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An Overview of Alto Adige Wines

Northern Italy's White Wine Gem

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An Overview of Alto Adige Wines
Alto Adige Wines
Italy gets plenty of face time for its remarkable red wine finds, but it may come as a surprise that the country’s most impressive DOC white wines hail from a relatively tiny segment of rugged terrain in the region of Alto Adige. Italy’s northernmost wine growing region, Alto-Adige, is an eclectic mix of Austrian accuracy and Italian spirit. Geographically, Alto Adige sits just below the Austrian border, held captive by the impressive peaks of the eastern Italian Alps,the Dolomites, a collection of breath-taking peaks composed largely of porphyry rock walls. The Dolomites, provide a protective barrier for a thriving viticultural scene and the Mediterranean to the west and Adriatic to the east usher in the temperate influences of a maritime climate.

This unique terroir, following the flow of the Adige river, gives rise to ideal grape growing conditions, where days are sunny and warm; followed by cool, crisp nights. The extensive terrain variations and elevations, from valley floor to mountain side gives way to a myriad of individual microclimates. These unique microclimates play host to a wide range of vineyards from the heavily terraced mountain vines supporting key white wine varietals, to the temperate valley basin, where warm-weather loving vines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Lagrein thrive in trellis-laced patches.

Consider the diversity of a landscape that allows the region to successfully grow close to 20 grape varietals in just under 13,000 acres of vineyard space. Today the wines of Alto Adige offer the world an extraordinary white wine experience. By consistently presenting exceptional grape quality, real bottle value and outgoing, food-friendly wine personalities - the white wines of Italy’s north bring consumers that needle in the haystack they’ve been searching the wine world over for.

Alto Adige is home to over 150 wineries that produce about 47 million bottles of wine annually. The vast majority of the wines exported from the area continue to be their stellar white wines, with the lion’s share of their red wines savored locally or exported to nearby neighbors “in the know” like Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

History of Alto Adige:

The area now known and loved as Alto Adige was under Austro-Hungarian rule until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, where the region was hastily annexed by Italy. This annexation began a clash of two independent cultures that can still be seen to varying degrees in Alto Adige today. Austrians and Italians both stake their claims on everything from road signs to heritage sites. This mixture of cultures has likely been a benefit for their emergence onto the world-wide wine stage, as the Austrian engineering makes for a wine of superior quality by meticulous design and the influential Italian reputation reminds its fans to take a moment to truly enjoy the wine, one glass at a time.

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