THE FALCON OF SÜDITROL
The Falkenstein farm winery & vineyard is to be found on the slopes of the Sonnenburg Mountain in Naturns. The story begins in 1989, when Franz and Bernadette Pratzner decided to abandon their apple orchards and dedicate themselves exclusively to viticulture.The impervious terrain of primary rock, exposed to the south, lends itself perfectly to the growing of vines. The grape vines extend over an area of twelve hectares at altitudes of between 590–900 m a.s.l., producing around 90,000 bottles per year. The vineyards are dedicated mostly to white grapes, with a small part for Pinot Noir. Among the varieties cultivated, Riesling is the most outstanding.
Franz and Bernadette work mostly manually, with machinery employed only in a supportive capacity. Since 2003, all wine-making is carried out in the purposely-built wine cellar. The architect responsible absorbed into the design the family’s desire to create a harmony between the old and the new. For this reason a wine cellar in stone was built, joined to the more modern building, in which the white wines are today perfected.
The family business is run by Franz Praztner, his wife Bernadette and their two daughters Magdalena and Michaela. They carry forward the Pratzner family tradition with enormous enthusiasm. In the past, the Praztners cultivated Vernatsch (Schiava) for diners at their family-run inn.
Franz and Bernadette believed strongly in their project, to transform this vocation into their profession. Today we taste the proof. In the cellar where the wines mature and develop their individual characteristics, we find Franz, the wine-maker. He cares for his wines with enormous passion, monitoring every stage of their progress, making sure they all reach their maximum potential. Franz:
"Wine has the personality of an infant child: delicate, vulnerable and free. Each needs to be accompanied along their path to maturity. During this period of their lives we share those times which are sometimes beautiful and sometimes difficult, until they have arrived at the moment they are ready to stand on their own."
His wife Bernadette, on the other hand, is a person who loves being in contact with nature. It comes as no surprise, then, that she spends most of her time in the open air and among the vines. Bernadette:
“Like butterflies, colored and fragile, they develop like hungry little larva; and so it is that the wine is born. From the buds of old vines sprout the same vivid array of colors!”
- Franz and Bernadette Pratzner