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Wine Region Overview: Northern Italy

For those of you following along on my WSET wine tour around the world, we recently did a brief stop in Northern Italy for a pop quiz about some of the wines produced. Indeed, that did cover a lot of ground, but not nearly the whole region. So I want to take time to look at Northern Italy in its entirety and explore the different regions and wine styles produced.

[Information based on WSET Level 3 material]


When we look at Northern Italy, we are looking at the area closest to the foothills of the Alps as well as the plains of the River Po. In general, Northern Italy has a moderate climate with dry, short summers. The Alps, which you may be able to tell from the map above, span the length of the Northern Italian border, thus shielding the area from rain. Like the River Po, other bodies of water that provide climatic moderation to the more inland areas include lakes such as Lake Garda. As you can see, there are also portions that are close to the sea—these areas can have higher levels of rainfall, so the major vineyard concern there will be fungal diseases.

Traditionally, vineyards were trained on the pergola system, as this provides air flow as well as keeps the grapevines off of the moist vineyard floor. Furthermore, with the vine canopy drooping over the fruit clusters, the training system also helps minimize excessive sun exposure. This system is still utilized today for grapes that require a high amount of acidity and low sugar (such as for sparkling wine) and for those wines that require grapes to be sun-dried (as in the passito method, which requires grapes to be fully developed and free of fungal disease so they can dry-out off the vine, post-harvest—we covered last time, but will touch on it again here). However, it’s noted that higher density plantings utilizing a VSP training system is now more widely used overall.


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: April 2—April 9

Hey cool kids, I’ll keep this short. Once again I find myself preparing for another long weekend of WSET Diploma Zoom-ing. Not complaining—enjoying myself, learning a lot and tasting some really interesting wines I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to taste. I hope all of you have something fun and relaxing planned as well as some fun in the glass in hand.

There’s a lot of news this week. So while you’re sipping, take your time and scroll through—even the press releases are pretty interesting this week. (Well, I wouldn’t include them if they weren’t…)

Stay well, stay healthy, and drop me a line anytime…cheers!



This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 27—April 2

Happy Easter Weekend for those who celebrate. Hope everyone’s Spring season is off to a great start. This week’s wine-newsy round-up has a plethora of interesting topics. I particularly loved reading about how French wineries are employing refugees to help out during the current labor shortage; the optimism woven through the South African wine industry despite trying times; of course there’s the reality check of the latest news surrounding drought and wildfires in both Australia and California; and for all my WSET study buddies out there, check out this profile piece on Syrah.

Don’t forget to scroll down to read independent insight from the Blogs. I’ll toot my own horn for a second: This week I made my debut on Tim Atkin‘s site speaking about California vintners struggle with and perseverance through climate change. (See Survivor Vines.)

And if you missed my blog post for the week, be sure to find out more about California’s newest AVA.

Thanks as always for hanging out with me.


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: March 20—26

Happy weekending, all. I’ve got your weekly dose of wine-related newsy items ready for you to peruse at your pleasure. Hope everyone is staying well and healthy. I’ve definitely been keeping busy with work-school balance—but all positive things. (How can it not be when it’s wine-work and wine-school?)

Did you miss this week’s posts? Make sure to check out my latest regional deep-dives and tastings: Tasting Rosé from PugliaTasting Wines of Roero—Arneis & NebbioloTasting Modern Day Chardonnay from Three Sonoma County AVAs



Tasting Wines of Roero—Arneis & Nebbiolo

If you’ve read my Northern Italy Overview and, more recently, my Diploma WSET Theory and Tasting—Piemonte, you’ll note that (for good reason) the primary focus is on the regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, Dolcetta d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba, and to a somewhat lesser extent my personal fav—Gavi di Gavi.

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn and taste through the wines of Roero, located on the western side of the Langhe region, just below Asti on the map. The tasting and master class was provided by the The Consorzio di Tutela Roero. Founded in 2013, the Consorzio di Tutela Roero aims to protect and promote Roero Docg Bianco and Rosso through the synergy between vine growers and winemakers in the area. According to the Consorzio, the Roero appellation, a DOCG since 2004, covers a total surface of 1,158 hectares of vineyard, of which 889 are planted with Arneis vines and 269 with Nebbiolo vines. Out of an annual production of about 7 million bottles, just over 60% is exported.

And so was our focus of the tasting—the Arneis and Nebbiolo grapes, which can produce a variety of wine styles dependent on specific terroir.

Nebbiolo di Roero tasting line up