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Peter Zoller & Elisabeth Saumwald

“We have learned so much. About our vines. And about us.”

In 2003, Peter Zoller and his wife Elisabeth Saumwald found the courage to start a very unusal business: cultivating wine in Northern Tyrol. In Haiming, at the entrance to the Ötztal, their small vineyards are located right at the foot of the mighty Tschirgant. The mountain’s face rises up over 1,000 meters and acts as a natural heat reservoir. The risk has paid off. Their award-winning wines are getting better and better.

“When people ask us how we are – we catch ourselves thinking about our vines. It is an intense relation, indeed. This year we can answer again: very good, thank you! It was a good summer for the vines. This will be a great wine year for Northern Tyrol.

There is no financial motivation behind making our wines. We have turned our hobby into a passion, which we can share with people – and that is a beautiful feeling. We have 1.8 hectares. For us, it’s the optimal size to still do what we love with a passion and an ease of mind. Sure, our vineyards are a challenge, but they are also deeply satisfying.

It’s a beautiful occupation. Most of the time, we are out in good weather and we watch and help our vines grow throughout the year. It’s a contemplative, meditative work. At the end of the day, you are nicely tired physically, but your mind is fresh and clean.

We have planted each and every one of our vines by hand without any machines. We have learned so much over the years – about the vines as well as about ourselves. We sound a bit like we are talking about our children, don’t we?! We also have wonderful conversations in the vineyard. Many people will have the same experiences: when you go for a walk it sometimes feels easier to talk than when you sit across from each other. Being outside does something to you.

This summer, in particular, has shown us how important it is to come together. We had quite a few tastings, where friends could meet again. They used our wide space to see each other again after a longer period of time. The tastings soon turned into warm-hearted happenings despite the distance. For us, it is beautiful as well to see our place become alive. It doesn’t have the same energy without people.

Harvesting time is, of course, a very special time for us.  ist dann etwas ganz Besonderes. We have a very diverse group of helping hand pickers. There is the church choir that sings while gently picking the grapes. Or the rafting guy from Germany that accidently walked by one year and returned the following weekend with four colleagues. After picking the grapes, we all join together and sit down to eat and have a glass of wine. We all enjoy the tense work and the joyful relaxation – and, of course, the community.”

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