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70 years ago – nearly a lifetime – my grandfather Alfonso started toiling in the fields not far from Verona and worked to set up a small artisanal winery. Since then the same winery has been producing excellent Valpolicella wine.

Year after year, come rain or shine, my grandfather worked very hard with passion and the strength of his callous hands, poor agricultural tools and limited technology in order to get from the vines in his land the best quality he could.

He could endure the harshness of that kind of life because he had a dream: to have a great winery of his own and to establish his family as one of the most important wine producers in Valpolicella.

Unfortunately, his dream shattered because of the more and more impoverished conditions of farmers and, like many other people of that time, he was forced to emigrate to Germany and look for a job in order to maintain his family. But in that foreign country he found his death.

Valpolicella is a geographical area not far from the city of Verona, one of the 53 Italian sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This city is famous all over the world for its Arena, a Roman amphitheater where operas are still performed, and as the setting for Shakespeare’s tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

The wine-producing area of Valpolicella encompasses seven municipalities. The “Classical” wine region comprehends five valleys stretching North to South and enjoying a perfect solar exposure and an excellent ventilation.

This region, originally covered by the sea, was geologically formed by the mineral sea deposits and by the action of volcanoes.

The historical wine zone, defined as “Classico”, includes a diverse range of soils - stratified calcareous rock, basaltic volcanic rocks, muddy clay, calcareous soils – thus giving the wine remarkable different characteristics.

Valpolicella offers a play of vineyards, cypresses, olives, cherry trees, traditional dry-stone walls (“marogne” in local dialect) and a net of gurgling small streams (“progni”).

The vine training system used is the traditional trellis (“Pergola”), with a plant density of approximately 3000 vines per hectare (1214 vines/acre). The subsoil encourages a marked concentration of sugar in the grapes while maintaining a good degree of acidity.

Corvina and Rondinella are two grape varieties commonly blended together in Valpolicella wines. Corvina (and Corvinone) usually plays the main role, with Rondinella as backup, creating a typically light-colored, medium-bodied wine with noticeable astringency on the palate.

The traditional  Valpolicella Blend consists of three grape varieties: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. The first two are usually used in the highest proportion, as Molinara tends to be fairly nondescript and is prone to oxidization. Corvina, when used as the main variety, gives its famous sour-cherry character, as well as body and structure. Rondinella – a variety that became popular in the 1960s for its high yields – is best employed in smaller amounts for the fresh, herbal notes it imparts on Valpolicella wines.

The area produces four wine styles: Amarone, Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso and Recioto. Although made with the same grapes (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara), their winemaking techniques are different. Valpolicella Classico is a fresh, spontaneous and enjoyable wine; the soft Ripasso (‘re-passed’ over Amarone pomace) is smooth; and the two passiti brothers, Amarone and sweet Recioto dessert wine, are made from dried grapes.

Amarone has stolen the international limelight with its splendid concentration, structure, elegance and unique complexities. Power unites with a delightful softness, giving a durable sumptuous quality. It is obtained by the intact, perfectly ripe grapes, hand-picked and cautiously laid in wooden or plastic crates. These are stacked into grape-drying buildings with strictly controlled temperature, perfect air circulation and suitable to grant an ideal preservation of the bunches.

By the “Appassimento” process, the grapes stay in the grape-drying buildings for about 100 days until they lose at least half of their weight and reach a concentration of sugars equal to 25-30%. When the drying process is over, the grapes are crushed and, after alcoholic fermentation, the wine requires a long ageing both in barrels and in bottles.

Today, after 70 years, I have the chance to make my grandfather Alfonso’s dream come true. The role of ORIONE WINE International Brand is to represent the excellence of Valpolicella wine in the world. We only trade wine produced by a winery included in the “WINE BOARD” of Valpolicella whose activities aim at promoting our land and its fruits and, in addition, safeguarding the traditional methods in vine cultivation and wine production.

The mission of ORIONE WINE is to connect YOU with the soil, the sun, the scent, the light, the breeze of our land, all condensed in one of the best gifts of Nature, grapes, distilled in a magic drink, wine, by a balance between the old traditional human skill and the new technological knowledge.

Grandfather Alfonso would be surprised to see how precious and at what standard of quality Valpolicella wine has reached today and he would also be very proud to see his grandson as ambassador of one of the best Italian wines.

ORIONE WINE is a dream come true.

 

 

 

 

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Home cellar:
Via Casa Zamboni, 10/A  
37024 Negrar - Verona - Italia
telephone +39 3665614496
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