A slow journey along the Prosecco Road allows you really get to know the wine you are drinking in a way not found in other parts of Italy. Because it doesn’t have the masses of tourists found elsewhere in the country, visitors to the Prosecco region can really immerse themselves and bask in warm Italian hospitality. There are no lines and no crowds, and no one seems to be in a hurry.
A view across the beautiful Prosecco region.
OK, now let’s talk about the wine.
What is DOCG?
The Prosecco region has a DOCG denomination. DOCG is short for the fancy Italian words, “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.” It is part of a labeling and control system that Italy has created to help consumers know the regionally created products they are buying are genuine and of high quality. Because this system is key to understanding wine in Italy, our hosts Deb and Massi of Italy Unfiltered and Massi the Driver made sure to explain it to us right away.
This marker shows that we are in a special agricultural area, “Denominacion de Origen Controlada e Garantita.” This means the grapes for the wine were grown in a specific region and that the wine is guaranteed to meet exacting specifications for quality.
DOCG wines are made from grapes grown only in the specific region known for the wine’s production.
Any bottle bearing a numbered DOCG seal was created following a well-defined set of rules for the blending of grape varietals, and has been tested not only for taste but also at the molecular level to exacting quality standards.
DOCG is not exclusive to Prosecco. Here is a DOCG label on a bottle of Chianti Classico. Because of the label, we know this bottle was crafted to exact standards.
If a wine doesn’t pass any of these tests, it doesn’t get approved for the little numbered paper seal. In other words, if you see a seal with the letters “DOCG” on an Italian wine, you know it was created and checked to meet exacting standards so is a good representative from the region. The Prosecco Road is full of wineries producing DOCG wines.
A glass of DOCG Prosecco at the Bisol winery.
Visiting the Prosecco region
Along Prosecco Road, it is very easy to visit lots of wineries that produce DOCG wines, as they are extremely close together. I’m talking about sometimes just a few feet away from the next. Because each one offers visitors a unique experience, you really can really learn a great deal about the wine and region. At the Bisol winery, for instance, you can tour the museum in their original cellar and soak up the history of wine making both at that winery and in the region.
Bisol winery cellar museum.
Historic wines in the Bisol museum.
At another winery, you learn a little bit about the different soils in the region as well as what each soil type brings to the Glara grapes grown in it. You also hear how those grapes are blended to create the different wines offered.
The Adami winery had a display showing some of the different soil types in which grapes are grown.
Grapes are everywhere throughout the region, often running right along the road like a hedge. Vines of Glara grapes decorated people’s front yards and were planted right next to buildings as if the grape growers didn’t want to waste one single square foot of this fertile land. Seriously, we could have stuck our hand out the car window and touched a vine if we’d wanted to.
Glara grapes growing in the Prosecco region
Many of the wineries are small, family-owned operations without a formal tasting room staff. Instead, it is often the wine maker or close family member who pours and explains each wine to you. And what generous pours! In many cases you can get a little tour of the winery, as well. Imagine how much you can learn with so many mini-tutorials during your visit.
An antique spittoon at the Vigne Matte winery.
Steve and Ann pose at the Le Colture winery.
And with so few tourists around, even in the high Italian tourist season, we often had the wineries to ourselves. It was such a wonderful, relaxing way to enjoy sampling some of the world’s best wine.
Our hosts, Massi and Deb, at the Vinge Matte winery. We were the only ones there except for the neighbor’s cute puppy who just loved following us around.
If you’re wondering what an agriturismo is, don’t worry. You’re in good company. I had no idea the word even existed before our trip to Italy this summer. In fact, it wasn’t until I stayed in one that I gained a good understanding of what they are and how they can take your Italian vacation to the next level.
Agriturismo businesses are great places to stay in the Prosecco region near Valdobbiadene, Italy.
Simply put, an agriturismo is a small, family-owned tourism business, like a bed and breakfast, attached to a larger agriculture-related business that produces and sells something. Along the Prosecco Road, you won’t find a Hilton Garden Inn, but you will find all kinds of agriturismo businesses catering to the handful of tourists who have discovered this beautiful area.
Our hosts, Deb and Massi of Italy Unfiltered and Massi the Driver, arranged for us to stay at the Roccat winery agriturismo business. Beautiful flowers greeted us outside the front door, a sample of the warm hospitality we were about to experience.
Lovely flowers outside the Roccat winery agriturismo inn.
The family renovated an old barn on their property into a six room bed and breakfast in the year 2000. Each is clean, comfortable and has a private bath with toiletries provided. Breakfast, served in a charming, sunlit room is simply wonderful. They serve locally made jams, as well as meats and dairy products from nearby farms. There are cereals, as well, along with baked goods from a local bakery. My favorite was a wonderful cake. I had two pieces each morning. Don’t judge. If you tried it, you would, too.
The breakfast spread at the Roccat winery agriturismo. It is included with the room.
This homemade cake at the Roccat Agriturismo was the perfect breakfast food.
The rooms provide a cultural experience you won’t get if you stay in a chain hotel, and we liked that. Be aware, though, that the air conditioning is to Italian standards, meaning it doesn’t cool the room as much as Americans might be accustomed to. Also, like most places in Italy, washcloths are not provided, so if you typically use one you might want to pack one in your bag.
What was great about staying at the agriturismo is that after breakfast, we went out the back door and were in the middle of the winery. The morning of our second day there, we met the wine maker, Clemente, and walked about 20 steps to the area where they produce and bottle the wines.
Clemente at Roccat winery.
There, Clemente explained to us the process for creating Prosecco and explained how it is different than Champagne made in France. While both wines undergo a secondary fermentation that puts bubbles in the wine, the method used for that fermentation is different. In Champagne, it happens in the bottle. In Prosecco, it takes place in large vats. At the end of the Prosecco process, the temperature in the vat is dropped below freezing, killing the yeast and stopping the process.
Huge vats of wine are chilled to below freezing to stop the secondary fermentation. The ice on the door to this vat shows that the process is being stopped.
Once the secondary fermentation is done, the winery seeks permission from the governing authorities to bottle the wine. When they have it, they send it through pipes to the bottling machine.
Clemente explains the bottling process.
To learn a little more about the wine making process, watch this video. Massi does a great job translating what Clemente explained.
After our tour, we walked the 20 or so steps back to the tasting room at the agriturismo, a room they call the tavern, and sat down to sample the wine.
This beautiful great room is ideal for group gatherings as well as wine tastings. Photo Credit: Roccat Winery.
It was a little earlier than normal for drinking wine, so I won’t say the exact time that we started other than to say it rhymes with “hen dirty” in the morning. Again, please don’t judge. We were conducting important research so we could share with you, the readers of our blog.
Clemente pours a generous sample of Prosecco at Roccat winery. It was delicious!
Our stay at Roccat gave us a glimpse into Italian culture and wine that you don’t get at most hotels. Without this experience, our visit to Italy simply wouldn’t have been the same. That’s why staying in an agriturismo is our number two tip for your visit to the Prosecco Road.
Our tour of the Prosecco Road and transportation were complimentary from Italy Unfiltered and Massi the Driver. The opinions expressed are our own. If you would like to know more about Roccat winery, click [HERE].
If you like Prosecco wine, you’ll love Valdobbiadene. I promise you will.
Valdobbiadene was unlike any other wine region we’d ever seen. The vines followed the terrain we were never more than a stone’s throw away from a winery.
Our visit there this summer was one of our favorite and most memorable stops on our tour through Italy. We’ve wrestled for weeks about how to write about such an extraordinary experience and yesterday, decided one blog post was just not going to do it. So, this is the first in a series about our visit to the Prosecco region. We’ll start with our most important tip: Hire a professional drive and local guide.
We can’t imagine visiting the Prosecco region without the expertise of Massi the Driver and his wife, Deb, of Italy Unfiltered.
Italian-born Massi and his American wife, Deb, have spent a lot of time in Valdobbiadene (pronounced valdob’bja:dene). It took me a month to learn how to properly pronounce the name of this town (and another month to spell it) and I can’t imagine trying to navigate the it on our own. Nor would I have wanted to. By hiring a licensed driver and local guide, you not only don’t have to worry about reading street signs in Italian or understanding the rules of the road, but you can also enjoy the view and make the most of your time there.
Massi the Driver and his wife, Deb, of Italy Unfiltered knew exactly where to go and what to see and do in the Prosecco region in Valdobbiadene, Italy.
Because they had been to many of the wineries on previous trips (all in the name of research, of course), they knew exactly which ones to visit, what their business hours were, and what we could expect at each tasting.
Deb and Massi knew all the best wineries to visit in Valdobbiadene and more importantly, how to get there.
One of the other great things about having this dynamic duo show us around is that they knew many of the wine makers, by name. That meant a lot. At most places, if the wine maker was around, we were able to meet him or her, visit about what makes their wine unique and most times have a private tour.
Deb and Massi with the wine maker at Roccat Winery in Valdobbiadene, Italy.
Both Deb and Massi speak Italian and that also helped. A lot. While many of the wineries had English-speaking staff, some didn’t. No matter where we were, Deb and Massi were able to help interpret and ask our questions in the wine makers’ native language. They were also able to help us order food at restaurants, get directions to the bathrooms, and help us order wine to be shipped back home. And let me be honest, I absolutely love listening to people speak Italian. To me, it is the most beautiful language I’ve ever heard.
We loved having a private driver who would stop whenever we saw something we’d like to take a picture of, like this beautiful hydrangea.
I also loved having a private N.C.C. driver (that’s a special license for tour drivers in Italy) who would stop whenever I wanted him to so that I could take a photo of something like a beautiful hydrangea. And the vines. And the sunset. And the church. And so on.
The benefit of having a knowledgable local was that Deb was able answer our questions about food and wine in the area and customize our trip according to our interests and abilities.
Our guide, Deb, was able to show us around and answer questions about the Prosecco region around Valdobbiadene.
Deb and Massi took us to so many great places where we had unique views and incredible photo ops.
Trust me when I say that maneuvering your way around Valdobbiadene and the surrounding area is not easy and that hiring a driver and guide is worth the money. While our tour and transport services were complimentary this time, we wouldn’t dream of going back without enlisting the help of a licensed driver.
Deb and Massi were so much fun to be around and we will likely be lifelong friends.
In addition, we really did have a fantastic time with this couple. We drank together, ate together, laughed together and made memories together that will a lifetime. And that, my friends, is priceless.
Our tour of the Prosecco Road and transportation were complimentary from Italy Unfiltered and Massi the Driver. The opinions expressed are our own. If you are interested in booking tour or transport services with Deb and Massi, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIN FOR LATER
Tips for your visit to Prosecco Road in Valdobbiadene, Italy. #1 – Hire a driver and guide.
We’re Steve and Ann Teget. We spent more than two decades in corporate America and public education before Ann’s health and Steve’s aversion to middle school girl drama convinced us to try something new. Now we are making the most of midlife and telling authentic stories about extraordinary travel. And yes, we send ourselves postcards.