The European Network of Wine Cities has made the decision to make the town of Conegliano its European Wine City of 2016. The town, which is perhaps best known as the supposed birthplace of Prosecco wine, is often associated with the nearby town of Valdobbiadene, with the two being considered some of the most important areas in Italy for wine lovers.
The decision to grant the award was made on 23rd November during a meeting of the network that was held in the European Parliament in Brussels and it is the fifth variation of the award to be handed out. It marks Conegliano as the apparent epicentre of wine culture in 2016, which means that the region of Veneto and the town itself are likely to experience a little bit of an increase in tourism over the course of the coming year.
Prosecco, which has become an extremely popular choice amongst wine drinkers in both Italy and the United Kingdom, amongst other countries, in recent years, is a fairly simple sparkling white wine that offers a refreshing taste.
The variety produced in Conegliano has been granted DOCG status in Italy, which stands for Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin, marking it out as one of the highest quality wines in the country.
As for the award itself, it is granted to the city that best highlights the diversity and richness of the wine culture during a particular year, taking everything into account from the wines that the city produces through to its history, landscape, economy and overall wine heritage. This creates a total package that makes the city extremely attractive to people who have an interest in the wine industry.
By granting this award, the European Wine city aims to promote the city or town that is selected and the wines that it produces, so with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the town of Conegliano to find out what it has to offer to anybody who chooses to visit.
Conegliano is located in the region of Veneto, which is perhaps one of the most recognizable amongst fans of Italian wine. In addition to being a town, it is also a comune, which basically means that a lot of civil affairs for the region are conducted in the town, such as the signing and storing of birth and death certificates.
Visitors will be delighted to hear that it is only about 19 miles awat from the province of Treviso, where tourists are more likely to stay when they visit. Better yet, it can be fairly easily reached by rail if you do want to visit.
It currently maintains a population of a little over 36,000 people, making it an ideal getaway spot for people who want to get away from all of the hustle and bustle of the cities and enjoy a place that is more down to earth and quiet.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the town is the beautiful 10th century castle that is situated on a hill and looms over the entire area, being visible from practically anywhere in Conegliano. This castle used to belong to the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, back in the era when that position held a lot of power in Italian society. Much of the castle still stands to this day, with the outer walls being mostly in-tact. It also plays host to a stunning bell tower, which also hosts a small museum that can offer you a little more information about the castle and the town in general.
The town also holds regular cultural events, the most famous of which is a special chess game held in June where the pieces are represented by real people. Known as the Dama Castellana, the game is performed by the historical centre every year. Though it is not a continuation of an old tradition, as one might suspect given the rather odd nature of the event, it has still quickly become popular amongst the residents in the years since it was introduced, leading it to becoming an annual tradition that is now observed every single year.
The town has also been the birthplace of a number of recognizable people. For art lovers, the town was the birthplace of Cima da Conegliano, a piece from whom still hangs in the local cathedral. Sport lovers will also recognize the name of Alessandro Del Piero, the famous football player who can also call the town his home.
Of course, when discussing culture we must discuss the wines produced in the town, particularly now that it has been granted the designation of European Wine City of 2016.
The wine industry is perhaps the largest economy in the town. Though it is known for the dry Prosecco that originated in the town and has been given DOCG status, Conegliano is most certainly not a one wine town.
In fact, the area also produces quite a large volume of DOC wines, with Merlot, Carbernet Franc and Marzemino all being used in the creation of a number of wonderful reds that have also been granted DOC status. Perhaps the most remarkable of these wines of the gorgeous sweet red passito that is named Refrontolo. This wine is made using 95% Marzemino and is quickly developing a reputation for its quality.
Furthermore, the town also produces a dry white wine that is made of at least 30% Manzoni Bianco alongside a number of other grapes. Again, it has developed a good reputation of its own but it is overshadowed by the town’s most famous product.
Of course, it is still Prosecco that the region is best known for, and it is this gorgeous wine that has likely played the largest role in the town achieving the distinction that it has received. We wholeheartedly suggest buying a bottle of the wonderful Prosecco that the region is so well-known for producing and indulging with a few of your friends. We promise you won’t be disappointed and you will get to enjoy one of the finest wines in all of Italy.