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Südtirol / Alto Adige, Italy

Josef “Sepp” Waldner has carried on a 350-year tradition of winemaking and hospitality with an eye towards detail becoming of the four-star hotelier that he is.

Sepp represents the 11th generation of a Merano family that has cultivated wine here, and since 1748 has owned and managed the 520-year-old Hotel Oberwirt as well as its related agricultural properties. Since taking over the hotel in 1973, Sepp expanded the historic property, honoring the traditions while introducing the modern luxuries of a boutique design hotel. Now an esteemed four-star luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant, the Romantik Hotel Oberwirt is known for its hospitality, exceptional South Tyrolean cuisine, and an award-winning wine list.

It’s with this same focus on excellence and detail that Sepp founded his winery, Weingut Eichenstein in 2004. Set high above Merano at nearly 600 meters, the Mount Freiberg vineyard property consists of granite and porphyry quartzite soils born of a prehistoric volcano. In 2014 a wine cellar and tasting room of Sepp’s design was added, with breathtaking views of the Etsch Valley below.

Winemaker Martin Pollinger executes Sepp’s vision of “Maximalism in the vineyard, minimalism in the cellar” and creates wines that are authentic and expressive of the Alpine terroir and Mediterranean climate, but above all clean and elegant expressions of each varietal.

Of course, ever the hotelier, Sepp Waldner has built a luxurious and modern 200 square meter Chalet adjacent to the winery, complete with pool, sauna, a pedestal tub, and gourmet kitchen, which guests are encouraged to enjoy for a week at a time to share his passions for food, wine, and a luxurious stay in nature.

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