Wine tourism is becoming increasingly popular as wine lovers opt to visit the terroirs where their favorite wines are produced.
The Valdo winery (Cantina Valdo), located in the town of Valdobbiadene, in Veneto, Italy, is a leading producer of sparkling wines and also one of the oldest wine producers in the region. The company produced more than 20 million bottles of wine in 2021; about half of that production was exported, including 800,000 bottles to the U.S.
The relatively small (about 50-square-mile) but prestigious Conegliano-Valdobbiadene growing zone is home to more than 150 wine producers, large and small. Most of the families living here are involved in either growing the grapes or in the production of wine. Plots of land tend to be small and the vineyards cover steep slopes that are challenging to cultivate, requiring manual rather than mechanical labor.
Not only is this area is an ideal growing terroir for the production of Prosecco, the sparkling white wine made from the Glera grape, but its also an intriguing tourist destination.
To safeguard this unique cultural landscape, in 2019, the hills and valleys of the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene wine region were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covered with vineyards, the area offers breathtaking landscape views with a checkerboard-like mosaic in varying shades of green.
The Consortium for the Protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG (Consorzio per la Tutela del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene) works closely with area producers to protect the quality of the wine, boost the local economy and encourage tourism.
A winery with deep roots
The Bolla family purchased what is now the Valdo winery in 1938 from its founders, the Societa Anonima Vini Superiori, who began producing wine in 1926. Remarkably, more than 90 years and three generations later, it is still family-owned with Pierluigi Bolla, the son of the founder, at its helm. The name of the winery (Valdo) is a shortened version of the name of the town (Val-dob-bi-adene), which is a mouthful to pronounce even with practice.
The company’s success is due, in no small part, to its working partnership with the 70 local grape growers who sell their grapes to the winery. Valdo supports the growers providing them with technical expertise in agronomy, including advice on the best timing for harvesting. To preserve its reputation, Valdo maintains quality control of the entire production process—from choosing the grapes to bottling, to packaging to marketing.
Valdo has instituted a number of sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, reducing consumption of both water and paper, and eliminating the use of the herbicide glyphosate. The company also recently installed a new system of photovoltaic panels that promises to reduce energy requirements by 70 percent.
In short, the company aims to balance innovation and technology with regional winemaking traditions—to maintain and improve the quality of their wines while protecting the environment for future generations.
Some of the winery’s most popular sparkling wines include:
Valdo Marca Oro Brut NV is made with 100% Glera grapes. This age-worthy, easy-to-drink Prosecco DOC isn’t overly dry (it has 12 grams of sugar per liter). Straw yellow in color with fine perlage, it has a balanced structure with the fruity fragrance of lemon and grapefruit. It makes a perfect aperitif with starters or seafood dishes.
Valdo Numero 10 Metodo Classico 2019 DOCG, just launched in the U.S., is also made with 100% Glera grapes but is a bit more yellow in color. The wine goes through a second fermentation in the bottle for 10 months, adding to its body. It offers tasting notes of mature pears and peaches with hints of honey and figs. Pairs well with fish and white meats.
Valdo Marca Oro Brut Rosé DOC is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes with a persistent perlage, delicate notes of raspberry and a long-lingering finish. Pink Prosecco DOC was only approved for export in 2020. The Floral edition bottle makes for a standout gift. Pairs well with pasta and fish dishes.
Cuvée 1926 Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is an extra dry wine, produced using the Charmat method with the second fermentation lasting 4-5 months in stainless steel tanks. The name of this wine pays homage to the date of the winery’s founding and its grapes come from the most prestigious areas of the DOCG territory. Pairs with risotto, white meat and after dinner with fresh peaches.
Touring the Prosecco Hills Wine Road
A 50-mile Prosecco Wine Road connects Valdobbiadene, the home of Valdo, and Conegliano, the town that houses a school of winemaking. Whether traveling the route by car, bicycle, or motor scooter, there are a host of wineries that welcome tourists, usually by appointment.
In addition to wine tastings and tours, and vineyard visits, the 15 charming towns and villages along the way, offer visitors slow-travel opportunities to savor local dishes and delicacies; visit cultural, religious and historical sites; and meet producers, wine growers, merchants and other locals steeped in the rich hospitality and traditions of this less touristed part of Italy.
For additional information on visiting the Prosecco Hills:
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