As you may know from this blog or chatting with me or Dan, or literally anyone in our family, our entire immediate family went to Italy for Thanksgiving in November! Yes, all 8 of us!! For the actual day of Thanksgiving, we toured the Prosecco wine region on a day trip from Venice. It was a great day, and we drank way too much tasty Prosecco! This is a recap of our tour if you are planning something similar. I highly recommend the Prosecco region as a quick getaway from Venice!
If you have been living in a hole, Prosecco is a an Italian white wine produced in the Northeastern part of Italy, about an hour outside of Venice in a region called Veneto. Like Champagne, Prosecco is a protected product, and it can only bear the name “Prosecco” if certain conditions are met. In Italy, the designation is “DOC” or “DOCG.” Made from the Prosecco grape (or the Glera grape outside of Italy), Prosecco is usually made in a sparkling or effervescent style, but it can also be still, called tranquillo (“still”), in Italy. On our day trip, we visited wineries between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, two of the main towns in the Prosecco region, on a route commonly referred to as “Prosecco Road.”
To reach the Prosecco region from Venice, we took a 1 hour train from Venice to Conegliano. The train was a regional double decker (with a restroom on board). It was a quick and easy ride. On arrival, our tour guide met us at the train station. Very, very easy. Conegliano is also an adorable town if you find yourself in the area (with a famous old car!).
While regional trains frequently only list the requisite “bin” a few minutes before departure, ours listed a full 20 minutes before departure! Lucky us! We boarded with plenty of time. The ride to Conegliano was actually quite pretty. On arrival, our guide picked us up and drove us about 15 minutes to our first Prosecco producer.
FIRST STOP – VINCENZO TOFFOLI
Our first stop on our grand tour of Prosecco was Vincenzo Toffoli! Vincenzo Toffoli is a family run winery that started back in the 1960s. Today, it’s a decent sized operation still run by the Toffoli family. We even met one of the Toffolis now running the business – he’s a part-time wine maker and part-time baby sitter of his grandchildren. Nice life! Vincenzo Toffoli is set amongst its vineyards, which were beautiful in the late Fall. We took a quick tour of the wine marking process and then proceeded to our tasting!
Our wine tasting was inside at Toffoli (as it was raining) and everything was set up perfectly, including some information on the winery, prices, shipping costs (I love when this is disclosed upfront), and some Italian cheese!
Throughout our tasting, we tried the tranquillo, which was SO good, two traditional Proseccos, and a Passito, or dessert red wine. Our palates were cleansed by Italian crackers, Italian cheese, and Italian salami. We all loved the wine here and we left with 3 cases between the 8 of us… whoopsie!
SECOND STOP – THE MOST DELICIOUS LUNCH AT AL LARIN
Our second stop was a departure from wine tasting, lunch at a traditional Veneto restaurant. The restaurant is called Al Larin, and honestly it was one of our favorite meals of the trip. A great place for Thanksgiving lunch. Our tour guide picked out Al Larin, and we were the only tourists in sight. The highlight of Al Larin is its open fireplace grill in the center of the restaurant, where many dishes are cooked. It was awesome. And also awesome, every started with a complimentary glass of Prosecco!
As you may have gathered from that huge steak, Al Larin’s plates are huge and almost all can be shared by a table, making the prices even more reasonable than they look on the menu. Seriously, great deals here. I started with a plate of lard in Rosemary. It was amazing. Even the skeptics at the table (ahem, Alan) liked it.
For mains, several people split one of those huge steaks. Its sold by the gram and you can get it sized to feed the amount of people ordering it (and then some!). I skipped the steak (probably a mistake) and ordered a porcini risotto. Dan also skipped the steak in favor of a pork cheek dish. Both were delicious. We ordered an order of potatoes thinking it was like a side for one person (it was priced that way) and sides came for all eight! The restaurant also brought out greens and peppers as sides. While not pictured, my parents ordered a Fall bean soup and salad dish and it was also huge and delicious, according to them!
While we were all too full for dessert, Al Larin brought out two plates of the below homemade dessert mixture. How kind!! And these desserts were amazing!! I think my favorites were the cakes with red berry jam filling.
THIRD STOP – CUL DEL LUPO
The third stop of the day was yet another family owned winery, this one called Cul del Lupo! Cul del Lupo has been around since the 1940s and specializes in, what else, Prosecco wines. Here, we proceeded directly to the tasting room, which was very nice, complete with a burning fire place, a Thanksgiving menu just for us, and the cutest pup named Spritz!!
As you can see from our personalized menu, we tried four wines at Cul del Lupo and learned a ton about the different types of Prosecco. Very enjoyable. We also left Cul del Lupo with a number of bottles of Prosecco… Cul del Lupo also treated us to home made biscuits. They were delicious, but Spritz ate most of mine (with permission of his owners)!
FOURTH STOP – VILLA SANDI
Our final stop of the day was at Villa Sandi, a winery and boutique hotel in the Prosecco region. Villa Sandi was by far the most swanky feeling stop on our tour. After taking a few pictures outdoors, we moved inside to the tasting room that was decorated with the cutest Christmas decorations. We tried four sparking wines at Villa Sandi. They were all great. A few of these came home with us as well!
Finally, Villa Sandi had some fun finds in its gift shop. My Dad got a fancy wine opener and I would have loved to have the bowl picture below. Unfortunately, it was “venduto.” Probably for the best, as I think Dan may have killed me if I had actually brought that home.
After our final tasting, our guide drove us 45 minutes back to the train station, where caught our train back to Venice. If you are doing something similar, I recommend checking the train schedule online and even printing it out.
In terms of our wine purchases mentioned here, we shipped most of them through our tour guide and/or the wineries. And by shipped through them, they took care of everything. The cost was approximately 150 euro per box of 12 bottles of wine. There was a bit of a delay in shipping (apparently due to Covid and Christmas?), but they arrived shortly after shipping in mid-January. We let our packages sit for about 2 weeks and finally opened a bottle last Saturday. It was great. For those not shipping, a Jet Bag from amazon works well to take home a bottle or two.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Prosecco di Marca: This is the tour company we used. The cost was 100 euro per person and it included everything (except the train, wine purchases, and wine shipping).
Vincenzo Toffoli: Via Liberazione, 26, 31020 Refrontolo, Treviso – Italy. Tel: +39 0438 978204, firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the winery in advance to schedule a tasting.
Al Larin: Via dei Soldera, 3/c, 31029 Vittorio Veneto TV, Italy. Phone: +39 0438 561102. Open for lunch and dinner (closed for a few hours between meals). Call for a reservation and to confirm opening hours/days. No website that I could find.
Col del Lupo: You can book wine tastings online for 15 euro per person.
Villa Sandi: Tour information on the website.