A taste of terroir: Veneto

Pozzolana and sunken cities


Protected by the Dolomites and cooled by breezes from the Adriatic Sea, Veneto is a charmed location to produce wine in. Famous for its still and sparkling white wines as well as its deep, characterful reds full of fruit and whip-smart acidity, it’s the terroir of Veneto that turns neutral grapes like Glera, Pinot Grigio and Garganega into the delicate, delightful, mineral-rich wines they were born to be.

In the hills of Veneto, the soil is a consolidation of limestone, clay, and a reddish, volcanic soil known locally as pozzolana, made from volcanic ash, pumice, and volcanic glass. This combination creates a perfect substrate for grape vines—perfect drainage from the pozzolana, water deposits held deep in the mineral-rich limestone rock, and moisture held throughout the hot summer months by the clay. It’s as though the region underwent millennia of eruptions, glacial movements, and tectonic shuffles especially to create a perfect winemaking region. 

The mineral content of pozzolana and limestone is what local winemakers attribute the intense minerality of their wines to, especially in the hillier regions of Valpolicella and Soave. Here, vineyards are placed where the sun can reach them for the majority of the day, and any winter mists blowing in from the sea won’t reach them. In regions closer to the coast, such as the outer reaches of Prosecco, the land is flatter and more fertile, enabling winemakers to grow heavier crops of less complex-tasting grapes—ideal for making Prosecco and light, drinkable white wines where neutrality and freshness is the goal, rather than impact and intensity.

In the watery city of Venice, the soil is understandably caked in salt, giving its wines a refreshing, moreish salinity. Vineyards in Venice have grown their golden Dorono grapes on islands in the lagoon for 900 years, taking full advantage of the flavourful mineral clays and year-round moisture retained in the soil.

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