History. Cultural heritage. Natural treasure.
In 1845 the Benedictines moved from Muri in Switzerland to Gries in South Tyrol, where the order took over the Augustinian monastery. In so doing, they inherited a long tradition of wine-growing, which they nurtured in the spirit of a symbiosis of monastery, winery and estate that is still very much in evidence today. The result, in the 21st century, is a range of top-quality wines from MURI-GRIES like the Abtei Muri line, which has been produced from selected grapes from the very best sites since 1989.
With passion, joy and ExpertiseWhen does passion become expertise? And when does expertise generate a constant commitment to top quality wines? At MURI-GRIES all these factors are closely interconnected. Respect for our tradition, trust in the quality of our grape varieties, and our experience – these are our values, values that we combine with progress and innovation, values that define our winemaking philosophy, using modern stainless steel tanks and large wooden barrels and barriques, gentle winemaking techniques and state-of-the-art equipment.
The LagreinWe have a clear long-standing commitment to Lagrein as a native grape variety. It is a commitment to sustainable working with a variety that feels very much at home in our monastery vineyards and flourishes accordingly. Year after year, the vines deliver increasingly impressive results. That is something we also owe to old vines planted in the 1930s, which we use to select outstanding vine material in our constant endeavour to focus on the distinctive character of Lagrein: an elegant red wine with a strong identity, both highly complex and down-to-earth – and the hallmark of MURI-GRIES.
The MURI-GRIES success story is due to its many committed employees and their untiring work, day in day out, in the cellar and in the vineyards. It is wonderful, fulfilling work with Nature and its produce. No two years are alike; each year confronts us with its own surprises and challenges. But always, Nature defines the rhythm.
Christian WerthEnologist“As the winemaker at MURI-GRIES I have seen decisive developments since 1988 in terms of a consistent focus on top quality wines. For me, the opportunity to be a part of the history of Muri-Gries for a short period of time and guide the operation in the right direction is a fascinating challenge. As an enologist, I am especially motivated to position Lagrein as a varietal at the international level.”
Walter BernardViticulturist“For me, the work in the vineyard means living with the rhythms of nature. As the estate manager at MURI-GRIES I am repeatedly made aware of the fact that the relationship between man and vines must base on respect for nature and the need to maintain a natural balance. No matter how much training and experience one has, the workings of nature are ultimately unpredictable. That means every wine-growing year is a year of pure excitement followed – when the goal has been achieved – by pure relaxation.”
11th – 15th centuryGries Castle is builtTowards the end of the 11th century the Counts of Bolzano had a stronghold built in the centre of the former “Cheller” (cellar) district, where “Gries” now stands. This fortress was intended to counter the influence of the City of Bolzano, ruled at that time by the Bishops of Trento. The first record of the name Gries dates back to 1185, but it did not replace the old name of “Cheller” until the 15th century.
1200Gries becomes the residence of the Counts of TyrolMeinhard II of Gorizia-Tirol (died 1295) resided in the Castle of Gries as the independent sovereign of the County of Tyrol. The castle had a formidable keep as early as 1200, nowadays preserved in the form of the bell tower.
1407 The fortress becomes a monasteryDuke Leopold, sovereign ruler of Tyrol, in 1407 granted the fortress to some homeless Augustinian canons who had lost their monastery to a flood. The castle was thus converted into a monastery. In 1416, a two-nave Gothic church was erected instead of the old castle chapel, but was replaced in 1788 by a new Baroque church.
1845The hour of birth of MURI-GRIESThe year 1845 saw the birth of Muri-Gries: Benedictine monks were forced to leave their monastery, founded in 1027 in Muri in the Swiss canton of Aargau, and moved to the now-dissolved Augustinian convent of canons in Gries.
1900Beginnings of the history of the monastery cellarThe monks took the rule of their order, “ora et labora” [pray and work], very seriously and extended this to the monastery’s vineyards. At the turn of the 20th century the cellar of Muri-Gries opened. The first major sales were deliveries of casked wine over the Brenner Pass to the German-speaking regions to the north, beginning the trade in casked wine with varieties such as St. Magdalener and Malvasier, Lagrein Kretzer and Pinot Grigio which were mostly produced in the old cellars.
20th centuryYears of changeThe 20th century brought revolutionary change. After the chaos of two world wars, business again picked up at the winery, initially on the basis of cask wines for export. At the end of the 1960s, the winery began to bottle its wines and the focus shifted more and more to the production of top-quality wines. Cellar-door sales followed in 1976.
1988New winemaking philosophyAt the end of the 1980s Christian Werth took over as winemaker, and in 1991 Abbot Benno († 2017) was elected. A radical rethink with regard to wine production followed and the foundations were laid for quality-oriented winemaking in harmony with the natural environment in our region.
21st centuryLagrein, passion, single-site principleOur passion is above all the native grape variety that is literally rooted in our soils, and our commitment to the quality and typicity of Lagrein, which can fully develop in the specific terroir of our sites. With the introduction of the single-site principle and the continual development of our very best sites through decades of extensive research in the vineyards and cellar, we are making a fitting contribution to South Tyrol’s traditional role as a Lagrein region.