We love wine, but that wasn’t always the case. Neither of us really had much of a taste for wine until we moved to Italy. Part of the appeal of wine was visiting vineyards. They’re just so atmospheric! In spring, the new leaf shoots start appearing on the vines that had been cut back after the harvest; as summer days heat up, tiny grapes begin to appear; the onset of véraison signals the end of summer; and the fall sets the remaining leaves ablaze in a sea of gold. Particularly in Italy, vineyards are set amongst the most picturesque castles and hilltop towns. We’ve definitely visited some beautiful vineyards in the last couple of years, but the Prosecco Road, winding along spaghetti thin roads in the Prosecco Hills of Veneto has some serious wow-factor!
Just an hour’s drive north of Venice and a mere 30 minutes drive from our home in Italy, the Prosecco Road runs for nearly 20 miles from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene. The breathtaking wine region is full of small terraced vineyards planted on steep slopes almost exclusively dedicated to grapes for Italy’s famed sparkling wine. You won’t find any massive producers here. Small family-run wineries producing the light and crisp Italian bubbly line the Prosecco Road. They’ve remained small because the steep slopes make it difficult to mechanize the work and the traditional methods from more than 200 years ago are still used by growers in these hills today.
Driving the Prosecco Road is like a treasure hunt. Just around every bend in the narrow, winding road is a new spectacular landscape. I don’t think we’ve stopped to photograph scenic views so much since driving the cliff-hugging road in East Iceland. It was nearly 6pm and a Saturday, so we just cruised on by the handful of wineries we passed. Here in Italy, you actually won’t find many wineries open on a Saturday and the few that are close up the cantina (wine shop) before lunch. And without booking in advance, it’s near impossible to get a tour and tasting. So imagine my surprise when we passed by Ca’ Salina, which actually appeared open.
Ca’ Salina was created by Riccardo Bortolin following the division of the Bortolin brothers from the famous and historic Bortolin winery in the 1950s. The winery sits on the top of a hill in the heart of the Valdobbiadene DOCG zone, which received its DOCG status in 2009. DOCG, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, is a quality control and DOCG labeled wines are analyzed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled.
Ca’ Salina’s DOCG wines come from their oldest and best vines. We tried the Rivete Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut. We don’t drink Prosecco often, but the dry and elegant fruity wine is perfect as an apertif or would be great with fish dishes.
We didn’t want to hold up the winery from closing and enjoying their evening, so we purchased one bottle and went on our way. I definitely want to drive the Prosecco Road again when the weather is better and we can visit a few wineries along the way!
Know Before You Go
- Ca’ Salina is open daily from 9am – 7pm. Call in advance to book a tour and tasting. Tel. +39 0423 975296
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