Ultimate Guide to the Trentino-Alto Adige Wine Region

Tirolo Castle, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. See more wine pictures.
Tirolo Castle, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy. See more wine pictures.

­The Trentino-Alto Adige wine regio­n is the northernmost region in Italy's boot; it's at the very top, off to the right. This region is unique because it's comprised of two areas: Trentino and Alto-Adige. From north to south, Alto-Adige is nestled right up on the border of Austria and is known to locals as "Südtirol." Trentino is farther south and maintains more of its Italian culture than its northern counterpart. Residents of Alto-Adige primarily speak German instead of Italian [source: ItalianMade].

Italians are proud of their wine, and they show it through Appellations of Origin. These labels prove that Italian wine has passed a series of tests and regulation standards for growing, harvesting and selling wine. Finding one of these appellations is like finding a giant guarantee stamped on your bottle that the wine came from a specific area and was produced following strict rules. Italy's appellations are:


  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
  • Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita (DOCG)
  • Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) [source: ItalianMade]

­The Trentino-Alto Adige wine region has really quite a remarkable and unique recipe for success in winemaking. Two different geographic areas with primarily different languages­ spoken, mixed with a blend of cultures, are working together to produce incredible wine.

In this article, you'll take a look at the history and culture of the region, as well as its agriculture. Then you'll explore famous wines of the region.

Let's get started by checking out the Trentino-Alto Adige wine region's history and culture.


Trentino-Alto Adige Wine Region Wine History and Culture

The history of most Italian regions follows a distinct pattern. The Trentino-Alto Adige wine region fits into this history in being occupied by Celts, Etruscans and Romans [source: Wine Country]. But the really interesti­ng part is that Alto-Adige was part of Austria until the end of World War I. In 1919, Italian leader Benito Mussolini changed the name from South Tyrol (Austrian) to Alto-Adige. This political change caused the blending of two cultures and is why many people in the region still speak German or are fully bilingual in German and Italian [source: The Rough Guide Italy 6].

In 1950, the wine producers in the region decided it was time to take their winemaking to the next level. They joined together to form a cooperative called CAVIT. The co-op decided to focus on quality wine production and modern marketing techniques [s­ource: CAVIT]. In the 1970s, CAVIT created a large winery in Trentino to further its mission. Today they are known as a "second-tier" co-op, representing some 4,500 wine growers and overseeing almost all of the smaller co-ops in the region [sources: CAVIT, Cannavan].


Because of the German-Italian influence, you can see bits of both histories in the art and cultural activities in the region. There are endless churches to visit along with castles, archeological ruins, museums and vineyards [source: ITALIA]. The region holds annual festivals and parades to celebrate its diverse heritage.

Read on to learn about Trentino-Alto's Adige agriculture.



Trentino-Alto Adige Wine Region Agriculture

It takes more than a hard work and seeds to grow grapevines. It also takes the right climate and soil. The region of Trentino-Alto Adige benefits from having climate extremes. Part of the area is cold and mountainous, while the other part is Mediterranean-like. CAVIT recognizes the differences in the climate as five distinct areas:

  • Valle dei Laghi -- Mediterranean climate
  • Vallagarina -- Sub-continental climate
  • Valle dell'Adige -- Sub-continental climate
  • Campo Rotalino -- Sub-continental climate with soft, sandy soil
  • Valle de Cembra -- Alpine climate [source: CAVIT]

With the help of CAVIT, the Trentino-Alto Adige wine region uses 24,000 acres (9,518 hectares) of land to generate 85,000,000 liters of reds, whites and rosés each year [source: CAVIT]. If that sounds like a lot, it is.


CAVIT also invests time and money in winemaking projects. Currently, II Maso is the number-one project in the region. Its headquarters are nestled in an old Trentino farmhouse. Surrounded by all things wine, workers at II Maso are free to study and experiment in making the finest wines possible [source: CAVIT].

All of the hard work by the people of the region has paid off. The Trentino-Alto Adige wine region and II Maso have produced some of the world's most well respected wines. Read on to learn about the famous labels and best selections.


Famous Wines of the Trentino-Alto Adige Wine Region

Reds have dominated the region for centuries, but the Trentino-Alto Adige wine region produces an abundance of fine reds and whites. Trentino is the largest producer of Chardonnay in the country, and is a top maker of sparkling ­wine. Even though champagne is only produced in Champagne, France, you can still get delicious sparkling wines (as non-Champagne region "champagne" is known) from Trentino-Alto Adige. CAVIT labels run the gamut of wine choices, and each one is sure to produce a beautiful bouquet of aromas and flavors.

Here are some of the labels and wines of note from the Trentino-Alto Adige wine region:


Altemasi (sparkling wines)

  • Altemasi Riserva Graal
  • Altemasi Brut Millesimato
  • Cantus

I Masi Trentini

  • Pinot Nero San Valentino
  • Marzemino Maso Romani
  • Teroldego Rotaliano Maso Cervara
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay
  • Trentino DOC Rosso
  • Arele Vino Santo
  • Moscato Rosa
  • Vendemmia Tardiva

I Millesimati

  • Marzemino d'Isera Vaioni
  • Marzemino dei Ziresi Farfossi
  • Trentino DOC Rosso Quattro Vicariati

Bottega Vinai

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Müller Thurgau
  • Chardonnay
  • Nosiola
  • Sauvignon
  • Schiava Gentile
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Nero
  • Marzemino
  • Teroldego Rotaliano
  • Lagrein Dunkel
  • Merlot

I Mastri Vernacoli

  • Teroldego
  • Marzemino
  • Nosiola
  • Müller Thurgau
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Moscato Liquoroso [source: CAVIT]

The vast assortment of Trentino-Alto Adige wines are sure to include one that pleases you. All you have to do is pop the cork and pour a glass of the region's finest. Cheers!

To learn more, visit the links on the following page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Cannavan, Tom. "CAVIT of Trentino, Italy." Wine-pages.com. 11/2003. (Accessed 02/16/09)http://www.wine-pages.com/features/cavit.htm
  • CAVIT. "Headquarters." (Accessed 02/16/09)http://www.cavit.it/page.php?pageid=PGASZ001
  • CAVIT. "Press Kit January 2008." (Accessed 0217/09)http://www.cavit.it/adv.php?fp=PGASZ007&fn=0000001401
  • ITALIA. "Trentino." (Accessed 02/17/09)http://www.italiantourism.com/trentino.html
  • ItalianMade. "Intro." (Accessed 02/16/09)http://www.italianmade.com/intro/home.cfm
  • ItalianMade. "The Foods of Trentino-Alto Adige." (Accessed 02/17/09)http://www.italianmade.com/regions/foods6.cfm
  • ItalianMade. "Trentino-Alto Adige." (Accessed 02/16/09)http://www.italianmade.com/regions/region6.cfm
  • Martha Stewart. "Removing a Red Wine Stain." Living. 04/2006. (Accessed 02/17/09)http://www.marthastewart.com/article/removing-a-red-wine-stain
  • The Rough Guide Italy 6. "Trentino-Alto Adige." Rough Guides. 2003.
  • Wine Country. "Trentino-Alto Adige." (Accessed 02/16/09)http://www.winecountry.it/regions/trentino/index.html
  • WineNet. "Wine Aroma Wheel." (Accessed 02/17/09)http://www.winenet.com/aromawheel.html