Alto Adige or Sud Tirol? In Italian, Alto Adige refers to the high or upper reaches of the Adige, the stony, swift flowing river that Ernest Hemingway immortalized in A Farewell to Arms. However, most of the world knows this stunning country as the Sud Tirol or the South Tyrol. The dual name illuminates this region’s splintered history and highlights its continuing split personality. Presently, Alto Adige is officially an autonomous region of Italy, but the Alto Adige or South Tyrol remains primarily German speaking, which underscores the fact that for most of its tortured history this beautiful alpine land of lederhosen and loden caps was an integral part of Austria. In fact, it was not until after World War I that the South Tyrol was ceded begrudgingly to Italy. In spite of or, perhaps, on account of the South Tyrol’s plurality, ethnic diversity, and historical factional violence, the present generation of winemakers in Alto Adige of both Austrian and Italian heritage have banded together in the common pursuit of happiness and prosperity. In doing so, the winemakers of the Alto Adige/ Sud Tirol have fashioned some of the highest standards for winemaking in all Italy. Consequently, more than 50 percent of the zone’s wines are DOC designated, while a substantial portion of the area’s non-DOC offerings constitute Alto Adige’s most expensive and illustrious offerings (Zemmer Cortinie Bianco for example) simply because DOC regulations do not yet provide for imaginative, luxury blends. While it may be true that white wine is the calling card of AltoAdige and that many of Italy’s finest white wines do indeed flow from its pretty hills and valleys, this industrious, forward thinking region is also renowned for its production of light to medium bodied red wines of supreme bouquet, finesse and style. So whether it be an outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio or one of Alto Adige’s little know reds in the guise of Santa Maddalena, Teroldego, or even Lagrein, quality remains the region’s unifying factor.