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Finding the fizz: Prosecco in Italy

BY Citalia Partnership

18th Jun 2023 Drinks

4 min read

Finding the fizz: Prosecco in Italy
Ever wondered where your favourite bubbly celebratory drink comes from? Citalia invites you to come and drink prosecco at the source.
Compared with costly French champagne and without the reputation of blended Spanish cava, prosecco is an accessible everyday luxury that we have come to love. It even has its own annual national day (13th August, in case you’re wondering).
To drink Italian prosecco is indulgence without extravagance, while remaining light and easy on the palate. Just below the mighty Dolomite Mountains, the hills are a gorgeous palette of lush green vineyards, tucked between the towns of Asolo and Conegliano, with the town of Valdobbiadene at the heart of prosecco production.
If you search for the Prosecco Superiore Hills on a map, you won’t easily find them, as it’s a collective term for the area where prosecco originates from. They are surprisingly central, resting in the northeastern region of Veneto, just an hour’s drive from Venice and two and a half hour’s drive from Lake Garda.
Prosecco owes its life to Conegliano, which was home of Italy’s first school of winemaking, The School of Oenology. Established in 1876, the school continues to exist and train today’s winemakers and also now hosts an oenology museum.
This region boasts Italy’s oldest wine road, which is today simply known as Prosecco Road, and runs for 20 miles. On the route, you’ll find a small village called Prosecco, which gave its name to the drink.
In 2019, these vineyards of the Prosecco Superiore Hills became a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to their distinctive and historic shape, where long narrow ridges of steep slopes meet. This is caused by the ciglioni, small vine plots, that farmers worked by hand since the 17th century, and the 19th century bellussera system of training vines to grow overhead.
Image of hills with wine vineyards

Prosecco production

You’ll find over 180 wineries within the Prosecco Superiore Hills area, which you can taste your way around and learn about prosecco production in style.
The majority of prosecco uses the Italian charmant (tank) method, in which the fermented wine goes through a secondary fermentation in large steel tanks instead of in the bottle, reducing contact with the lees (yeast sediment). This is what makes prosecco youthful and bright, releasing the freshness and aroma of the Glera grape.
As with most wine, prosecco from this region now follows strict DOC and DOCG appellations, guaranteeing quality. To be called prosecco in Italy, the drink must be produced using at least 85% Glera grape.
Prosecco winemakers have an appetite for experimentation. For something a little unusual we recommend you try Prosecco Col Fondo, a brut prosecco frizzante that is a more naturally produced variety (pétillant naturel or pét-nat) in which the grapes ferment within the bottle over a few years. The result is a distinct wine that’s become a favourite of sommeliers.
Image of wine vineyards, trees and a small village in Italy

Prosecco quality

It’s an accepted rule that the steeper vineyards produce better prosecco. Basic Prosecco D.O.C are found in the provinces of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Treviso and Trieste provinces are even better quality.
Superiore Rive D.O.CG is made from the steepest vineyards, and handpicked grapes and vintage are often added to the label. The queen of prosecco is Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze D.O.C.G.
Image of houses surrounding by trees and fields

Fizz facts

Prosecco hasn’t always been fizzy - bubbles only came into play in the 19th century when winemaker Antonio Carpenè added the second fermentation process.
Prosecco is typically between 8.5% to 12.5% A.B.V. and you’ll find that the drier the prosecco, the higher the alcohol content and the less sweet it is. To ensure you get your desired level of sparkle, sweet and dryness, simply follow our quick guide to bottle labels.
Prosecco spumante - fully sparkling
Prosecco frizzante - fizzy
Prosecco tranquillo - entirely still
Brut - driest
Extra dry
Dry - dry yet sweet
Demi-sec – sweet
Image of someone holding a glass of prosecco

Exploring the hills

There’s more to the Prosecco Superiore Hills than just prosecco, of course. In among the rolling hills there are charming medieval villages, which you can explore by bike or foot, on horseback, or even on a Vespa.
Every year in early October, the 100 Miglia del Prosecco is held, as classic car owners congregate and drive the 100 miles of the Prosecco Route. It’s great fun for participants and spectators alike with classic cars racing through the vineyards and plenty of special pit stops along the way for guided tours of wineries and other local attractions.
You can feast on local cheeses and cured meats, sip the special straw wine of Refrontolo, and try your hand at local dishes with a cooking class.
Golfers can tee off at the many golf clubs within the region and, if you’re an adrenaline enthusiast, you can go rafting on River Brenta, paragliding on Monte Grappa, or downhill mountain biking in the hills.
Explore the genius of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio by visiting the magnificent country villas he designed or uncover the enchanting harmony of sculptor Antonio Canova.
Valdobbiadene is the primary hub of activity, and you’ll find frequent events, from concerts and art exhibitions to food and wine festivals, and even historical re-enactments!
Image of the town of Grappa in Italy showing buildings along the water's edge

Discover the real Italy with Citalia   

Are you ready to sample some Prosecco? We’ll cheers to that! Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!                                 
Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure. Andiamo!
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