Rescuing the real Schiava

The historic Gschleier vineyard of ancient Schiava vines in Alto Adige

Walter goes on a mission to the mountains. Above, the Gschleier vineyard, proof of Schiava's potential magnificence.

Schiava, Alto Adige's historic red wine grape variety, is capable of making transparent, complex, elegant wines, but suffers from overproduction and standardised practices. The region needs to wake up to the excellence of this greatly misunderstood variety, which is rapidly losing ground, literally, to the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio.

I care deeply about Italy's underdog grape varieties, the ones that are widely seen as mediocre. I embrace them because, without fail, they are authentic and always (I know of no exception) have a long...