Wine & Travel Update

September 2, 2021

We Ask:

What makes these wines unique?

Where can I buy them locally?

How can I travel to the places where these wines are made?

Learn about

The Valpolicella Wine Region of Italy

Valpolicella, known as the ‘pearl of Verona’, is a hidden gem just East of Lake Garda, Verona. Valpolicella is an intensely beautiful region whose name comes from “Val polis cellae” and means “valley of many cellars” and is characterized by the steep, vine-laced ridges that run alongside its gurgling mountain streams. 


What makes these wines unique?

Appassimento is the process of natural partial dehydration of grapes to produce a greater concentration of colors, aromas and flavors in the wine. Since partially dried grapes also have a higher concentration of sugars, this system is often used to make sweet or very concentrated wines.


Grape Drying Racks

In Valpolicella, where the Appassimento technique dates back to the times of the Ancient Romans, grape drying is also regularly used for the production of dry wines, leaving them full-bodied, complex and relatively high in alcohol. The contemporary dry Amarone is the supreme expression of Valpolicella and Appassimento, while Recioto is its traditional sweet counterpart.

Screen Shot 2021-08-31 at 5.38.55 PM.png

In making Amarone, grapes are picked a bit later to ensure ripeness. They are then left all winter to dry into raisins. The result is intense concentration and a very high sugar content, which in turn translates into 15% or higher alcohol levels. Amarone spends a minimum of two years in wood, with reserve wines a minimum of four years. On the palate, Amarone wines often have medium-plus to high acidity balanced with high alcohol and flavors of black cherry, brown sugar, and chocolate.

Recioto is the father of Amarone and one of the oldest wines in the world. The drying of the grapes, which is what makes Amarone so special, was originally used for the production of Recioto. Legend has it that Amarone was born after a Recioto fermentation was left too long, turning all the sweet sugar to alcohol.

Screen Shot 2021-08-31 at 6.31.13 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-08-31 at 6.44.36 PM.png

Ripasso wines are double fermented so as to add more structure, body and flavor to wine. Following production of the Amarone and Recioto wines, basic Valpolicella wines are passed over the just used Recioto and Amarone skins. These skins still contain aromatic compounds, tannins, etc. that thanks to this second, short fermentation are transferred to the simple Valpolicella wine. Valpolicella Superiore Ripassois often referred to as “the poor man Amarone” or “baby Amarone“.

Where can I buy these wines locally?

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 2.15.32 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 2.14.34 PM.png

Valpolicella wines, whether Amarone, Recioto or Ripasso, may all be purchased at your favorite wine retailer. Expect an ample supply of Amarone, less so of the Ripasso and even more limited Recioto.

We recommend you consider a web based retailer, WTSO offers amazing discounts on featured and unique wines. For example, in the WTSO Last Chance section, you can find a $55 Amarone, discounted to $20 with a 98 point rating from Luca Maroni. Shipping is usually free with a minimal purchase.

Traveling to the Valpolicella Wine Region

The largest Italian city near Valpolicella is Verona, which is about a one hour drive (112KM) from Venice. While you could tour Valpolicella in one full day from Venice, we can't more strongly recommend extending your stay. Beyond the Valpolicella wines, the Veneto wine region is famous for Prosecco and Pinot Grigio. The beautiful Lake Garda is nearby and adds to the bounty of opportunities to enjoy this beautiful country.


City of Verona, Italy

If you have visited Tuscany already, and are looking for an exciting new Italian adventure, Valpolicella and Veneto are a great choice. Our SELECT VIP Experiences offers the best hotel and villa properties with exclusive amenities. Some examples include:

Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais retains the charming atmosphere of an old villa typical of the Veneto region surrounded by parkland and immersed in leafy 100-hectare grounds containing vineyards and olive trees. Its unique and elegant rooms enjoy a luxurious and exclusive setting. The Villa boasts its Michelin-starred restaurant "Oseleta", suites with hydromassage and color therapy, and guided tours of wine cellar.

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 3.14.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 3.20.46 PM.png

A fantastic location with an amazing view of the city of Verona, the Due Torri Hotel boasts luxury accommodations, amenities, and cuisine. A deluxe, historic Renaissance-style hotel dating from 1373 – the hotel is situated in one of loveliest parts of Verona. It is a stone’s throw from the church of Sant’Anastasia, Juliet’s famous balcony, Piazza Bra and the Arena, known throughout the world.

The Grand Hotel Fasano is located on picturesque Lake Garda, halfway between Venice and Milan. The elegant suites, the gourmet restaurants, the splendid spa and the wellness center make this unique retreat the perfect place for a luxury holiday and a destination for exploring the amazing landscape of upper Italy.

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 3.25.03 PM.png

Like Our Facebook Page

Win a Bottle of Chateau de Pommard

White Burgundy


Everyone who likes our Facebook Page between now and September 7 is entered in to the Raffle to win a bottle of Chateau de Pommard White Burgundy.

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 3.46.40 PM.png

Interested in an All American River Cruise Experience with French Flavors and European Inspiration?

Join us for A Taste of Burgundy

on the Lewis & Clark Trail

May 11, 2022

A Taste of Burgundy

on the Lewis & Clark Trail

8 days from Clarkston, WA to Portland, OR

On the Columbia and Snake Rivers

May 11, 2022 aboard the AMERICAN HARMONY

Includes 5 Exclusive Burgundy Wine Dinners with Premium Wines from Chateau de Pommard

This cruse is filling quickly with main deck accommodations already sold out. Call us now to make a deposit and hold a room.

acl_ta_images_americanharmony _1_.jpg

Our next Wine & Travel Update will feature the wines of Paso Robles, California