Part of the Sud-Tirol–Trentino-Alto Adige patrimony, the Abbey was founded in 1142 by the Augustinian order of monks. As of today, the Abbey-monastery-farm-winery is still run by the Augustinian monks, about 25 of them included with the many other employees and
Abbazia di Novacella's most planted grape variety is the Sylvaner. They also produce a great Kerner, both wines are highly preferred and suggested as the perfect examples of what the Abbey can do by Urban von Klebelsberg, the Administrator of Abbazia di Novacella.
Other white varieties grown include Müller Thurgau, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, and Veltliner (also known as Grüner Veltliner). All of these varietal whites are labeled under the DOC appellation, "Alto Adige Valle Isarco".
Abbazia di Novacella also produces a blended white wine made of Sylvaner, Pinot Grigio, and a touch of Chardonnay, called Weiss.
The steep hill slopes soil consists mainly of granitic schist under only a few inches of dirt, created by ancient glaciers. With ever-changing microclimates and rough diurnal temperatures, in addition to little space for their roots and small amount of dirt to hang on to for nutrition, the vines do not last as long as in more temperate climates, 35-40 years at the max. The high altitude vineyards’ rugged soil and extreme climate changes produce low quantity of fresh, aromatic, vivid yet rich and mineral, inviting, summery white wines.
Abbazia di Novacella produces many whites divided in two categories of wines: the standard category and the premium category, labeled under the name of Praepositus, usually more expensive than the former. Compared to the standard category which only undergoes his vinification in stainless steel tanks, the Praepositus category can sometimes be aged afte fermentation in old, large oak fut (or foudres or bottes) to add more dimension, character and fullness to the wines.
Difficult grape to grow, Sylvaner is often called "the white Pinot Noir" for its weather affected moody attitude. The German examples of Sylvaner are usually quite simple and often lack in complexity.