The regional vintners association (short FWS) in South-Tirol with the Italian name "Vignaioli dell'Alto Adige" was founded in 1999 by 12 winegrowers. Members are family wineries and wineries with Erzeugerabfüllung in South Tyrol. These are not wine cooperative but a union of self-marketing winemakers. You are with the VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) comparable. The main objectives are to promote traditional viticulture and the South Tyrolean wine culture, as well as to represent and support the member farms. This includes activities in wine-related bodies, advice in wine and technical matters, organization of joint presentations and advertising, training, information trips, newsletters, and regular publication of a winery guide.
The foundation has historical causes. Wine growing in South Tyrol reached its peak from the late Middle Ages in the Habsburg era, when South Tyrol was one of the imperial kings of Austria and later of the kk monarchy Austria-Hungary. Due to the advent of Wine merchant families and the cellar cooperatives in the 19th century gave many winemakers (except in the fields St. Magdalene, Burggrafenamt near Merano and Überetsch), the pressing and self-marketing of the wines. From the 1980s began a counter-rotating movement, as more and more farmers began again to vinify their wines and market themselves. This then led to the founding of the Free Winegrowers South Tyrol.
The membership grew rapidly until the end of 2013 to 90 companies. In a first published in 2002 "map of wineries" all important member information is included. These cultivate about 300 hectares of vineyards, which is 5% of the South Tyrolean vineyards. After self-definition on the FWS website "the members authentically design the entire production process - from the vine to the glass". The President is Michael Goëss-Enzenberg, full-time director Peter Robatscher.
Already since the year 2000 there is an annual wine presentation called "Vinea Tirolensis". In 2003, the first joint presentation outside of South Tyrol was held in Rome. In 2005, this took place in Merano with 17 VDP wineries from the palatinate as guests. At the 8th "Vinea Tirolensis" 8 Austrian companies were members of the association Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus as guests present. In 2006, an event was held in Munich for the first time Germany carried out. Finally, in 2009, the Free Winegrowers of South Tyrol became a member of the European Confederation of Independent Winegrowers CEVI (European Confederation of Independent Winegrowers) through the FIVI National Federation. See also below Wine-producing institutions,