Before the year 2000, very few people in the world were familiar with sparkling wine from the Trentodoc region, because it was primarily sold only in Italy. However, fast-forward to today, and Trentodoc has burst onto the world wine scene – winning the most Italian sparkling wine medals (72) in the 2021 Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. Furthermore, one of their most well-known producers, Ferrari-Trento, has become the official sparkling wine of the Formula One races. Therefore, 23 times a year, in locations around the world, magnums of Ferrari-Trento sparkling wine are opened by the top 3 race car drivers during the podium celebration.
“We are proud to be the official sparkling wine for Formula One,” reports Matteo Lunelli, CEO and President of Ferrari-Trento. “It is an honor to be their partner, and helps to showcase wines from the Trentodoc region. Global wine sales have increased for all producers here. As a region, we sold more than 10 million bottles in 2020.”
About the Trentodoc Wine Region – Ski Resorts and Sparkling Wine
Nestled high in the Italian Alps, Trento DOC has branded itself as ‘sparkling wine from the mountains.’ Indeed, 70% of the vineyards are located at over 1000 meters (3000 feet) in elevation and another 20% at over 2000 meters (6000). They are surrounded by snow-cover peaks half of the year, with 94 peaks that exceed 3,000 metres (9,000 feet). “I can drive from my winery office to the nearest ski resort in 20 minutes,” states Lunelli.
Due to the colder location, Trentodoc is ideally situated to produce sparkling wine from chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot blanc, and meurnier grapes, which prefer cooler climates. All grapes are hand-picked, and wines are made in the Méthode Champenoise of second fermentation in bottle. It Italy this method is called metodo classico. Regulations require that Brut wines be aged at least 15 months and Riserva wines for 36 months on the lees in bottle before release. However, some producers will age their wine for up to 10 years to benefit the final product.
There are currently 61 Trentodoc sparkling producers. Many wineries are small with limited production, but the three largest producers are Ferrari-Trento, Cavit and Mezzacorona.
Trentodoc Sparkling Wine Increasing Global Exports
“We are working together to promote the region,” says Lunelli, “and have increased exports by 10% in the past few years. We have a goal to continue to increase exports by 10 to 20% every year.”
Part of the reason that Trentodoc producers hadn’t focused much on the export market is because they can easily sell most of their wine in Italy. Also with an annual production rate of around 12 million bottles per year, they have much smaller production that Champagne at around 300 million and Prosecco at over 500 million bottles annually. “We are a niche market,” says Lunelli.
Enroci Zanoni, CEO of Cavit, and best known for their sparkling Altemasi Graal Riserva, also commented on Trentodoc export strategy. “We always aim to raise brand awareness and reputation, both in Italy and in the main countries of export,” he states, “by primarily pursuing a rigorous and continuous search for qualitative excellence. In the coming years, our communication activities will not only include targeting professionals in the industry but also increasingly focus on end consumers, especially via social media.”
How Trentodoc Differentiates Itself from Champagne and Franciacorta
Part of a successful export strategy depends on differentiation in the market and against key competitors, such as Champagne and Franciacorta – another Italian high-end sparkling wine, but located at lower elevations in the Lombardy hills. Wine expert, Gabriele Gorelli, Italy’s first Master of Wine (MW), explains that a key differentiator is the climate and taste of sparkling Trentodoc. “Trentodoc vineyards are located at very high elevations, compared to the other regions,” he says. “This high elevation is responsible for the very high acidity in Trentodoc. The wines have a very crisp acidity, minerality, and finesse.”
Lunelli expands on this: “I believe the major difference is that Trentodoc is fresh and fruity; Franciacorta has an elegant softness; whereas Champagne has a unique chalky note with a touch of salinity. All regions make beautiful wines, and indeed, the beauty of sparkling wine is the diversity that is found worldwide.”
New No-Dosage Category Developed for Trentodoc Sparkling Wine
In another attempt to differentiate the region, some Trentodoc wine producers are now producing sparkling wines with no added dosage. Also referred to as Pas Dosé, this creates a wine which is much drier than the Brut category (usually between 7 – 12 gpl sugar). “These wines can be razor-sharp, “explains Gorelli, “and are appealing to a niche group of consumers.”
Some of the newest Trentodoc producers of this ‘niche within a niche’ category are: Trentodoc Altemasi Pas Dosé, Trentodoc Revì Dosaggio Zero Millesimato, Trentodoc Moser Brut Nature, Trentodoc Maso Martis Dosaggio Zero Riserva Bio, Trentodoc Ferrari Perlé Zero, and Trentodoc Cesarini Sforza 1673 Noir Nature. These unique wines range from €15 to €50 in price point.