While sipping Prosecco last Friday evening at Ripple in Cleveland Park, Zan beside me with a Rioja, we tangentially fell into a conversation on the origins of Prosecco. Josh, bartender extraordinaire, gave us the basics: Prosecco is an Italian grape.
“Where’s in Italy is it grown?” I asked, surprised to stump the two men.
“Mo,” Zan and Josh solemnly, simultaneously said, as if in reverence. “Mo will know.”
Mo, the sommelier, is a vino viking, a wise wino, a goblet god. Without batting a single eyelash, Mo told us Veneto. Prosecco is grown in Veneto, Italy.
Provoked with imagined vineyards, rolling hills and margherita pizza magically appearing at every turn, I was filled with instant wanderlust for a place unbeknownst to me only seconds before.
Here’s a little of what I’ve learned about Veneto in the days since…
- It’s the most visited region in all of Italy, home to Venice and Verona (home to fictional lovers Romeo and Juliet. Perchance you’ve heard of them?)
- Prosecco is made primarily in the district of Valdobbiadene
- The Prosecco wine route starts from a CASTLE – The Castle of Conegliano
- You can cycle the Prosecco wine route… which is awesome.
From a 2010 Guardian overview of the region and wine:
Italy’s famous sparkling prosecco wine comes from vineyards that cover a picturesque valley, just north of Venice. While Champagne refers to a region, prosecco is the name of the grape that is grown on rolling hills that stretch from the town of Valdobbiadene past Treviso and Conegliano, as far as Vittorio Veneto. A couple of days driving along this ‘strada del vino’ combines wine tastings in village cantinas, staying in charming B&Bs run by winemakers, and the chance to discover the local Veneto cuisine in rural osterie and trattorie.
I’ve fallen in love – with the idea, with the grape (though that’s not new) and with the idea of a vineyard adventure.
I think the reason travel is so special to me, outside of the exclusively positive experiences I’ve had doing it, is that it allows me to dream. It’s teasing-me worthy that I heard the name of a region and romanticized it within seconds, but that’s how I travel, that’s the beauty of travel to me. I discover new places and I try their names on my tongue over and over, and they never lose their newness. I research them until I’ve committed facts and locations to memory. And finally, hopefully, I visit.
I’m oft-criticized for being too easily disappointed when experiences don’t meet my expectations. It’s a flaw of mine, but it has never happened when it comes to travel. A foreign place holds no set expectation in my mind, only endless possibilities.
I told Zan, sitting at Ripple that evening, that it’s decided – someday we’ll be in Veneto, Italy. He nodded okay.