The story of prosecco

Prosecco dates back to the Roman times, approximately the 2nd century before Christ and originates from a small region called Prosecco. It is told that the wife of Augustus, Livia, liked to drink Puxinum ''Pucino''; she said it was the secret of her youth and beauty. Unfortunately, at this time other grape varieties were being preferred. Nevertheless the often rejected prosecco shot was cultivated in the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene and right there found the perfect conditions to turn into a quality vine. In the year 1868 Antonio Carpene founded together with Caccianiga, Mavolti and Vianelle the ''Societa Enologica Trevigiana''. Due to this company Prosecco was discovered as sparkling wine. The product started to spread and be valued more and more. The sparkling wine method was called Conegliano Valdobbiadine and was developed by Antonio Carpene; who discovered a way to ferment the wine for more than 30 days in a steel tank after adding sugar and yeast. The educational institution employed well-known professors such as Arturo Mareschali, Giovanni Dalmasso and Luigi Manzoni, who created the foundation of the science of wine. Professor Manzoni was of particular importance and responsible for the crossing of excellent wines. Professor Tullio de Rosa, whose books were used to teach countless generations of students, supported him. In the year 1923, after noticing the need of the winemakers for a reliable way to prove that a production method has been improved, the professors Giusti and Dalmasso founded '' stazione sperimentale di viticoltura ed enologia di conegliano'', which later in the year 2004 became a research institute for vine growing. In the following years, the wine got more and more successful. It was copied in a lot of countries. For this reason they started looking for a legal solution, in order to secure that the vine was only being cultivated in the original area prosecco. At the same time the old name ''Glera'' or ''Glera lungo'' came up again. It was also decided to expand the production area and add the regions Venetia, Belluno and Padova as well as Trieste, Gorizia and Udine, where the production had been shot down years ago. On the 17th of July the new Directive ''DOC Prosecco'' came into force. At the same time two DOCG "Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco" and "Colli Asolani- Prosecco" were approved in accordance to the statutes of production.

Characteristics of Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG presecco superiore

The territory ensures premium quality grapes. The producing area is historical and limited to a hilly area between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, two of the biggest producing cities. This shortage of space makes the product even more desirable. To be more precise the area includes the communes Conegliano, San Vendemiano, Colle Umberto, Vittorio Veneto, Tarzo, Cison di Valmarino, Follina, Miano, Valdobbiadene, Vidor, Farra di Soligo, Pieve di Soligo, San Pietro di Feletto, Refrontolo e Susegana, in the province of Treviso. On a surface of 20.000 square meters, 7.000 are used for viticulture, belonging to 3.000 families of winemakers which are running 454 wineries and 283 sparkling wine cellars. Their self-made products are being sold all over the world. The vines are all treated by hand and are growing on slopes of up to 70%.

Traditionally the wine is produced with a minimum of 85% of the grape variety Glera and with a maximum of 15% from the grapes Verdiso, Bianchetta, Perera, Glera and a wide range of grape varieties that have been present for ages in the hills of Conegliano-Valdobbiadine. For champagne or sparkling wine it is also possible to use the grapes of Pinot and Chardonnay. The production of Docg is approximately 135 quintals per hectare.

The charcateristics of DOC

  • The intented outturn is 180 quintals per hectar.
  • The grapes: The new region provides that the composition of grapes must consist a minimum of 85% Glera and a maximum of 15% from smaller grape varieties, Pinots or Chardonnay.
  • The region of bottling consists of the 9 provinces which have the same appelation of origin, or to be more precise the wine is bottled by producers outside the wine-growing areas, that have been bottling the wine for over 5 years.
  • The different kinds of wine; in the new Doc region it is possible to produce still-, sparkling wine and champagne.

After the description of the vine yard let's take a look at the wine making and the Charmat- or Martinotti-method. It dates back to the year 1895 in which Federico Martinotti invented the secondary fermentation in big barrels. This was refined in the year 1910 by the Frenchman Eugene Charmat.

This procedure is used for most of the sparkling vines and provides for a fermentation in big steel tanks, that can withstand the pressure of the fizz. Here the selected yeast and sugars are being added. After the fermentation (15-20 days) is done, the vine turned into sparkling vine; it is then filtrated, centrifuged and cooled, for the tartaric acid to sink to the bottom. With the second filtration and centrifugation the tartaric acid will be removed and the vine is ready to be bottled.

Using this process it is mostly possible to gain dry and sweet vines with a decent fruit taste; the majority of the produced sparkling bottles ( in Italy and abroad) are made using the Charmat-method, especially because of the fast and easy procedure in contrast to the traditional method which consumes more time and ressources.

The three forms of Prosecco

  • Prosecco DOC, as a still wine, has a minimum alcohol strength of 10,5% and the CO2 - overpressure is under 1 Bar.
  • Prosecco DOC, as a sparkling wine, has a minimum alcohol strength of 10,5% and the CO2 overpressure is between 1 and 2,5 bar.
  • Prosecco DOC, as a sparkling wine, has a minimum alcohol strength of a minimum of 11% and the CO2 overpressure is more than 3 bars.

The prosecco spumante can be cultivated like that

  • Brut (herb): residual sugar under 12g/ liter.
  • Extra dry: residual sugar between 12 and 17g/ liter.
  • Dry (dry): residual sugar between 17 and 32 g/ liter.
  • Demisec (semidry): residual sugar between 32 and 50g/ liter.