Looking for the best Prosecco money can buy? It comes from a region called Conegliano Valdobbiadene – one of the world's most serene wine regions.
Found in the foothills of the Alps, about an hour's drive north of Venice, you'll find the Prosecco Superiore vineyards. On a clear day, you can see the Lagoon of Venice to the south and the snow-capped Dolomites to the north. You can even see the spires and domes of Venice!
Getting a Lay of the Land
Nestled in the Alps' foothills, you'll find Prosecco's finest expression. These verdant rolling hills, covered in vines, produce the most intense and complex wines. So much so that the wine is called Prosecco Superiore.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG (its full name) is different from regular Prosecco.
Prosecco DOC grapes grow in a very large, flat area. This spans the provinces of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (over 89,000 acres or 36,000 ha). Whereas Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG is tiny, just 19 x 16 miles (30 x 25 km) across, only 21,500 acres (8710 ha), and very hilly.
This hilly terrain consists of a unique set of ridges called Hogbacks, spanning between the towns of Conegliano (to the east) and Valdobbiadene (to the west). UNESCO classified the distinctive terrain as a world heritage site. Only four other wine regions in Italy have this honor - Piemonte, Cinque Terre, Val d'Orcia and Pantelleria.
Why is this region considered superiore?
A mixture of clay and limestone soils, steep, southern-facing slopes, and altitudes of up 1650 feet (500 m) combine to create sparkling wines that are fresh, aromatic, yet refined and elegant.
Sub-Regions of Conegliano Valdobbiadene
Conegliano Valdobbiadene is small and broken into smaller pieces where some unique soils and microclimates create even finer and more complex wines.
So, if you’re looking for something extra special, look for Rive or Cartizze on the bottle of your Prosecco Superiore.
In the local dialect, Rive ("Ree-vay") means steep terrain. Some of the steepest vineyards in Conegliano Valdobbiadene make up the Rive across 43 villages. The steep slopes produce some of Prosecco Superiore's most elegant and structured styles.
Considered the jewel in the crown of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, Cartizze is just 267 acres (108 ha) in size. The wines from this steeply sloped area are delicate yet perfumed with jasmine and ripe pear notes.
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Wine Region Facts
- 21,500 acres (8,712 hectares) of vines are planted in the DOCG.
- Highest elevation is 1640 feet (500 m).
- 104 million bottles of Prosecco Superiore are produced each year. In Champagne, 320 million bottles are produced each year.
- There are over 190 wineries throughout the region.
- As of 2019, glyphosate herbicides have been banned here.
- Glera is the main grape variety planted; it used to be called “Prosecco”.
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.
- The maximum yield is 13.5 tonnes per hectare vs 18 tonnes/ha in Prosecco DOC
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene was elevated from a DOC to a DOCG in 2009