If you take the time to look, you’ll find on some bottles the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco mention, and it’s a name to remember. So what makes it so special?
“Prosecco” can come from three areas in Northeastern Italy but only Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG wines are from Prosecco’s original, historical growing area. This smaller, hilly area in North-East Italy territory offers a breathtaking landscape punctuated by steep vineyards and natural vegetation, rich in history and art, nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site: a Land where Prosecco is Superiore. This is what Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco is all about: the land. This winemaking region is considered one-of-a-kind because vines are planted on a series of hills with narrow ridges and steep slopes with a hogback appearance. This makes mechanized harvest impossible. All the grapes must be picked by hand and treasured deeply. This challenging, rugged, abrupt area demands a lot of know-how from the producers. Conegliano Valdobbiadene counts more than a thousand different, for most of them, have worked these same hills for generations. Thus, educating and preserving the unique winemaking traditions. Farmers had to adapt to the land and apply techniques to master agriculture in this challenging area. One of the most distinct practices is the use of cigliones: a distinctive type of terracing comprising grass-covered soil, instead of stones, that helps anchor the slopes and reduce soil erosion.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG represents the highest-quality expression of Prosecco; the premium production, but it goes further than that. Some wines will come from specific sites that are recognized and prized as the finest interpretations. There are site-specific selections known as “Rive”. This term appeared on the labels in 2009, to indicate the most inaccessible, remote, angular vineyards that are so hard to farm, but also that show unique character, quality and represent the diversity of the terroir.
Also, at the summit of the quality pyramid, there is Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, the “Grand Cru” of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. A small plot of land of 10 hectares in the commune of Valdobbiadene is divided by hundreds of growers. They produce only a million bottles per year. It is known as the best expression possible.
Sustainability and environmentally conscious practices have been a priority for the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco region. Since 2011, the Viticultural Protocol has been the perfect guide for producers. This program’s goal is to reduce chemicals and abrasive methods in all vineyards of the appellation. While producers are encouraged and supported to apply organic and/or sustainable practices, there are also more beneficial actions that have been implemented.
Since 2019, Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. has banned the use of glyphosate herbicide. This well-known weed killer also wipes out insects that can be important for the pollination of food crops and is suspected by specialists to cause cancer in humans. The Denomination becomes the largest wine zone in Europe toforbid the use of this herbicide.
Additionally, grape producers in the Consortium of Valdobbiadene Prosecco were able to get the S.Q.N.P.I Certification. The National Quality System for Integrated Production (S.Q.N.P.I) is a system that aims to reduce the use of synthetic chemicals in the fertilization of crops and takes into consideration all equipment and techniques used in the production of Prosecco Superiore.