Eit is cold, damp and dark. Very dark. If it weren’t for the small helmet lamps that cast dancing beams of light on the tunnel wall while you’re driving, you wouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. It takes a good 20 minutes for the narrow, yellow and black lorry train to come to a standstill deep in the mountain. And then it gets muddy. In some places the water is ankle deep. The tunnel splits, it’s about 100, maybe 150 meters further on foot, through the mud, around one or two corners, still a bit deeper into the mountain. Then they suddenly stand at the edge of the tunnel: simple lattice boxes made of gray plastic, always five or six on top of each other, dozens together, crates full of wine bottles. So that’s it, the treasure from Schneeberg.
Willi Stürz can no longer remember exactly who came up with the idea of the tunnel. “But it turned out to be a real stroke of luck,” says the man in his mid-fifties, adjusting his white helmet. Stürz has been responsible for the wines of the Tramin winery for 30 years – and is now one of the most successful cellar masters in South Tyrol. Since his first harvest in the early 1990s, he has turned the traditional cooperative founded in 1898 with its 300 members into one of the most respected companies in the region. The white wines of the Cantina in particular impress the international wine critics year after year and have already brought the 260-hectare operation many awards.