Where Prosecco is Superior
From the booklet by the Consorzio di Tutela producers' association
Source: Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, Conegliano Valdobbiadene. Come e perchè il Prosecco è Superiore / Why and how Prosecco is Superior
A HANDMADE WINE. The land of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is difficult to work. Its high-elevation hill vineyards are on steep slopes where it's even a job to stand upright without falling. This makes mechanical cultivation all but impossible, so vineyards are principally worked by small vine growers with a tradition of family management. Because of this, the hills appear ‘hand-embroidered' by the growers' artisan expertise. A sign of the uniqueness of these places is the community's intention to propose the area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - the process has been underway for a number of years. The zone is an integral part of both the identity and the name of the product.
THE RICHNESS OF VARIETY. The production zone comprises the hill slopes of fifteen municipalities, extending over an area of around 20,000 hectares. Grapes are cultivated only on the sunniest parts of the hills, at altitudes of between 50 and 500 metres above sea level, whereas the northern slopes are covered principally with woodland. There are now around 5,000 hectares of vineyards on the DOCG register in 2010. Of these, just over 100 hectares are in Cartizze, in the municipality of Valdobbiadene, in the area between the villages of Saccol, San Pietro di Barbozza and Santo Stefano, where over one million bottles are produced every year. The environmental conditions, the characteristics of the soils and the predominantly south-facing slopes make this area particularly suited to grape-growing.
The area enjoys a mild climate, the winters are not excessively cold and the summers are hot but not sultry. In fact in the past the Venetian nobility enjoyed passing their summer holidays in this area to escape the muggy weather of the lagoon.
There is always a lot of rain, reaching an average 1.250 rum per annum, though concentrated over a small number of days.
The cultivated territory of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is entirely hilly and was carved out by the glacier that is nowadays the source of the Piave river, and by its side branches that have deeply sculpted the hill slopes.
The land areas within the DOCG zone are very diverse, geologically-speaking.
The diversity of the soils, exposure, gradients, altitudes and slope lengths all create perceptible sensory nuances in the wines. In fact complexity is one of the characteristics of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, making the wines different from one municipal area to next. The Rive group of wines was specifically created to promote this diversity. Rive sparkling wines are made from the grapes grown exclusively in a particular municipality or village of Conegliano Valdobbiadene.
VINEYARD TREASURE. Conegliano Valdobbiadene is made from a number of local grape varieties. The most important is Glera; hardy and vigorous with hazelnut-coloured shoots and rather large, long, loose, winged bunches of beautiful golden-yellow grapes that nestle in the bright green of the large leaves.
The Glera grape variety forms the basis of Conegliano Valdobbiadene wine, but a small percentage of Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta - considered minor varieties - can also be used, as can Pinot and Chardonnay.