The historic winery Grottnerhof is an absolute insider tip! Hidden behind the 13th century walls are two luxury suites that are ideal for secluded honeymoons without having to sacrifice high standards.
The Grottnerhof lies dreamily on the slopes of the Völser Ried, surrounded by its own vineyards. Already the outward journey on the narrow one-lane road through the forest gives you an idea that we are far away from civilization. The 13th century vineyard, which is a listed building, was mentioned in documents as early as the time of the famous minstrel Oswald von Wolkenstein, who came from the area and is said to have caught birds here. He got his creativity from the worldwide journeys his father sent him on when he was ten years old.
The story of this famous personality from the Middle Ages is reminiscent of that of the current owner of this imposing farm, which has lost nothing of its radiance to this day. It is none other than Stephan Pramstrahler, bird whisperer of the Romantik Hotel Turm, who put his father in a long-distance truck heading for France when he was 14 years old. “In 2007, my wife and I bought the farm to save it from decay. At the time I thought it would bring in nothing, and yet I risked the high cost.” Many wonderful memories hang on this court, which he remembers with pleasure.
He wants his guests to participate in this feeling. When he was young, he often visited this estate where a lot of cooking was done. “We sat in the kitchen and the mother of the farm prepared South Tyrolean dishes for us. We ate, drank wine and had a lot of fun here. Even today I can still hear the scratching of the ladle in the cast-iron pan…”
Stephan unlocks the wooden entrance door. The house has been lovingly and above all elaborately modernised without destroying its historic core. He has even taken care to preserve the original as far as possible. Authenticity is important to him and he wants to preserve it for future generations. Even the huge door key seems to be from the Middle Ages. We enter. Ahead of us, a view of a Gothic cross vault opens up.
It leads us into the most important room of the house: the kitchen. It actually looks like a cosy fairy-tale witch’s lair. Even the ceiling is original black by soot due to the open wood stove. “Do you know who the witches in the fairy tales really are?” We are curious. Stephan explains that in those days the elderly woman played an important role in the kitchen, because she watched over the fire, which people were in awe of. Fire was life-giving, but it could also take life or turn the whole property to ashes.
So she was the fire keeper. Of course her face was full of soot and so this could be a deterrent to the children. In the fairy tales you’d usually see the old witch bent over a pot. In those days people preferred to prepare stews. The pot hung on chains over the fire and the prepared food simmered slowly. This exact scene of a respected female family member in her everyday life during that time is reflected in the wicked old witch with a hump in fairy tales. Old people were very respected in society at that time because of their experience and wisdom. “Today, most families put them in old people’s homes because they are more likely to harm the economy. Nobody can afford to take care of them,” Stephan concludes his story sadly.
Even the original bread oven is still working like in the good old days. “Back then, bread baking was a social event that goes way back. Once the fire had been stoked, all the neighbours were invited to join in on the baking. They prepared the dough together, which then had to rest for a long time, and then baking was done in convivial company. During this time, of course, wine was also being drunk,” laughs Stephan.
Then comes something we did not expect. He’s taking us to the first floor. When he opens the door, it seems as if we enter a different world. Our eyes have to get used to this sight. Stephan smiles, because the intended effect has come to fruition. We look over a wide suite with an exposed bathtub, a king-size bed and original wooden beams. The impressive lamp made of deer antlers was designed by the farm owner himself and the beautiful curtains are made of original Bolzano linen, which was originally used by farmers to tie hay on their backs for carrying.
There are only two of these extravagant suites. They’re very popular with couples on their honeymoon. The location of this Vinum Hotel is perfect for this. Living far away from the stress of everyday life in the midst of vineyards. That is also the reason why the farm is often booked for weddings or even marriage proposals.
The avant-garde exterior and the royal colour, which is so similar to Napoleon’s cloak, attract the attention of other road users. This French luxury object on four wheels is a homage to Paris itself. La Déesse, the goddess, is reborn, only in a different dress, appropriate to our times.
Next to the old house there is a wooden covered arbour tree with seating and a view of the vineyards. At the beautifully laid table we eat Topfenschmarrn with apples cooked in white wine, which Stephan has prepared for us in his high-tech kitchen in the courtyard. It is his office, so to speak, where he also likes to give small cooking classes. “When I wanted to buy the farm, I talked about it with my newly wed wife. We just got married. I already had my doubts about how she would react. She is a mathematician by training, an absolute brain and I am a simple gastronome.
She listened to everything and told me: ‘If you see the mistake beforehand and you can afford it, then you can make that mistake.’ I knew she was the right one before, but after that reaction I knew I was very lucky with her. Today, the farm is a lucrative business because of its authenticity, filled with passion for preserving history by the Pramstrahler family. A “mistake” that paid off due to trust between two loving people. For us a modern fairy tale with a happy end, which we will gladly pass on.
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Stephan Pramstrahler has given us his recipe for the delicious curd cheese cake. Enjoy your meal!
for 4 persons
Peel the apples and cut them into small slices. Cook them with the remaining ingredients in a large pot with lid for 15 minutes. Strain the apple slices, reduce the liquid to 1/3, then add the apple slices.
Mix curd cheese with cream, milk, butter, semolina, flour, egg yolk, salt, lemon zest, rum and vanilla sugar.
Beat the egg whites with sugar to a frothy beaten egg white and fold into the curd mixture.
Sprinkle the sugar in a large flat pan and heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to caramelize and add the butter.
Add the foamy curd mixture to the pan and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
Then cut out noodles with a tablespoon and place them on the apple compote with the caramelised side up.