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  • Writer's pictureStefania Gioia

Santa Maria Valverde: a Splash in the Green Vineyards of Valpolicella!

A great wine comes from the perfect combination of three essential elements: climate, terroir and human culture, meant as experience. That’s why not everybody can do it.

Nicola and Ilaria Campagnola, who opened Santa Maria Valverde estate in 2008, know it very well. In fact, rooted in this Valpolicella rural farmhouse, Campagnola’s family has been growing grapes since the end of 1800. When, a century later, Nicola decided to restore the ancient house and the surrounding vineyards, along with the typical dry-stone walls or so-called marogne, was certainly inspired by his ancestors’ cultural heritage.

Yet, before the hand of man, for thousands of years nature has been working (and it currently works!) in order to create the perfect terroir: a fertile soil composed by lavic sediments and irrigated by a principal river (the Adige) and many other minor watercourses - progni, in local dialect. A Southern exposure and the Northern mountains’ barrier gave this area a mild climate and contributed to make Valpolicella verdant hills famous mostly for the production of Amarone.

Nicola’s visionary project is inspired by the French “cru” concept: every single piece of land is highly suited for a specific vine that, in this area (the highest in Valpolicella), can grow on clay lime, effusive tufa, lava or lime soils. Varying with the different plot of land, the final production consists of about 10,000 bottles of Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso and, obviously, Amarone. The latter’s harvesting grape, according to the traditional appassimento method, are laid for 100-120 days in naturally ventilated drying lofts. Exposed to the winds from Adriatic Sea, Santa Maria Valverde’s loft is one of the most ancient in Valpolicella. Their Amarone ages usually 7 years in oak barrels and is then bottled.

Facing a dormant volcano, on top of which stands Santa Maria Valverde sanctuary, the estate benefits from a green, marvellous landscape that can be enjoyed sitting on the beautiful terrace. They call it “panorama therapy”: sometimes having a glass of fine wine surrounded by nature can help more than any medical treatment! During winter time, the cozy tasting room is perfect to try Valverde’s wines, always paired with typical nibbles or even with a light lunch.

The estate, which used to be a resting-spot for knights directed to the north, today is the first bike station in Veneto, allowing bikers to take a break or repair their bicycles with proper tools at their disposal. 7 Fantic bikes can be rented to explore vineyards and sinuose hills all around the winery.

Ilaria and her husband are the greatest hosts, sharing their precious knowledge and generously providing any kind of information, even when it regards their neighbouring competitors. As per direct experience, we are sure that in this green corner of the fantastic wine world you’ll really feel at home and you’ll probably want to visit again.

Have a Glass in Venice is proud to include this amazing stop in its Valpolicella wine region tours.

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