Christoph Kössler welcomes us to his house, the birthplace of Austrian baroque architect Jakob Prandtauer: ‘In Stanz and in this house, windfalls have always been used to make schnapps,’ Christoph tells us. ‘After completing my first distilling course in 1993, I started to think about producing quality brandies. Fine spirits have to be made from 100% natural fruit without added sugar or additives,’ he adds. ‘That only works if you use the best-quality fruit and the most sophisticated processing techniques.’ Classic fruit varieties are grown on their own farm. Everything else is obtained from carefully selected partners. At this point, Christoph offers us one of his pièces de resistance: Granta Bitter, made with lingonberry, 26 different herbs and honey. ‘We’re introducing new products this year: Zillertal Bier, and the first Tyrolean 18-year-old single malt whisky.’ Kössler also offers seven gin creations, and their bestselling Granta Sprizz …
‘Working with nature to make honest and authentic products is a privilege.’ Christoph Kössler
Our verdict: High-altitude highs in Stanz: indescribable!
We tested: Apple & gentian, Dr Jules Guyot pear, Red Williams pear, beer schnapps, blackberry, carrot, apricot, orange muscatel schnapps, quince, Spenling plum, Jerusalem artichoke, black cherry, rowanberry, forest raspberry, wild cherry, stone pine liqueur, Granta Sprizz and Granta Bitter.
Due to its high number of distilleries, Stanz was declared the number one distillery village in 2003: there are 60 distilleries and just 200 households.