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Trentino Alto Adige Native Vines – First Part
Rosa D'AnconaApril 1, 2007



Introduction

 
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When someone mentions the Trentino region the first thing that comes to mind is the apples, however, despite the fact that apple orchards provide the main regional specialty crop, viticulture has carved a respectable niche for itself. Thanks to the strong terroir characteristics of its wines, the regional enological products compare favorably and hold their own, both in the Italian and the international markets.

In addition to the environmental variations, which make this production area an enological microcosm, the region's viticultural traditions date back to the Etruscan in Trentino, and to the Illirians in Alto Adige. As in most parts of Italy though, the Romans expanded and organized vine cultivation and wine production.

The regional vineyards expand over 14,000 hectares (around 34,600 acres), 5,000 (12,355 acres) of which are found in the province of Bolzano, and the remaining in the province of Trento.

Viticulture is practiced in 117 municipalities in the province of Trento and takes up 9,591 hectares (around 23,700 acres), and the whole grape production is converted into wine. Some 39% of the vineyards are located in low valleys, 41% on hills, and the remaining 20% in the mountains.

  Trentino Alto Adige

It's easy to understand how the climate range and soil variation between the 70 meters (around 230 feet) of elevation of the Vallegarina or Basso Sarca, and the 900 meters (slightly under 3,000 feet) of the Valle di Cembra, produce grapes with a strong territorial character and unique characteristics.

The yearly average grape production is around 1.2 million hectoliters (about 31.7 million gallons), 800,000 (21.13 million gallons) of which are produced in the Trentino part of the region, and the remaining 400,000 (10.56 million gallons) in Alto Adige. In effect, 1.7% of the Italian wine production comes from the province of Trento.

The 60% of wine which is produced in the Trentino part of the region is white and the remaining 40% are either red or rosé wines. Some 60% of the Trentino wine is bottled locally, while taking the whole of Italy into consideration the percentage of wine bottled locally is barely 40% of the production.

It is noteworthy as well that 70% of the regional vineyards produce DOC grapes, and the remaining produce mostly IGT grapes.

Currently the Trentino Alto Adige regions produces seven DOC and four IGT wines. In addition, the Agricultural Ministry is evaluating the request to recognize the first regional Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed, or DOCG) for the Vino Santo Superiore (Superior Holy Wine).

Over three quarters (77%) of the wines from Trentino Alto Adige are DOC, a much higher percentage than the national average of slightly less then one quarter (around 24%) of the total production. All in all, the regional DOC wines account for around 5% of the Italian production for this category of wine.

With an eye on the international markets, the viticultural sector of the region has made production choices, such as launching a project to make the Trentino Alto Adige a mostly white wine producing zone.

Currently white vines account for the 56.5% of the regional vineyards, with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Müller Thurgau representing the most cultivated varieties. Interesting results have been obtained with Pinot Bianco, Traminer Aromatico, Riesling Renano, and Sauvignon Blanc as well. In addition, the region grows the Nosiola native vine, known for its varietal wine as well as for the grappa liquor and the dessert wine Vino Santo (Holy Wine) produced with its grapes.

Among the red grapes there are international varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet and, in lesser quantity, Pinot Noir. In this case the native vines Teroldego, Marzemino, Schiava and Enantio represent the majority of the production.

Sparkling wines have their own relevant niche among the regional production, accounting for 8 to 9 million bottles per year, of which around 70% is made with the metodo classico (classic method, or re-fermented in the bottle), and 30% made according to the metodo charmat (charmat method, or barrel re-fermented).

Most spumanti (sparkling wines) made according to the metodo classico are classified DOC Trento, which represent around the 40% of the Italian production of spumante classico, whose total is 16.5 million bottles. In order to assist consumers in identifying these high quality products and set them apart from lesser quality wine, the special mention "Talento" ("Talent") has been established. The special mention refers to spumante metodo classico produced according to specific rules from Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco (White Pinot and Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir).

The main foreign markets for the Trentino Alto Adige wines are the United States, which take in 43% of the production per quantity and the 51% in value; Germany (34% per quantity and 26% in value), and England (11% per quantity and 11% in value).

Another important regional grape production is represented by the grappa (distilled liquor). This product is the result of the synergy between tradition and technical innovation, which improved the liquor's quality and launched it on the international market.

DOC and DOCG wines made with the main native vines

NATIVE GRAPES DOC WINES
DOCG WINES
Enantio
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige
Lagrein
  • Alto Adige
  • Casteller
  • Lago di Caldaro
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige
 
Marzemino
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige
Nosiola
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige
Schiava
  • Alto Adige
  • Casteller
  • Lago di Caldaro
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige

 

Teroldego
  • Casteller
  • Teroldego Rotaliano
  • Trentino e Trentino Superiore
  • Valdadige


Trentino Alto Adige IGT wines

IGT WINE

NATIVE VINES

Delle Venezie

  • Marzemino

Mittemberg

  • Schiava

Vallagarina

  • Lagrein
  • Marzemino
  • Nosiola
  • Schiava
  • Teroldego

Vigneti delle Dolomiti

  • Nosiola
  • Schiava
  • Teroldego


 
 
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