A visit to areas recently placed under the protection of UNESCO: the best view is from the top of Col Vetoraz.
Last 7 July, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the Prosecco hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene to the list of World Heritage Sites, acknowledging them as a unique cultural landscape to be protected.
A cultural landscape to be protected
UNESCO identifies territories that are a particular example of traditional human settlement, where a positive use of the land represents a culture and has created a unique landscape
In this small area located in the province of Treviso, now under protection, Prosecco Superiore excellences are produced such as the “Valdobbiadene DOCG” and the “Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG”.
The World Heritage Committee has evaluated the extraordinary and universal value of these hills and it has emphasized how the protection of the rural landscape has been guaranteed particularly by the production procedures of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, which promote the maintenance of the vineyards, the ciglioni and other typical local traditions as well as the protection of biodiversity and of the associated ecosystems.
The terraced vineyards, a heritage of the 17th century
It is a corner in North-East Italy with one of a kind sceneries: steep slopes; terraced vineyards and the characteristic ciglioni; a chequerboard landscape with rows of vines and slopes; hilly ridges planted with vines rising between forests and villages.
Since the 17th century, the area has been greatly shaped by man and up until today, it requires a lot of effort in order to be cultivated, allowing limited help from machines. This commitment has become a distinctive trait of local viticulture and the symbol of a wider and unique cultural landscape.
The recognition of UNESCO has acknowledged exactly this: the value of the finest local products does not only come from the production processes involved, but also from the exceptional gifts that are the landscape and the men who work on them.
Col Vetoraz, Cartizze’s highest peak
The best place to enjoy this sight is on the top of Col Vetoraz, in Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene: we are on Cartizze’s highest peak, at almost 400 metres. From here, you can look over the entire area, with the Alps and the vineyards climbing the steep slopes of the hill as the scenic backdrop.
In this special place, vines are grown for almost 200 years by the Miotto family, whose descendant – Francesco – today runs the company that shares the same name with this territory (Col Vetoraz) together with the agronomist, Paolo De Bortoli, and the oenologist, Loris Dall’Acqua.
With more than 250 awards and recognition from the wine world, Col Vetoraz has unquestionably become an essential element for the qualification of this land.
Prosecco? Let’s call it Valdobbiadene DOCG
Col Vetoraz has such a deep bond with the territory that it rebelled against a choice made in 2009, when “Prosecco” became an appellation extended to nine provinces between Veneto and Friuli.
The simple distinction between “Prosecco” (the wine produced in those territories created in 2009) and “Prosecco Superiore” (the wine produced on the historical hills of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano) has ceased to convey a specific original identity.
Starting from the 2017 vintage, Col Vetoraz has removed the term “Prosecco” from all of its labels and communication material, exclusively using the appellation “Valdobbiadene DOCG”, considered as the most genuine expression of its roots.
Come and have a taste of these wines’ story
Completely manual cultivation and harvesting – with grapes strictly from the foothills of the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area and with each vineyard processed separately – make the Col Vetoraz estate the leader of “heroic viticulture”, which yields award-winning bottles all over the world.
Tastings are done in a special big room – fully equipped with large windows – whose view of the surrounding hills allows the synaesthesia between taste and sight; while the ears revel in the story of the wines produced here, expressively narrated by the company’s staff.