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The wine of the Valtellina: The Nebbiolo of the Alps
Sassella, Grumello, Inferno, and Sforzato, to name a few, are only some of Valtellina wines that are born from the marriage between the mountain viticulture and the noble Nebbiolo grape. The Nebbiolo grape is locally called Chiavennasca, and is considered to be indigenous.There are many wine cellars and wineries in the province of Sondrio, many offering tours and wine tastings, and which are represented by the Consortium for the Protection of the Wines of Valtellina. This consortium the only one in Italy that can boast two DOCG wine regions: Valtellina Superiore (Upper) and Sforzato di Valtellina (Sfursat). There are two other Valtellina wine regions names; Red Valtellina (DOC) and Retiche di Sondrio (IGT).
The vineyards: An agrarian and historic heritage
The Rhaetian side of the Valtellina is characterized not only by its famous terraced vineyards,but also by the presence of historical buildings, both civil and religious, of considerable artistic interest. The Valtellina vineyards have a southern exposure and were built by terracing the rocky side of the mountain with dry-stacked stone walls (without mortar); it is the presence of these rock walls, which create the small terraces where the vines grow, that multiply the contribution of solar heat.
The Road of Terraced Vineyards
The Road of Terraced Vineyards,on the south-facing side (Rhaetian side) of the low and mid Valtellina, is a cycle and pedestrian friendly path of 43 miles (70 km) that connects Morbegno to Tirano. Currently, only the middle section of the path has been completed, comprising 19 miles (30 km) from Berbenno to Chiuro. Along the route there are 40 picnic areas complete with benches and bicycle racks, as well as information signs.