Prosecco, guys — I don't know if you know this, but it's like, ~the cool new thing.~ We don't need champagne anymore (or Arbor Mist, because we have taste buds), because Prosecco is here. Can we tell the difference between Prosecco and Champagne and Arbor Mist? Probably not, but we'll keep buying our very affordable Prosecco anyway.
And it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out, but I guess I live right next to the Prosecco region — under a 2 hour drive. While many people think Italy is quite small, that is actually not at all true, as it would probably take one between 12-14 hours to drive from the Austrian border to the tip of the boot, and that's not even including Sicily. So to be close to a very cool and important wine region like Prosecco and not to have been there? Well, that needed to be taken care of.
My sister visited last week, and while taking visitors to favorite standbys and places I've been before is fun and safe, I much more enjoy going to new places and exploring them fresh together. So we hopped in the car with my resident travel companion Delaney, put on the girliest CD mixes possible (yes, CD mixes, my car is from 2005) and set off for some wine tastings.
I did a lot of research on going to the Prosecco region beforehand, but it was probably pretty unnecessary. Once I got to the actual right place (which was the hard part, for me — ended up in the wrong town first), there were Prosecco wineries around every corner. And as long as I didn't hit them at lunch time — the traditional Italian rest period where almost everything is closed between 12:30-14:30 — I was fine. Our goal was to try to hit about 3 wineries, with a lunch in between, because in my past experience doing wine tastings, that's about all I could handle, as Italians are generous with their pours.
Honestly, the best part of the day was just having lunch with a great view of the vineyards and talking to the folks running the wineries. Almost everyone we encountered spoke English (and German!), which is uncommon for our region, but it made the tastings super easy. We paid nothing for all of our tastings (though we bought bottles at each of the wineries), and tried about 3 different variations at each ones. Almost all the wineries had Prosecco brut, extra dry and dry, as well as a non-frizzante Prosecco and a rosé or two.
Honestly, though, and Prosecco makers may kill me for saying this, but I didn't find that many distinctions between wineries, and the biggest differences were just between the brut, dry and extra dry wines. I really enjoyed basically everything we drank that day, but that's also because I really do like Prosecco. I'm saying this because if you don't drink all of the most famous Prosecco makers in the region, you'll probably still be fine – it's all good here! Just don't bring up the Aperol spritz (our favorite Italian cocktail) — all the wine makers got a little testy at the idea that we would mix their prized wine with a bright orange liquor. We'll just keep that to ourselves!
To make the most of your day, just plug Strada del Prosecco in Valdobbiadene (the town at the epicenter of the DOCG Prosecco) into your GPS and go! Put on your favorite outfits, bring a designated driver (please!), be responsible with your drinking but not your wine purchasing, and have a beautiful day roaming around the vineyards — because there are more than enough to spare.
WHAT WE DID:
- Started the day at Bisol winery: Bisol was recommended to us as one of the premiere Prosecco wineries in the region, so we started our day there (late, after getting lost). They do full tours of the winery that can be scheduled ahead of time in English, but we were plenty happy with our own simple tasting with the hospitable (and very attractive) Valentino. They're open from Monday to Saturday at 10.00 and at 14.30 and we just popped in without a reservation. Via Follo, 33 31049 Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene
- Tried our first Prosecco vending machine at L'Osteria senz'Oste: Honestly, the highlight of our day was this place. Though there are a lot of lovely aguriturismos which also do small-scale Prosecco productions throughout the region that I'd love to try next time around, I'd heard so much about this place that I knew it couldn't be missed. L'Osteria senz'Oste literally means the pub with no host — the entire place is set up on the honor system, and includes a fridge and a cabinet and a cash register where you can find fresh cheese, bread and salami and ring yourself up. The place is a small house with picnic tables set up inside and outside, and also leads to a breathtaking view of the wineries up on top of a hill, where there sits the infamous Prosecco machine, which we got such a kick out of. We brought our own picnic, but it was totally unnecessary, as they have everything you could need – including knives — right there. We made friends with the man who stocks the fridge when we visited, Vasile, and shared a glass with him!
- Jumped back into stastings at Ca'Salina: After L'Osteria, we stopped into Ca'Salina, which was literally just around the corner. We got many generous pours from our host, Gregorio, who also taught us our new favorite Italian phrase that you're suppose to say during picture-taking: "Rise e bise!" They're open with continuous hours from 9 to 19:00. Via S. Stefano 2 31040 Valdobbiadene
- Ended the day at Mionetto: We knew our third winery would be our last (there is only so much wine you can drink and stay cute in picture), so we finished off with another very large Prosecco supplier, which definitely had the largest and most varied selection of Prosecco our of the wineries we visited. We did another simple tasting, no tour, and really loved their very tiny bottles of Prosecco that we thought made for great gifts or personal-sized bottles. Via Colderove, 2 31049 Valdobbiadene TV
- Saved the rest of our research for next time!: I put together an extensive document of wineries before we drove into the Prosecco sunset, but we didn't make it to all of them, of course. Many of these were recommended to me by others or those that I found on other blogs. The information here was found through websites or email correspondence with the wineries, but I haven't vetted all the information (especially through Google maps, which was wrong for almost everything here, because it's Italy), so some of it may be wrong! But I thought others would find it useful.
Photos and text © Katie Currid, Delaney Perez & Annie Currid, 2016. All rights reserved.