Veneto is a region in the north of Italy, capital city Venice, where excellent red table wines abound, typically blended from the local varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara. Names like Bardolino and Valpolicella refer to the communes in the neighborhood of Lake Garda where the wines are produced.
The region is substantially protected from the harsh northern European weather by the Alps, whose foothills form Veneto's northern border. These cooler microclimates are well-suited to white varieties like Garganega, the main grape grown for Soave, while the warmer Adriatic coastal plains and river valleys produce the renowned Valpolicella, Amarone and Bardolino DOC reds.
One specialty of this region is a heady wine known as Amarone. These are made from the same grapes as Valpolicella, dried in the sun on racks to where they become raisins. Fnished dry, the wines possess great depth and presence on the palate. There is a related specialty, Recioto Amabile della Valpolicella, where the wine is finished with residual sugar, and another, sort of a halfway step between Valpolicella and Amarone known as Ripasso, where the Valpolicella is ennobled to a certain degree by means of being run through the lees of the Amarone pressing.
Veneto's growers are among the most modern in Italy. While most of the 'classic' wines from this area are based on native grape varieties like Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) and Verduzzo, high demand for Veneto wines in the European and US markets has tempted the region's producers into experimentation with Cabernets, Chardonnay and Pinot varieties, among others. One of Italy's leading wine schools, Conegliano, is based here and the nation's most important wine fair, Vinitaly, is held each spring in Verona.
Veneto is the 8th largest region of Italy in land mass, and a population of 4,371,000 ranks it 6th in that regard. It has over 90,000 hectares of vineyards, of which 35,400 being acclaimed DOC. Annual production totals 8,500,000 hectolitres, 1,700,000 or 21% of which is DOC, making it the biggest DOC producer in Italy. White wine accounts for 55% of the DOC production in Veneto.