Conegliano Valdobbiadene Announces its First "UNESCO Vintage"
November 14, 2019
Solighetto—An exceptional qualitative harvest for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. concluded in mid-October. The 2019 harvest, the first after receiving recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site this summer, began about ten days later than in recent years, thus reverting to a more traditional time for picking. The grapes were of excellent quality, which was already evident from the pre-harvest forecasts carried out by the analysts of the Producers’ Consortium.
Harvest took place in ideal climatic conditions. The weather in the spring and summer was similarly perfect, ensuring that the grapes attained optimum ripeness and organoleptic development. Measurements indicate an average pH of 3.30 (3.26 in 2018) and acidity of 6.55 (5.92 in 2018), values that are particularly favorable for the production of sparkling wines such as Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G.
“This month we have just spent on the Rive vineyards has been one of intense work; for us vine-growers this is the most important time of the year. The outstanding quality of the 2019 harvest rewards us for the efforts of the entire year, which was enhanced with the accolades from UNESCO, but also the fiftieth anniversary of the Denomination and our region wide ban on glyphosate, which has made us the largest wine zone in Europe to forbid the use of this well-known herbicide,” stated Innocente Nardi, President of the Producers’ Consortium for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco.
Concerning the quantity of grapes that were harvested this year, there was a reduction of 3- 5% compared to 2018 due to hailstorms, which brought yields back to the average of the years preceding. After a rather cold winter, the zone endured a spring that was cooler and rainier than usual, causing a delay in bud break, which in turn affected the phenological evolution of the vines. This was followed by a summer with typically hot temperatures, which partly allowed the vines to catch up on the phenological development that had been lost back in May. Moreover, the weather remained stable during the period of the harvest, allowing growers to deliver particularly healthy grapes to the wineries.
Given the characteristics of the region, whose salient features include very steep slopes and a hilly terrain that is difficult to access with machinery in Conegliano Valdobbiadene. 600-700 hours of manual work are necessary per hectare each year, compared to an average of 150-200 hours on the plain, where mechanization is much more common. As a result, the region's "heroic" harvest represents the period when the growers in the region must demonstrate the most ingenuity.
The harvest – as is customary– involved first of all the most easterly zone and slopes with the most exposure to sunlight, such as those at San Pietro di Feletto. This was followed by the more central zone of the Denomination (Refrontolo, Pieve di Soligo, Col San Martino and also the premium-quality Cartizze area) and finally that of Valdobbiadene.
Production Regulation Changes
Additionally, prior to harvest this year, the region announced new regulations that apply to the wines of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. These new Production Regulations for the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita “Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco” have come into force with their publication on 8th August 2019, and were completely operative as of the 2019 vintage.
They allow for:
“Sui Lieviti” (“On the Lees/Yeasts”), sparkling wines that have been refermented in bottle. This style pays tribute to a traditional type of product for the zone and to the long history of making sparkling wines in the area.
“Extra Brut”, (residual sugar between 0 and 6 gr/lt.). This style is becoming more popular as it highlights the mineral elegance of our top wines, and also appeals to those looking for a more gastronomic style of Prosecco Superiore DOCG.
For more information please visit: www.prosecco.it
About the Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G
The Consorzio di Tutela del Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. is the private body, founded in 1962, that guarantees and controls adherence to the production regulations for D.O.C.G. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. The sparkling wines produced on the hillsides between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the Province of Treviso, obtained Denominazione di Origine Controllata status in 1969 and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita in 2009. The production zone includes 15 municipal areas: Conegliano, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo, Susegana, Pieve di Soligo, Farra di Soligo, Follina, Miane, Vidor and Valdobbiadene. The Consortium, whose current President is Innocente Nardi, has its headquarters in the village of Solighetto in Pieve di Soligo. It groups together 185 sparkling wine producers and includes all the categories in the production chain (vine-growers as well as vinifying and bottling companies). It operates principally in three areas: protection of the product, its promotion, and sustainability of production. It carries out these tasks both in Italy and abroad, promoting knowledge of the product through educational activities, the organization of events and relations with the press.