Valpolicella DOC necktag - applicable as of Feb 2014
- Feb. 17, 2014
-- Starting this month, bottles of Valpolicella DOC will also carry the government seal around their necks. For the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Valpolicella, this marks the completion of a process of traceability of the appellation that had started with the government seals being obligatory for Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella in 2008 and continued with this being extended to Valpolicella Ripasso in 2011. Despite attainment of the DOC status being quite recent (2010, when the Valpolicella DOC was given its own specific production regulations)
the origin of the Valpolicella is indissolubly linked to the history of this part of the Veronese area. Here, vines have been present since prehistoric times, shown by the discovery of fossilized Ampelophyllum
plants, distant ancestors of Vitis silvestris
and Vitis sativa.
The first signs that Vitis vinifera sativa
was cultivated here – which gives fruit suitable for the production of wine – were uncovered in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica area and date back to a period between the 7th
Century B.C. The historic foundations of viticulture in the Valpolicella area however date back to Roman times when the wine from the Valpolicella, at that time called Retico, was served at imperial dinner tables. We owe Celso Aulio Cornelio and Columella (2nd
century B.C.) the description of “pompous wine” that Augustus particularly appreciated and the poet Virgilio gushed over its goodness. In the following centuries, Cassiodorus, minister Theodoric The Great, defined wine from the Valpolicella as “royal for the colour… dense and meaty… drinkable purple and of unbelievable softness”
It was in the 1900s though that Valpolicella was transformed radically and acquired more importance on the international stage. This was down to the local wines that became popular in many countries, especially north Europe and the USA. We should not forget that a great fan of Valpolicella, whose works helped the name reach every corner of the world, was Nobel prize winner for literature Ernest Hemmingway. According to legend, the author would drink at least a litre per day when he was close to Venice. His passion for this wine, led him to cite it in the book “Across the River and Into the Trees” written in 1950 where he defined it as “dry, red and as cordial as the house of a brother you get along with”.
Knowing that Valpolicella is an effective international testimonial for the area, the Consorzio di Tutela is planning a broad marketing campaign convinced that the consortium has an essential role in the territory. It is no secret that over the last decade the production of grapes destined for Valpolicella has remained more or less stable compared to an increase in the grapes left to dry to produce Amarone (almost 15,900 tonnes in 2005 which was almost doubled in 2012). The young “noble” brother of the Valpolicella is already amongst the great red Italian wines and its international fame has basically eclipsed the historic Valpolicella wine. This trend can be seen in the number that show that in 2005, almost 44,000 tonnes of grapes were used for Valpolicella with a slight decrease in the following years before registering 50,000 tonnes in recent years. 2013 was an exception with 54,300 tonnes marking a return in demand from the local wine producers for Valpolicella.
To complete the overview of production, the number of bottles produced increased from 41m in 2005 to 22 in 2012 whilst in the same period, Amarone jumped from a little under 8.5m to over 13m.