Wine Tourism: Sip The Sparkling Wines Of Veneto

Food & Drink

The Veneto wine region of northeast Italy is best known for its sparkling Proseccos. But this region (whose capital is Venice) produces a variety of magnificent sparkling wines that differ in terms of both the grapes and the production techniques used to make them.

In Veneto, wine tourists can visit wineries steeped in history and culture while they soak in breathtaking landscapes, and sip sparkling wines at wine cellars, tasting rooms, and local restaurants. They’ll find winemakers eager to share stories about their land and its history, and explain their wines.

The Italian tradition coupling winemaking and hospitality

“Italy is a constant presence among the top five travel destinations globally, welcoming millions of international visitors every year,” notes Genny Nevoso, Executive Director of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West (IACCW).

“A growing demand in the wine tourism space has led to an increased number of Italian wineries—including many in the Veneto region—that offer visits, food and/or lodging to tourists,” she says.

Thus, more than 310,00 wineries and over 527 appellations across Italy offer unique opportunities for wine lovers. “These immersive experiences allow travelers to get more familiar with a ‘terroir’ and bask in Italy’s wine culture,” adds Nevoso.

Travelers can pick a base in the Veneto region and visit several wineries and small borgos (towns) nearby that offer a sense of authentic Italy.   

The effervescence of Veneto’s sparkling wines

Sparkling wine lovers will especially appreciate the Veneto region, which is blessed with a variety of grapes and microclimates conducive to the production of sparkling wines.

“Consumers can enjoy different styles of wine in the realm of sparkling: from refreshingly light and fruity to structured complex and bone dry, with a variety of aromas from limey and appley to flowery and creamy,” says sommelier Alessandro Torcoli, a  noted wine writer and editor of Civiltà del Bere.“

“Prosecco’s wild success has overshadowed other sparkling gems from the Veneto region to the extent that it’s even surpassed sales of Champagne in volume,” notes Torcoli. Versatile, easy-to-drink, and eminently affordable, he estimates that more than one-half billion bottles of DOC and DOCG Prosecco are sold annually.

Torcoli traces Prosecco’s meteoric rise in popularity to the approval of DOC Prosecco in 2009. “This divided it from the traditional Prosecco from Conegliano Valdobbiadene (DOCG Prosecco produced only in limited quantities in the area of Treviso),” he says. “Its success has been sustained by its availability; now, you will find it everywhere, the USA included,” he says.

A sampling of Veneto’s sparkling wineries

To help familiarize consumers with the breadth of sparkling wines produced in the Veneto region, the Los Angeles-based IACCW recently partnered with Coldiretti Veneto, the regional branch of Italy’s leading agricultural association.

“With biodynamic agricultural practices and female professionals leading the companies, some of these Veneto-based wineries break stereotypes, embrace more sustainable practices and help fill the gender gap in the industry,” says Nevoso. The wineries use both traditional and tank methods of fermentation. 

Here is a small sampling of five elegant sparkling wines worth tasting at the source when you visit Veneto. If one or more pleases your palate, you may want to purchase bottles to take home. (Even when available in the U.S., some of these wineries don’t reach sufficient volumes to supply distributors nationwide.)

Email the wineries in advance to find out about tastings and tours. 

VIAJO Sparkling DOC Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Dosaggio Zero 

Winery: Enotria Tellus, San Polo di Piave, Province of Treviso

The name of this innovative wine (VIAJO) means “journey” in the Venetian dialect. It is the first zero-dosage (no-sugar-added) sparkling Pinot Grigio; it has fine bubbles with fresh, fruity notes of green apple.

Prosecco Rosè DOC Brut Millesimato

Winery: Ai Galli, Pramaggiore, City of Venice

This third-generation winemaker uses the Charmat (Marionotti) method to make this wine with secondary fermentation taking place in steel tanks. Made with 90% glera and 10% pinot noir grapes, this bright pink sparkling wine has fine bubbles and offers a floral sensation with hints of peach and strawberries.  

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Casa Vittorino Brut Rive di Refrontolo

Winery: Astoria, Crocetta del Montello, Province of Treviso

Glera grapes are hand-harvested and selected for this white wine, also made using the Charmat method. It’s pale yellow with fine bubbles and opens on the nose with intense aromas of yellow fruit, enriched by characteristic varietal aromas. 

Fongaro Bru Lessini Durello DOC

Winery: Fongaro Spumanti, Ronca, Province of Verona

These sparkling wines are made with 80-85% Durello grapes; Incrocio Manzoni grapes make up the remaining 15-20%. Made using the classical method, the wine has a deep straw yellow color with fresh citrus notes of yellow grapefruit and mandarin orange.

Rissieri Asolo Prosecco DOCG Brut

Winery: Bresolin bio, Crespignaga di Maser, Province of Treviso

The young organic producers make this dry, bubbly DOCG from Glera grapes. It is slightly straw-colored in the glass with a fruity scent of apples and citrus fruits accompanied by acacia.

Beyond the bubbles 

One of the best times to visit Veneto and experience the Italian wine harvest (vendemmia) is between the end of August and early October. By then, most tourists have returned home, temperatures are milder, and the countryside comes alive with wine festivals, feasts and dinners in the vineyards.

In winter, visitors can combine winery visits with a stay at one of the world-class ski resorts in the Dolomites, or relax in the thermal waters at Albano Terme or one of the other hot springs in the Euganean hills. A visit to the spectacular Villa Contarini, set on some 100 acres of parkland, is another not-to-be-missed experience.

“From Andrea Palladio’s architectural masterpieces to the spectacular landscapes, thanks to the Dolomites standing tall at the back of the region, Veneto has it all,” says IACCW’s Nevoso. 

  • See the official Veneto website for information on food and wine trails
  • Also, Discover Italy (the Italian National Tourist Board) for additional information on tourism in Veneto.

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