The History of the Tower

The Black Tower, imposing and distinctive, stands out from the label affixed to the bottles of the Schreckbichl winery. But how did Schreckbichl come to choose the tower, and what significance does it have for the winery today? We find out.

Luis Raifer, former chairman and managing director of the Schreckbichl winery, clearly remembers: “The first bottle of wine to feature the Tower appeared in 1985”. The winery wished to present an important new product, namely its new quality wines under the “Cornell” name. The idea was to give these wines a completely new image, so the graphic designer Roland Prünster from Eppan was assigned to the task. “We wanted to make a break with the traditional, highly coloured and ornate labels and create a distinctive design that clearly emphasised both the name of the wine and the grape variety”, says Raifer. It was Roland Prünster, one of a few local graphic designers to use a modern approach, who placed the tower on the label. “First and foremost I wanted to create a striking, easily recognisable symbol”, he recalls. “I chose the idea of the stylised tower because forts and castles have great significance for South Tyrol”, says Prünster. “Just in the area around Eppan you can see numerous castles and forts wherever you look”. The Tower thus represents all of the forts and castles in South Tyrol and is an important element in establishing a particular identity.

The clear design of the winery’s new labels was very innovative for its time, especially in South Tyrol. What began with the Cornell labels was soon extended to its other wines and more besides: the Tower became part of the winery logo and an increasingly important part of its entire image. Today the Black Tower is an unmistakable element of the winery: its clear lines convey authenticity, elegance, tradition and uniqueness, all values that are very important to the Schreckbichl winery.

To return to the topic of castles in South Tyrol: there are nearly 800 forts, castles and stately residences here – an enormous number for such a small area, making it the region with the highest density of castles in Europe. The municipality of Eppan, where our winery is located, is home to a particularly high number of castles: a total of 80 castles and stately structures, many of them still well preserved, inhabited or occupied.

Sigmundskron (Castel Firmiano) is the closest castle to the winery, located some 2.5 kilometers away along the wine route. There are mentions of the castle under the name “Formicaria” from the year AD 945, making it one of the oldest in South Tyrol. It received the name of Firmian in the 12th century. Around 1473 it was purchased by the Sovereign Prince of Tyrol, Duke Sigmund, who rebuilt it as a fortress and named it Sigmundskron Castle. Today it houses one of the mountain museums owned by the famous South Tyrolean mountaineer Reinhold Messner.

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