A sip of Liechtenstein
Princess Marie on Liechtenstein's wine tradition
Wine tasting with Princess Marie
Wine was already cultivated in Liechtenstein at the beginning of the Christian era. To this day, the wine tradition is alive and well in the country's communities.
Wine has been cultivated in the area of today's Liechtenstein for around 2000 years. It was the Romans who brought systematic vine cultivation to the region back then. However, they were forced to abandon their wines originating from the south. Instead, they cultivated the indigenous, wild-growing varieties that were best able to cope with the climatic conditions. However, the white Elbling, which was the preferred grape variety at the beginning of the wine-growing tradition in Liechtenstein, disappeared from the domestic vineyards in the 1940s. Today, the more than 100 winegrowers in Liechtenstein cultivate around 20 different grape varieties. One stands out: for about 350 years, Pinot Noir, or Blauburgunder, has been considered the wine variety best suited to Liechtenstein's climate. Thus, it is still considered the most typical Liechtenstein wine today.
Gutenberg Castle Balzers
The vines are cultivated from the Eschnerberg in the north of the country to the Gutenberg hill in the southern tip of Liechtenstein. Nevertheless, the main town of Vaduz is considered the wine-growing community par excellence. The south-facing and protected locations, as well as the optimal climatic conditions, allowed the largest areas of vineyards in the country to develop here as early as the Middle Ages. Vaduz is also home to the Prince's Court Winery. It offers a good overview of the range of Liechtenstein wines as well as rarities that can be tasted and purchased.
Hofkellerei Wine Barrels
"We offer different wines that have different characters depending on the grape variety, selection and ageing stage. But what runs through like a red thread is the claim to produce the highest quality. We make no compromises here and this quality strategy pays off."
Wine from Liechtenstein
In addition to the Hofkelleri in Vaduz, special Liechtenstein wines can also be tasted at the Castellum winery in Eschen and at Harry Zechs Weinbau Cantina in Schaanwald. The wine culture is also kept alive by the many winegrowers who cultivate small areas on a sideline basis or for their own use and press their own wines.
Cantina Harry Zech winery
What is the significance of wine for you?
"For me, wine is first and foremost a pleasure product that I love to consume on different occasions and with different dishes. I also associate wine very strongly with conviviality, a good meal with friends or a family celebration. A wine can contribute to a good mood - if consumed in moderation - in a very positive way and round off an evening perfectly. Moreover, wine is an incredibly multifaceted natural product that is influenced by various environmental factors and is therefore always good for surprises."
How has your view of wine and its production changed since you trained as a sommelier?
"Through my training I have become much more aware of the diversity of wine. Every wine is a product of precise manual work, not only in the vineyard but also in the cellar."
How often are you out and about in the Hofkellerei vineyards yourself?
"Unfortunately far too rarely, but when I do find time, I enjoy the beauty of the landscape and try to learn a lot from Mr Weinmeyer, our oenologist and managing director. He has been with us for almost 35 years and knows every vineyard and vine."