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“Conegliano Valdobbiadene” is not exactly an easy mouthful for English tongues, and this small wine region in Northern Italy is not on a lot of peoples’ radars. Yet in 2019, the year of the 50th anniversary of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG Consortium, significant and impactful milestones occurred, and soon this this area will be widely known around the globe.

The area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene lies in the countryside situated 50 km from Venice and around 100 km from the Dolomites. Here vine-growing has ancient origins. Prosecco was born here, and has been produced in this region for three centuries.

This amazing winemaking region is considered one-of-a kind because vines are planted on a series of hills with a morphology known as “hogback”: a series of hills with narrow ridges and steep, rugged slopes. Farmers adapted to this landscape and developed the use of cigliones: a type of terracing that uses grass-covered soil that helps anchor the slopes and reduces soil erosion (instead of stones). While the steep hills of the Prosecco DOCG have been shaped by man over the centuries to master agriculture, this landscape makes mechanized harvest impossible. All the grapes must be picked by hand.

The highest and most precipitous areas in the region require tremendous effort and determination from farmers. These are considered the “heroic vineyards” where grapes are picked for Rive wines. The Rive (steep hillsides in the local dialect) are a collection of vineyards identified as source for the highest quality grapes which are picked by hand.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is home to hundreds of small winemakers who have shaped the steep slopes and perfected their agricultural techniques, allowing the creation of a richly varied agricultural landscape. For more than three centuries, these families continue their efforts to carefully produce handcrafted effervescent wines and pass on these winemaking traditions to future generations.

Understanding what a precious place they have and the desire to leave it better for generations to come, the Prosecco Superiore DOCG banned the use of the glyphosate herbicide in 2019. 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 to forbid the use of this herbicide.

The hills are a cultural landscape of unique worth, and an expression of traditional and hand-picked harvest. After a ten-year long nomination process, in 2019 Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene was awarded UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site due to its unique and ancient cultivation and landscape. This UNESCO World Heritage designation is a prized milestone for the people of Veneto who have been producing handcrafted wine in this location for more than 300 years, and an invitation for people all over the world to experience this historical Italian wine region.

Visitors can take in the magical beauty of these hills, the passion and hard work put into the area’s wine production, and finally, the enjoy delicate product that comes from these hills: Prosecco Superiore DOCG.

Not So Sweet on You

Wines from the Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2019 vintage are the first to be made in line with new production regulations that allow for drier styles of wine.

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