The Veneto region: wine motor of northern Italy

Veneto, the region surrounding Venice, is Italy’s biggest producer of wine in terms of volume despite being slightly smaller than the country’s other main wine-producing regions - Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Puglia and Sicily.

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The Veneto wine region stretches from the mountainous north, bordering Austria to the north, the Adriatic Sea in the east and Alto Adige, Trentino, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna to the west and south. Much of its viticulture, around 60%, is centred on its extensive flatland areas, where it shares the plains with rice paddies, about 25% of its vines are in the Alps and pre-Alps foothills, and approximately 15% on its extensive verdant hills. It represents the biggest percentage of DOC wines in Italy, that is 20% of national production.

Some of Italy’s biggest wine names are can be found in the Veneto region; wine styles such as Amarone della Valpolicella, Recioto della Valpolicella and Recioto di Soave are produced in the hills near Verona; fruity, red Valpolicella is Italy’s only other DOC that can compete with Chianti in terms of production volume; and the world’s darling fizz, aromatic sparkler Prosecco is produced towards the north of the Veneto wine region, centred around the slopes of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region.

The Veneto wine region is a mix: a mix of industrial and artisan producers, a mix of traditional and international varieties, and a mix of styles – dry, frizzante, spumante, sweet, passito, red, white and rosato. Whatever style of wine you’re looking for, the Veneto region, wine motor of Italy, is sure to have something to tempt you.

In the west of the Veneto wine region, the focus is on traditional varieties, such as Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Corvinone, which form the backbone of the crunchy, fruity reds and chiarettos (rosatos) of Lake Garda’s Bardolino as well as Valpolicella’s fresh reds and intense passito wines – mighty, dry Amarone and luscious sweet Recioto. Soave Superiore and Recioto di Soave have aromatic, fruity Garganega as their base along with a portion of Trebbiano di Soave. Extending to the north of Soave, the Gambellara region also uses Garganega as the basis of its dry, sweet and sparkling whites.  Crisp white Lugana, to the south of Lake Garda and also shared with the Lombardy wine region, is based on Trebbiano di Soave, whereas Bianco di Custoza to the south-west of Verona produces crisp, fresh white blends from up to nine varieties, but mainly Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega and Trebbianello, an obscure variety shown to be biotype of Tocai Friulano.

Sparkling Prosecco is king in the north-east, produced as both a fully sparkling spumante and a semi-sparkling frizzante from the peachy, aromatic Glera, which until 2009 was mostly referred to as Prosecco. Its name was officially changed to prevent producers outside the Prosecco region from hijacking it. Glera is a common denominator in the north-east of the region, but still wines are also made in the Piave DOC as well as the Lison, Lison-Pramaggiore, Montello e Colli Asolani and Colli di Conegliano sub-zones from a mixture of both international and local varieties.

The Colli Berici, Colli Euganei and Breganze around Vicenza and Padua in central Veneto successfully grow international varieties, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Nero and even Carmenere. These hilly zones have gained DOC status, whereas vast quantities of IGT wine are produced on the plains below. Northern Italy’s easy-drinking, flagship variety Pinot Grigio is grown here as is Tocai Friulano, also known as Tai in the Veneto wine region.

Just south of the Colli Euganei, one of the newest DOCGs in the Veneto wine region, Bagnoli Friulari, produces full-bodied dry reds, as well as two sweet styles, from Raboso, known locally as Friulari. The variety’s serious acidity and tannins earned the variety its name, from rabbioso, literally ‘aggressive’ or ‘rabid’, so approach with caution.

At Wine Paths, our team of local experts help you discover La Serenissima’s hinterland and the Veneto wine region, whatever style of wine you are looking for.


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