Three generations learn from each other
How love for fruit connects
Apple ambassador Christine
of the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm in Parcines
If Felix doesn’t harvest all apples of the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm in Parcines at harvest time, it doesn’t happen by accident. He allows some of them to ripen for another ten days and doesn’t deliver them to the cooperative. It’s like a Christmas tree that is still decorated with a star in January to solemnly extend this important period. “My apples still hang on this small row of trees because my mom Christine later turns them into something very special.“
Every year, Christine “books“ these fragrant raw materials for the fine art of distillery. In this way, the apples still hanging on the trees get a very noble purpose very early. “My son only gives me perfectly clean and healthy fruits, which he would otherwise deliver to the cooperative. I mash them at the right time, which means that I mix them with yeast in a special container and allow them to ferment. Thanks to distillation I get a wonderfully fragrant Val Venosta apple distillate that can even contain traces of fresh mountain air.“ The right moment is of uppermost importance for Felix and Christine at the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm – for everything that happens at the farm. They probably learnt the right timing for all processes at the farm from grandma Annelies: If you want the distillate to smell of “its” apple, the fruits have to be harvested at the exact stage of ripeness. You need fewer fertilizers in the orchards in the wane of the moon. And even the wine binds the carbon dioxide better if Felix fills his approx. 5,000 bottles per year in the wane of the moon.
Time seems to have been benevolent at the medieval residence of the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm all the time, probably because its owners always considered it as precious and treated it respectfully. Everything seems so idyllic here. “Sometimes, you simply have to take your time. One example is when we learn from each other,“ says Christine. The knowledge transfer does not only take place from the older to the younger generation here, on the contrary. After graduating from the technical college for fruit production and viticulture and practical experience at home and abroad Felix enriched life on the farm with a lot of new knowhow that had to overcome his mom’s and grandma’s initial skepticism. Examples are the pruning of apple trees and of his Goldmuskateller, Zweigelt or Müller-Thurgau vines.
Mother Christine doesn’t only share her knowledge with her own family but with all those who are interested in it. Because Christine is one of South Tyrol’s more than 40 apple ambassadors. She thus invites to guided tours through her apple orchards and talks to all kinds of visitors: school groups, many tourists and even to local inhabitants now and then. During these visits she gives interesting information about apples, flowers, pollination, insects, crop protection and much more. “We have to do with apples day in, day out and know everything about them. But there are many people who don’t know anything about apples. We have to give more information and have to work and convince patiently, which is very important,“ says Christine.
“Today, Val Venosta’s apple producers work with modern weather stations for wind, temperature and precipitation forecasts in Europe’s highest apple cultivation area. My grandma didn’t have something like that. Her forecasts were based on past personal experience, carefully adapted to the present.“ says Felix. Advice and tips come with the time. Sometimes, all generations have to try them out together. One example is frost control with frost candles. “We had never done that before, a lasting experience. We had 750 frost candles on our approx. 2.5 hectares of land during the first year and it worked. That was pure joy and great satisfaction. We were able to successfully control frost,“ says grandma Annelies.
Love for the nature and for what it is willing to give in good time connects the three generations. Everything seems to be harmoniously interwoven at the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm in Parcines. There is a clear separation of responsibilities but with much synergy and shared enthusiasm where it is important. When grandma Annelies uses her old Vespa with manual clutch to see if everything is all right at the farm in the middle of Val Venosta’s alpine mountain world and mother Christine mysteriously produces her apple distillate or grappa in her distillery, then son Felix knows that his passion for fruit production and viticulture is needed and appreciated here.
The right moment is so invaluably precious and already influenced the DNA of the ancestors. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and also sparks the enthusiasm of many satisfied customers of apples, wines and distillates. They feel and appreciate the generation-long sustainable quality of Val Venosta’s typical products of the Gaudenz Gutshof Isser farm. Probably since when Gaudenz of Parcines, a knight and nobleman, laid the foundation for fine fruit and wine tastings in the 14th century: in pure or refined form, depending on its inhabitants’ pleasure and innovative energy.
Have you ever wondered who defends your apples in Val Venosta? Most of you would say the farmers, of course, with meticulous inspection rounds and skillful movements. That’s true but tiny creatures do a large part of the work, too. Get to know them!