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Valpolicella Wine Region

One of the most prestigious Italian winemaking areas in the Veneto region, the Valpolicella wine appellation is home to numerous unique wines. Valpolicella is the world-famous wine district in northeastern Italy. It is especially known for its wines of exceptional quality, which are more typically red in color. We Highly recommend you visit the Valpolicella wine region and explore region’s unique wine style.

Discover wine tastings and tours in Valpolicella to taste these brilliant wines.

Where is Valpolicella?

This exquisite wine appellation is located northwest of the old Roman town of Verona, in the region of Veneto. The appellation has grown far beyond the original area and now extends east to Soave and west to Bardolino (next to Lake Garda). It is seated in the foothills of the Alps, which provide its northern border.

Valpolicella is an attractive wine region whose name comes from “Val polis cellae” and means “valley of many cellars”. Indeed, the appellation is full of stunning terraced vineyards and pretty villages.

Valpolicella Map Veneto

History of Valpolicella Wine Appellation

Although the name Valpolicella is not found until the 12th century, the history of winemaking starts way back in the time of the ancient Greeks. Viticulture has evolved in this region over time, but the old tradition of using partially dried grapes still exists. Interestingly, this method was introduced by the ancient Greeks, and it is called the ‘Ripasso’.

Numerous stories reached us from Roman poets and historians like Cornelius, Columella, and Pliny, explaining how unique the Rhaetian wine (Vino Retico) was.  It was the sweet wine produced in the hills around Verona. Over the centuries, Valpolicella has gradually become more defined through the selection of grapes that managed to resist invasions and diseases.

vineyards of Valpolicella

In the 8th century, the Republic of Venice became an important port in the Mediterranean, and Valpolicella’s local wines were exported to different parts of the world.

The period of the Ottoman empire was a setback to the wine region, as the Mediterranean ports were blocked in the 15th and 16th centuries. However, winemakers maintained their traditions and domestic wine production.

Later in the 1950s, the Amarone wine style was rediscovered in the Valpolicella wine region, and it finally gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, wine producing in this appellation is divided into seven communes - Pescantina, Negrar, San Pietro in Cariano, Fumane, Marano di Valpolicella, Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella and Sant’Anna d’Alfaedo.

Terroir of Valpolicella

The Valpolicella viticultural area spans a considerable chunk of western Veneto, stretching north into the hills above Verona for approximately ten miles, and linking Soave with Bardolino. The finest terroir is to be found around the villages of Fumane, Marano, and Negrar. 

The hills here rise more than 600 meters into the fresh sub-alpine air, creating a patchwork of aspects facing in every direction and making the most of the northern Italian sunshine. A variety of terroirs and meager soils have been left by ancient volcanic activity: a mix of volcanic tufa, calcareous clays, and, in the east, alluvial material has given Valpolicella the possibility to nurture countless varieties.

With its unique geographical location, Valpolicella has a wide diversity of wine-growing terroirs. These range from relatively high-altitude terraces and hilltops to low-lying flat plains. The calcareous, limestone-rich clayey soil in the foothills of the Alps provides the perfect conditions for wine growing. Together with the cool continental climate and wine-friendly soil, the appellation is one of Italy's strongest viticultural centers.

Where to Taste Valpolicella Wines


Check out the full list of wineries in Valpolicella with an open cellar door and great wine experiences.

Valpolicella Grape varieties 

Valpolicella wine is made from a blend of typical local grape varieties, of which the protagonist is Corvina, present in dominant quantities: from 45% to 95%. However, other grape varieties are also used to give flavors to original Valpolicella wine. The main grape varieties used to make Valpolicella are Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara.


Corvina is the most traditional red grape variety, that remains the grape of choice for higher-quality Valpolicella. This grape has a thick skin that gives the wine high tannin levels and lightness. Mostly the wines from this grape are bright red with sour cherry flavors. This grape is often blended with other grape varieties like Rondinella because of its high acidity.


Corvinone has similar characteristics to Corvina, but it was recognized as an independent variety in 1993 instead of a clone of Corvina. It is widely grown in the Veneto region of northeast Italy and hardly ever appears in Veronese wine blends without its parent grape. Sometimes, Corvinone can be used in its place up to a percentage of 50%. However, it is mostly used in sweeter wines like Recioto.


Rondinella became popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of its generous yields, flavor, and acidic style. It is a red wine grape grown on the outskirts of the Veneto region. This indigenous grape adds herbal flavors to the wine and can be present from 5% up to 30% in the blend.


Molinara is another red grape that is used to add acidity in Valpolicella wines, as well as Bardolino and IGT Veneto wines. This grape is not famous for its flavor because it is prone to rapid oxidation. However, it has a uniquely fresh acidity that plays a vital role in the winemaking process. 

Food to Pair with Valpolicella Wine

1. Carpaccio

Carpaccio is a famous Italian dish, which is made of very thin slices of raw fish or meat. It is an appetizer served with olive oil, cheese shavings, and lemon. The dish was created in 1950 by a Venetian restaurateur named Giuseppe Cipriani.

Cipriani dressed slices of raw beef with lemon juice, olive oil, and white truffle. An impassioned art lover, Cipriani named the new dish carpaccio in honor of painter Vittore Carpaccio, whose style and bold colors were reminiscent of the intense red color of raw meat.

Nowadays, we see numerous varieties of carpaccio made with zucchini, beet, figs, salmon, and lamb, and it is said that any kind of carpaccio is best paired with a glass of Valpolicella wine.

meat carpaccio

2. Pizza Capricciosa

Italian pizza is famous all over the world and Capricciosa is one of the most popular among them. This dish is made with tomatoes, mozzarella, artichokes, mushrooms, olives, ham, and hard-boiled eggs. However, the ingredients can vary depending on the region of Italy.  For example, in central and northern Italy, they use sausages, capers, and sometimes anchovies.

Capricciosa is one of Italy's pizza varieties of the 1980s, and it goes well with Valpolicella wine.

3. Mrouzia

Morouzia is a Moroccan dish that is sweet and savory at the same time. It is made with a tagine with lamb, honey, almonds, raisins, and ras el hanout spices. Morouzia is mostly served on festivities, holidays, and special occasions.

The dish is a soup with meat, so it's always better to eat it while hot. It is recommended to garnish the dish with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and drink one glass of Valpolicella white wine.

Top 3 sights you shouldn’t miss in Valpolicella

1.San Giorgio church and village

San Giorgio is a tiny village situated on the top of the hill from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of Valpolicella and Lake Garda. This place has been inhabited since the Bronze age and has a huge history.

The Romans arrived at San Giorgio in the 1st century B.C. and built their temple. Later, around the 7th century, Christians built a Romanesque church on that site. The remains of all these ancient civilizations make San Giorgio a unique place to visit in Valpolicella.

2. Illasi Castle

Illasi castle has a medieval origin and was built in a strategic position to control the whole valley. Also, it was a great place to observe the traffic of goods. It is said that the castle belonged to the Montecchi family, which was mentioned in Romeo and Juliet.

Illasi castle was built in the 12th century and is the dominant architectural site in the village. The structure, composed of a fortified palace and a single tower is unique in Europe. Nowadays, it is partially ruined, and you can visit only to admire its beauty up to close.

3. Santa Maria in Stelle Hypogeum

Publio Pomponio Corneliano with his family built the hypogeum of Santa Maria in the early third century A.D. This place was used as a Roman sanctuary to water nymphs, but it has served a variety of purposes over the centuries. For example, early Christians used the devotional space to study the catechism. 

Nowadays, the church can still be visited. It is built on the mysterious underground room that was probably a temple dedicated to the nymphs in the center of the Valpantena. Once you visit the place, you can travel back in time and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions about Valpolicella

What wine region is Valpolicella?

Valpolicella wine appellation is part of Italy's Veneto wine region. Veneto is a large region in the northeast of Italy, famous for Valpolicella, Prosecco, and Soave wines.

Is Valpolicella a wine region?

Valpolicella is a viticultural zone of the province of Verona, Italy. It is a wine appellation, which belongs to the Veneto wine region.

Who makes Valpolicella wine?

Valpolicella wine is made in Italy from the native grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone, and Molinara. Some of the best wineries that produce Valpolicella wine are: Azienda Agricola Mizzon, Cantina Spada, and Brigaldara.

In what region of Italy is Amarone made?

Amarone Della Valpolicella is a wine made with partially dried grapes in Valpolicella, Veneto, northeast Italy. So, the Veneto wine region is the place where Amarone is produced.

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Just getting started on your wine journey, or jumping back in?
Taste through a selection of a great local wines.

Wineries in Valpolicella