The presence of grapevines in Verona area dates back to 40 million of years ago, but it is in Roman times that the cultivation of grapevines was ample and diffuse . The famous description of Acinaticum, written by Cassiodorus confirmed the use of the ancestral practice of drying grapes. The Medieval time was a time of great expansion of the vineyards. The demand of wine was related to the need to procure wine for the mess camps, but also for the taverns in the city.
It is estimate that in the 1300s in Valpolicella the area dedicated to cultivation of grapes was about 30-40% of the total area used for agricultural purposes. The origin of Repubblica Serenissima of Venice intensified the commerce of wines from Verona along the Adige river (which was navigable) till Venice.
The Renaissance brought a rediscovery of wine and a poem remembers a wine “ coming from small grapes of the Retica”, a clear referrence to acinaticum, the modern Recioto.
In 1888 the first document appeared with the term Recioto. At the time the wines of Valplicella were classified as Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore, from mountains and from the hills, and Recchiotto.
At the beginning of 1900s phylloxera spread in about all the Valpolicella and it was only in the following years that it was eradicated with the grafting of Vitis Vinifera to vines of American origin.
In 1936 the name Amarone first appeared in the wineries of Villa Mosconi – Bertani and with the end of the second World War viticulture and vinification had a period of rebirth, when presitgious wineries began to export their finest products all over the world.
Zone of production
The zone of production of “Valpolicella” DOC and DOCG includes all or part of the lands belonging to the municipalities of: Marano, Fumane, Negrar, Sant’Ambrogio, S. Pietro in Cariano, Dolcè, Verona, S. Martino Buon Albergo, Lavagno, Mezzane, Tregnago, Illasi, Colognola ai Colli, Cazzano di Tramigna, Grezzana, Pescantina, Cerro Veronese, S. Mauro di Saline and Montecchia di Crosara.
The unique geology that characterizes the valleys spanning out of the feet of Lessinia Mountains has permitted the formation of different type of soils that can be grouped togethers as follows:
- Red and brownish soils
- Red clayi
- Brownish clay
- Red, compacts soil
- Whitish, calcareus soils (like in Mezzane and Marcellise)
The native varieties, subject to regulation since 1968, are:
- Corvina veronese: this variety is quite vigorous with variable and nonetheless of medium yields. It is characterized by poor fertility in the lower stems and it is adapted for light and exposed soil, providing wines that have a ruby red color, more or less intense, with a slightly acidic taste, somewhat tannic, medium bodied and lasting. Well suitable for withering.
- Corvina grossa: this vine is generous, with quite large bunches and grapes. It is rustic and has and has an optimal productive capacity, especially if is cultivated in the hills, in well exposed meager soils. The wines have a ruby red color, with intense perfuse, fruity, sometimes spicy, full bodied and a high proportion of tannins. Well suitable for withering.
- Rondinella: variety is very rustic, generous and adapted for soils having a high content of clay and which are not well exposed. It is perfectly adapted for withering.
- Molinara: it is a native variety, no more binding. Because of its scarce content in colored substances, the production of this variety is rather low. Vinification with these grapes produce simple rather pale wines, savory and highly drinkable.
- Other native grapes are: Dindarella, Oseleta, Negrara, Rossignola, Forsellina.
- Admitted in limited quantities: Cabernet sauvignon, Teroldego and Merlot.
Discover more on Consorzio Valpolicella website.