Visiting wineries and going along to wine tastings has become a new interest of mine in the last couple of years so of course I wanted to visit a local winery while in Italy. After an amazing week exploring Trentino I couldn’t leave Italy without checking out one more vineyard.
Lucky for me I was flying back home from Verona. The territory around Verona has some of the most historical areas for world famous wines such as Soave, Lugana, Durello, Bardolino, Custoza and Valpolicella.
Valpolicella, east of Lake Garda, is the most famous red wine region of Northern Italy one of the oldest wine producing areas in Italy. It is believed that the Romans cultivated the vine here over 2,000 years ago! The red wine produced in this area known as Valpolicella is typically made from three grape varities. These grapes are Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara.
The Valpolicella area can be divided into two areas; classica and Estesa. The classica, or classic, area is a small territory of hills and valleys north-west of Verona. This is the original Valpolicella growing area and produces just over a third of all Valpolicella wines. Due to the increasing demand of Valpolicella wines the area as been expanded and this area is now known as Valpolicella Estesa, the extended area.
A Valpolicella Vineyard Tour
Since I didn’t want to rent a car for wine tasting I looked online for any wine tours that had a pick up from Verona. I came across a family run winery right in the heart of Valpolicella. What made this particular tour appealing was that this winery has been around since the 17th Century.
The day before the tour I received a message from Jacopo to arrange the pick up for the next morning. Two pick up points were available, one in the centre of Verona and one at the Porta Nuova train station. Since I was staying in a hotel outside of the city centre it made it easier for me to have the option of meeting at the train station.
Right on time Jacopo was at the station to meet me ready to begin the tour. Tenuta Santa Maria Valverde is just a 30 minute car ride from Verona. Along the way Jacopo was giving us an introduction to the Campagnola family and their history of wine making. As he talked we could all sense his passion for what he did and this kept us engaged during the journey and made the 30 minutes fly by.
On the journey we discovered that while the Campagnola family have been growing grapes for wine making for years, it’s only recently that they started producing their own wines. What I really like about them was how they are keeping traditional methods of wine making alive and combining this with advanced technology. A great mixture of experienced wine making passed down through the generations while still taking advantage of modern technology.
Once we arrived at the vineyard, Jacopo let us walk around a bit of the area while he continued to fascinate us with information showing how the family have been taking meticulous care of the vineyard with time honoured techniques to create fine wines.
With its stunning location along the hilltops of the Valpolicella region I felt at peace while walking along the vineyard with the rays of the Italian sun shining down on me. At that moment I couldn’t be happier about booking this tour.
While I enjoyed being outside I also couldn’t wait to go inside and check out the 17th century wine cellars. And to be honest, my delicate and pale British skin can only last so long in the warm Italian sun!
Once inside it was time to learn more about the family’s wine making process. While my knowledge of wine making is quite limited I do enjoy learning about it on vineyard tours. Especially when you have such a passionate tour guide.
The family are so dedicated to producing quality wines made in the traditional way that they only produce a limited amount of wine each year. They are definitely a company that prefers quality over quantity. This is why you won’t really see them in the local shops or restaurants.
For me the most fascinating part of the tour was learning about traditional drying process called Appassimento used to dry Amarone grapes. This method is used to concentrate sugars and flavours without increasing acidity to create a full bodied, high quality wine.
Once the grapes have been harvested, they are brought to the drying room. Here they are spread out amongst many wooden crates stacked all the way to the ceiling. All the windows are left open and being high up in the hill tops the wind will dry the grapes.
Valpolicella Wine Tasting
Once we had finished our tour of the vineyard it was time for some wine tasting with lunch. Now I must admit when I booked this tour I didn’t realise this area was famous for its red wines. Whenever I do wine tastings I always chose to sample the white wines while maybe trying just one of the red wines.
It’s not that I don’t like red wines, it’s just that I automatically go for white wines. It’s almost like I forget that I actually do like red wines. So accidentally booking a red wine tasting was the perfect way to ‘force’ myself to remember I do in fact like some red wines.
During the wine tasting we got to sample three of their wines, the Valpolcella, Valpolcella Ripasse and the Amarone della Valpolcella.
The tour also included a light lunch of local cheeses, salami and bread. These had been selected so that they pair well with the wines.
- Tours are available most days depending on availability
- The tour lasts around 2 hours
- Price of the tour is €68
- Included in the price is the wine tasting and a light lunch
- It’s best to book online to avoid disappointment
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