Sparkling wine production in the Trentino mountains began in the early twentieth century with the objective of competing with the well-known Champagnes that dominated the international market at the time.
The vision came from Giulio Ferrari, the inventor of the eponymous brand that brings up the name of Italian sparkling wines. His studies at the prestigious Agricultural Institute of San Michele all’Adige were intermingled with repeated visits to the celebrated French sparkling wine region, from whence he returned to Italy and opted to cultivate the principal grapes appropriate for duplicating a comparable product on his own territory.
The location is ideal for sparkling wine for two reasons: the altitude, which helps the grapes to retain acidity, and the temperature range in the period preceding harvest, which allows for optimum aromatic development.
This mountain wine, with vineyards that reach 1000 meters above sea level, was formed as a result of these two variables and all of the other features of the Trentino terroir. The removal of the vineyard height borders—at first an inadvertent but prudent choice—will be helpful as climate change intensifies in the coming years.
The choice to create the first Italian denomination wholly committed to a traditional method was also pioneering at the time, as was the importation of sparkling wine techniques from Champagne.Trento and Trentino DOCs split in 1993, with the Trentino DOC existing but solely administering the protection of the Trentino still wine business.
The vineyards that may yield Trento DOC are Chardonnay with its elegance, Pinot Blanc with its body, Pinot Noir with its longevity, and Pinot Meunier. The introduction of the rosé variety, starting in 2019, was made feasible by the inclusion of red varieties in the standard.
A Trento DOC sparkling wine must mature on the lees for at least 15 months, which increases to 24 months to indicate the year of production and 36 months to be referred to as a “reserve”.
The concept upon which the Trentino traditional manner of production was built is being carried on by the 64 enterprises that make up the Trento DOC Institute. By ensuring that manufacturers follow the production methods, the institution defends the brand and ensures the quality of the products.
The dedication of these realities has resulted in the Trento DOC brand expanding to the point where its most representative company, Ferrari, was chosen in 2021 as the official toast of the Formula1 podium for the next three years, giving the denomination’s brand an international resonance in addition to the corporate one. This and other accolades show that the objective of competing on an equal basis with French bubbles has been accomplished, but we are only getting started, and the glorious history of the Trento DOC has yet to be written.