Farra di Soligo in the Prosecco Hills of Veneto, Italy
© Olimpio Fantuz/Sime/eStock Phot
Autumn in the Prosecco Hills
It’s autumn here in the Prosecco Hills of north-east Italy. We’re just outside Farra di Soligo, a village about 30 miles north-west of Venice. This region is known for growing the glera grape used to make prosecco. Once a humble sparkling wine, and considered a poor cousin to champagne, prosecco now eclipses champagne in global popularity. More than 600 million bottles of prosecco were produced in Italy in 2018, about twice the amount of champagne produced that year in France.
Of those, about 90 million bottles of prosecco a year come from this region. Like most Italian grape-growing areas, it boasts a spectacular landscape. Small plots of grapes have grown on narrow grassy terraces known as ‘ciglioni’ since the 17th century. From above, the ciglioni produce a chequered effect with vines growing both horizontally along and vertical to the hillsides. Some plots even use the 19th-century ‘bellussera’ technique of training the grapevines to grow up along trees. This region is so distinctive, it was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2019.