The area where Prosecco is ‘Superiore’ lies in Veneto, 50 km from Venice, in the hilly strip of the Province of Treviso lying between the small towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. It is equidistant from the Dolomites and the Adriatic, a particular situation that has a positive effect on the climate. The terrain is difficult to cultivate but with a special charm, with its vineyards perched high on the steep hillsides where it is hard even to remain standing.
Here the vine-growers have made the hillsides their own a centimeter at a time, thus creating a unique landscape whose beauty is such that the producers have applied for the area to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The production zone comprises fifteen communes and stretches over an area of around 20,000 hectares. Vines are grown only on the sunniest parts of the hills, at altitudes varying between 50 and 500 meters above sea level, while the north-facing slopes are covered mainly in woodland.
Verdiso has been cultivated in the zone since the 18th century, and it was already fairly widely grown in the 19th. It is used to increase the wine’s acidity. Perera, which was also widespread at the beginning of the last century, is used to heighten the wine’s perfumes and aromas. Its name derives from the shape of the berries or - as some maintain - from its distinctive taste, which recalls that of pears.
Lastly, Bianchetta, documented as early as the 16th century, serves to make the wine mellower in cold years because it is an early ripener. For this reason it is often to be found, along with Verdiso, in the areas that are highest and most difficult to cultivate. The wine of Conegliano Valdobbiadene is produced with a minimum of 85% of grapes of the Glera variety and a maximum of 15% of the other cultivars mentioned.
How is Prosecco Made?
The wine of Conegliano Valdobbiadene method is the fruit of an ancient tradition. A fundamental role was played by Italy’s first School of Oenology, where the Conegliano Valdobbiadene process for making sparkling wines, a modified version of the Italian Method, was perfected by Antonio Carpenè. These are its distinctive characteristics: