-Adige region as they celebrate elegance, purity, fragrance and class.