Italy “world’s best wine country” according to recent survey

Above: The hills of Valdobbiadene where Prosecco is produced.

According to the results of a consumer survey published by the popular wine trade magazine Drinks Business this week, Italy is the “best wine country” in the world.

“Italy has been ranked as the best country in the world for wine lovers,” report the editors, “beating France and Spain.”

“Italy emerged victorious due to the abundance of wine tasting experiences on offer throughout its 21 wine regions running from the top to the bottom of its boot.”

Italy prevailed over other countries “due to its higher number of consumer wine experiences and having a larger number of wineries open to the public.”

Click here to read the entire results of the survey.


Villa Sandi takes GOLD at world’s most prestigious sparkling wine competition

With Tom Stevenson — the world’s greatest expert on sparkling wine — as the chair of its judges panel (see note below), The Sparkling Wine and Champagne World Championships is widely considered to be the category’s most prestigious competition.

We couldn’t have been more pleased to learn that the Villa Sandi Prosecco Cartizze La Rivetta received one of the tasting’s top prizes:

Villa Sandi 2018 di Cartizze La Rivetta
Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG, Veneto, Italy (75cl, 11.5 %)

Click here for the complete results.

From The Sparkling Wine and Champagne World Championships website:

Tom became the first wine journalist to specialise in Champagne when, after six years of research, he published Champagne (Sotheby’s Publications, 1986). His Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne & Sparkling Wine (Absolute Press, 1998) reproduced a 17th-century document proving that the English invented sparkling Champagne six years before Dom Pérignon set foot in Hautvillers. This historical revelation ensured the encyclopedia itself made history by becoming the only wine book to warrant a leader in any UK national newspaper (The Guardian, 14 October 1998). Tom has a regular Champagne column in The World of Fine Wine, and has judged at wine competitions in Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, South Africa and the USA. In the UK, he held the chair of the Champagne panel for the Decanter World Wine Awards from its inception until 2012.


Wine Spectator interviews Villa Sandi owner

Earlier this week, Wine Spectator senior editor Alison Napjus reached out to Villa Sandi owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato (above) for his reaction to the news that the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene had been officially named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (announced over the weekend).

Here’s what he told her:

    “It’s a great recognition for the territory,” Giancarlo Moretti Polegato, owner of Valdobbiadene’s Villa Sandi, told Wine Spectator. “We have grown and lived in a breathtaking scenery made of vineyards—embroidered hills [with] neat rows of vines up and down steep slopes—aware of the extraordinary beauty of this area …. The UNESCO status will be a great opportunity to further strengthen the identity between this unique area and the wine produced within it.”

Click here for the complete article.


Prosecco DOCG named UNESCO World Heritage Site

Above: A photograph taken in the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene during the 2018 harvest (via the Villa Sandi Facebook).

In a tweet posted early Sunday morning (EST), UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene have been officially “inscribed on” the World Heritage list, a coveted designation that adds the Prosecco DOCG appellation to an exclusive club of sites recognized for their cultural uniqueness, beauty, and significance.

The following statement appeared yesterday on the UNESCO website:

    Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene (Italy) — Located in north-eastern Italy, the site includes part of the vinegrowing landscape of the Prosecco wine production area. The landscape is characterized by “hogback” hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland. For centuries, this rugged terrain has been shaped and adapted by man. Since the 17th century, the use of ciglioni has created a particular chequerboard landscape consisting of rows of vines parallel and vertical to the slopes. In the 19th century, the bellussera technique of training the vines contributed to the aesthetic characteristics of the landscape.

With 55 sites included in the list as of 2019, Italy has more designations than any other country in the world (see the complete list on the Italian Wikipedia here). Other sites include the archeological excavation at Pompei in Campania and the viticultural landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato in Piedmont.

The hills of Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene were considered but not included in the list during last year’s meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Committee. They are now the eighth site to receive the designation in Italy’s Veneto region.


Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all of our friends in the U.S.A.!

We’ll see you next week.

Have a great holiday weekend!

How did Prosecco become the (un)official wine of Venice?

If you’ve ever visited Venice, you already know that the Venetians love to drink Prosecco. (And if you’re headed there this summer, you’ll soon find out!)

A lot of our friends in America have asked us: Why is is that Prosecco is so popular in Venice?

There are a number of reason for that — some historical, some gastronomic, and some cultural.

Historically, it was only natural that Prosecco would become popular in Venice because of geography. Venice lies literally downstream from the land of Prosecco. The Piave River, which starts up in the Carnic Alps (to the east of the Dolomitic Alps) and reaches the Adriatic sea just northeast of Venice, runs through the heart of Prosecco country. Indeed, the town where the Villa Sandi winery is located, lies along the Piave and the estate uses hydroelectric power generated by the moving water to power the winery. The river was an ideal means of transport and made it easy to get the wines to the bustling city of Venice.

Gastronomically, Prosecco became popular in Venice because the Venetians — a seafaring people — love and consume a lot of seafood. Glera, the primary grape used to make Prosecco, has a gentle mineral note to it. That savory character, combined with Prosecco’s natural fruit flavors and freshness, makes it an ideal pairing for salty seafood. Just try eating some fried seafood or marinated seafood salad paired with a glass of Prosecco: It’s like sprinkling sweet lemon juice on the food!

Culturally, Venice has always been renowned as a “party city.” Even as long ago as the Renaissance, people flocked to Venice for vacation and for fun. It was only natural that the Venetians would adopt a sparkling wine as their (un)official beverage of choice. Many don’t realize that Venice is where the original Mardi Gras (as we know it in America) was held. In Venice it’s known as Carnevale and it wouldn’t be complete without bubbly Prosecco!


Villa Sandi in Miami at Zucca, one of the city’s hottest restaurants and home to one of its best wine lists

Above: Fiori di Zucca at Zucca in Miami. Can you think of a better pairing for Villa Sandi Prosecco Vigna La Rivetta?

Zucca brings not only these luscious squash blossoms,” wrote the food critic for the Miami Herald Victoria Pesce Elliott when the restaurant opened in 2017, “but also an unadulterated Italian experience with regional specialties from Sicily to Liguria.”

“Of course I had to try the namesake blossoms,” she added, “which also include thumb-sized baby zucchini attached. My favorite version is stuffed with mozzarella and a subtle, salty bite of anchovies as crisp and light as Japanese tempura. Exquisite.”

The wine program at Zucca was a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2018 and we couldn’t be more proud to be part of their program.

162 Alcazar Ave.
Coral Gables FL 33134
(786) 580-3731
Google map

Image via the Zucca Facebook.

Borgo Conventi, Villa Sandi’s new Friulian estate, to be imported to the U.S. by Folio

Above: Villa Sandi founder and owner Giancarlo Moretti Polegato poses in front of the gates of the Borgo Conventi winery in Friuli — the Moretti Polegato family’s newest property and project.

The Moretti Polegato family “has acquired the Borgo Conventi winery in the Collio area,” write the editors of Wine and Spirits Daily, one of the wine industry’s most popular trade blogs:

    As a result, the portfolio will be imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners, effective June 1. The purchase includes the winery and 30 hectares of vineyard. The estate will remain under independent management for grape growing and winemaking. “Borgo Conventi is a welcome addition to our portfolio and continues our 12-year relationship with the Moretti Polegato family and our ethos to work with families we like and respect. Together with Villa Sandi, these are wines that we are proud to represent and look forward to sharing with our family, friends and trade customers,” says Folio founder Michael Mondavi. The US portfolio will include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Friulano under the Linea Collio range and retail at about $19 each.

Villa Sandi at Olive & June, one of Austin’s top Italian restaurants

Above: Housemade pastas at Olive & June, one of the top Italian restaurants in Austin where the food scene has been booming in recent years.

Since its opening in 2012, not only has Olive & June stood out from the crowded field of new Italian restaurants in Austin, Texas, but it has also set a new benchmark for Italian wine in the state’s capital: Its all-Italian wine list offers what is by far the city’s largest and most comprehensive selection of wines from Italy (see the wine list here, updated this week).

Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, rivaled only by Houston. And it’s also one of the country’s hottest restaurant markets. It seems that a new Italian restaurant opens there nearly every week.

Even with so many new Italian dining destinations popping up across the city, Olive & June remains a local favorite in a city with some of the best food in America. And the owners have never strayed from their devotion to an all-Italian wine program.

We couldn’t be more proud that Villa Sandi is poured there by-the-glass.

Thank you Olive & June for making us part of your thoughtful, soulful wine list. Evviva il vino italiano!

Image via the Olive & June Facebook.

Cartizze and Villa Sandi’s Vigna La Rivetta seen from the air

Every year at Vinitaly, the Italian wine world’s annual trade fair in Verona, Villa Sandi organizes helicopter tours of Valdobbiadene and Cartizze via the estate’s dedicated helicopter.

Select guests (mostly clients and top wine writers) are invited to board the helicopter just outside the fair grounds at Vinitaly’s official heliport. They then fly roughly 10 minutes from Verona to Valdobbiadene where they are given an airborne view of Prosecco’s most famous and most coveted subzone (Cartizze).

You can see Villa Sandi’s rows marked by a red carpet outside the estate’s hospitality center there — a small farm house where the winery hosts tastings and intimate events.

As you can see from the photos above and below, not only is the winery’s Vigna La Rivetta located in the heart of Cartizze. But it is also surrounded by woods, one of the elements that helps to create biodiversity there.

Click here to see Vigna La Rivetta on Google maps, including a satellite view and other photos from the ground.

Next year, if you’d like to join one of the tours, please let us know! It’s an experience you’ll never forget and it’s the best way to understand the unique topography of Cartizze.

Villa Sandi featured in Decanter

Above: The 17th-century Villa Sandi, an architectural icon and symbol of the Villa Sandi winery.

In case you missed it, earlier this month the editors of Decanter magazine featured Villa Sandi (April 2019 issue).

“Located in the heart of Prosecco DOCG country, Villa Sandi is a family-owned and operated winery, and producer of some of Italy’s most critically acclaimed sparkling wines,” write the editors in “Stewards of the land: Villa Sandi Premium Prosecco.”

“Blending the latest research and advanced technology with respect for the terroir and deep love for the region, he has made Villa Sandi a landmark producer through unwavering commitments to quality and the environment and by having an international outlook.”

Click here to read the complete story.

Happy Easter!

From all the families at the Villa Sandi winery and estate, we wish you and yours a very happy Easter holiday!

See you back here on the blog next week…