Veneto has in recent time sadly become synonymous with the mass production of sparkling wine, light whites and thin reds: but this is far from the truth. Whilst Soave is the regions best white ambassador, Pinot Grigio steals most of the limelight, with reds made of Refosco, Corvina and Schiopettino perhaps not getting the praise they deserve. As the vineyards head away from Venice and up to the hills freshness, lower alcohol and delicate flavours are in abundance but a mix of the careful use of oak, recioto techniques (drying grapes) and seldom seem grapes are providing bolder, richer more powerful wines. Indigenous wines rule supreme here with c.18% of Italy’s DOC production, but with plenty of bottles at the other end too.
The De Stefani family began producing wine at the Colvendrame estate, between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Generations later, in the 1960's, they bought vines in the Piave Valley (Pra' Longo estate) and in Fossalta di Piave (Le Ronche estate) where they set up a new base and winery. Both enjoy exceptional micro-climates, due to the nearby Adriatic, the Dolomites Alps and the surrounding hills as well as a very particular “caranto” soil: a mix of Alpine white clay and minerals. Today Alessandro De Stefani produces organic wines under a very natural philosophy from old, high density, low yield vineyards. He pays homage to native varieties (like Marzemino and Raboso) and has an annual production of just 300.000 bottles from over 100 acres of vineyard. The winery only uses solar power and is 100% carbon neutral.