When we think of Prosecco, the famous Italian sparkling wine, we often forget that there is not one, but many Proseccos. To be sure you’re getting your hands on a quality prosecco, look carefully at the label and choose a wine with a designation (D.O.C. for Denomination of Controlled Origin or D.O.C.G. for Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). And to taste the best that the world of Prosecco has to offer, opt for the wines from the D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene. A unique combination of centuries-old wine-making tradition and magnificent landscapes, this appellation is the pinnacle of Prosecco wines.
A Wine Tradition That has Stood the Test of Time
The production of wine in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene has existed since the ancient times. In the 6th century, the Bishop of Poitiers, St. Venantius Fortunato, described his native land, Valdobbiadene, as “a place where vines grow under the high mountains and where the lush greenery protects the most exposed areas”. However, it is only from the second half of the eighteenth century that we can track the production of wine. In 1876, the region saw the birth of the Conegliano School of Oenology, the first school of its kind in Italy. In 1962, 11 Prosecco producers joined efforts to create the Consorzio di Tutela del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene. Four years later, a Prosecco Road (Strada del Prosecco) was also created. The D.O.C. Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene followed in 1969, but it was not until 2009 that it obtained the status of D.O.C.G. (the 44th D.O.C.G. recognized in Italy).
Designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ten years after obtaining the D.O.C.G., the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene are listed as a prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site. This international recognition highlights the incredible wine tradition of the area and its breathtaking hilly landscapes, dotted with man-made terraced vineyards.
The area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is located in the northeast of Italy, only about 50 km from Venice and about 100 km from the Dolomites. The region is characterized by a succession of hills with steep slopes covered with vines, making mechanization almost impossible. In fact, the harvest is mostly done by hand. The D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is divided into more than a thousand small producers who have been growing grapes here for generations, carrying on the wine-making tradition. The most prestigious terroirs of the appellation are found in the Superiore di Cartizze area in the municipality of Valdobbiadene, producing the finest and most sought-after proseccos.
Prosecco can be produced in three different areas in northeastern Italy, but the Conegliano Valdobbiadene D.O.C.G. area is the historical heart of the production of the famous Italian sparkling wine, where it all began. Prosecco can be produced as a sparkling wine (spumante) or as a slightly fizzy wine (frizzante). It varies in sugar level from extra brut (the driest) to dry (the sweetest) resulting in very different wine profiles. The wines of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore must contain at least 85% glera, the emblematic grape of the region. Other lesser-known local varieties such as verdiso, bianchetta, perera and glera lunga are sometimes used. As for the production method, all wines must be made using the charmat or closed tank method, better known in Italy as the Martinotti method.
For More Information
If you are a bubbly lover and are fond of wine tourism, Conegliano Valdobbiadene should definitely be on the top of your list when it comes to planning your next vacation. To learn more about the appellation, I invite you to visit prosecco.it.
This article is a collaboration with Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene.