The Asolo Prosecco vineyards are entirely in the province of Treviso, at the foot of Monte Grappa, on the hills west of the Piave, close to the Dolomites. The hill of Montello is in the east, and Monfumo to the north.of the town.. Here, during the Renaissance, Venetian nobles built their summer palaces, started farming the land and created vineyards.
There are approximately 2,000 hectares of vineyards designated for Asolo Prosecco DOCG. The production is some 25 million bottles or so - a figure that has almost doubled in the last four years. Back in 2013, sales were less than 2 million bottles! The rise of Prosecco in general, and Asolo in particular is perhaps the greatest success story in the entire 8,000 years of the history of wine! However, Asolo still accounts for less than 5% of all Prosecco production.
The vineyards are situated in the hills and foothills. The beauty of these steep slopes is beyond compare. To my mind the most stunning vineyards in the world are in Constantia and Stellenbosch in South Africa, Germany's Mosel Valley, and the Prosecco vineyards of Valdobbiadene/Cartizze and Asolo. Sorry France!
The well-drained soils are perfect for ripening the Glera variety. The vines send their roots deep, picking up minerals; I'm not going to delve into the minerality controversy in this article! However, on these hills the land inclination means that the many vineyard tasks must be done by hand. Labour costs are up to 10 times as much as on the flat land. Harvesting is always manual.
The land was formed with the debris from melting glaciers, and large boulders abound. One key difference between Asolo and the vineyards across the river is the soils: here they are morainic whilst in Conegliano Valdobbiadene the pebbles and rocks have been largely broken down into sand. To me there can be no doubt that these particular soils help create the distinctive Asolo Prosecco style: racy, salty, and savory. However, the impact of soils upon the wine in the glass remains a hugely controversial topic - for an opposing view see the book by Mark Matthews: Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing.
Vines on the hillsides are at a density of 3,000 - 3,500 vines per hectare, and generally the Cappuccina (double-arch) cane training system is used. On the lower slopes and the plains, the Sylvoz system may be utilised. This comprises a high cordon attached to a wire, with several canes flowing from this, which are tied to the bottom wire. The helps counter the higher vine vigour due to the more fertile soils. Vine density here is normally 2,200 - 2,800 vines per hectare, and more mechanisation is possible. The guyot training system is also used in some vineyards.