One of the things that makes Valdobbiadene such a unique place to grow fine wine grapes is how steep the slopes are there.
Especially when you get into the township’s Cartizze subzone, the vines are planted on slopes so steep that they can only be worked by hand. It’s simply impossible to use tractors or other machinery there. Everything — from the early pruning and canopy management to the picking and sorting of the grapes in the vineyards — has to be done by hand.
As you can see in the photo above, it’s what some wine trade observers call “heroic viticulture” because it takes true grit and determination to grow there.
When you talk to the Prosecco old-timers (and believe us, it’s always an illuminating experience to chat with someone who’s watched the Prosecco DOCG appellation become a wine juggernaut), they will tell you that this tradition began many generations ago when farmers planted wine grapes exclusively in sites where they couldn’t grow other crops.
At the time, they did this to maximize the productivity of the land — the farmer’s ultimate goal.
But with time, they began to realize that the extremely steep slopes of Valdobbiadene township, with their terraced vineyards, created ideal conditions for the style of wine the area produced.
The exposure is ideal, they realized, and helps to make the vines ripen evenly. And the steep slopes also provide excellent ventilation, which cools the fruit in summer and helps to keep the grapes dry thus preventing vine disease.
In more recent times, they also began to see how the absence of machines in the vineyard and the human-focused work combined to produce higher quality wines. Because everything must be done by hand, there is much more attention to detail in the vineyards. That means that the clusters get more attention than their counterparts on the valley floor below. And that makes for much better wines.
So when people say that Prosecco DOCG is hand-crafted, it’s not just a marketing ploy. It’s actually true…
CAMPAGNA FINANZIATA AI SENSI DEL REG. UE N. 1308/2013
CAMPAIGN FINANCED ACCORDING TO EU REG. N. 1308/2013