Veneto is a wine region in north-eastern Italy, one of a group of three highly productive Italian regions known collectively as the Tre Venezie (after the Venetian Republic), which is a large area comprised today of the Italian regions of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Alto Adige and Trentino, and Veneto. The Veneto is the biggest Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) producer of the three. Although the Tre Venezie collectively produce more red wine than white, the Veneto region produces more whites under DOC and is home to the Soave and Prosecco wines.
The region is protected from the harsh northern European climate by the Alps, the foothills of which form the Veneto's northern extremes. These cooler climes are well-suited to white varieties like Garganega (the main grape for Soave wines), while the warmer Adriatic coastal plains, river valleys, and Garda Lake zone are the places where the renowned Valpolicella, Amarone and Bardolino DOC reds are produced.
In Veneto, two different wine areas are clearly distinguishable: an Eastern part, close to the Venice Lagoon between the hills of Treviso, the plain of Piave river and Adriatic coast, where it is typical to produce the famous Prosecco (Glera), and other varieties are grown like Merlot, Carmenere, Verduzzo, Raboso Piave, Refosco, Tocai, Verdiso, Marzemino; and the Western part, close to Garda Lake and the city of Verona, famous for the wines based on the varieties Corvina, Rondinella, Garganega, Trebbiano of Soave, and Oseleta.
In the central part of the Veneto the winemaking transitions between the varieties and styles of the Eastern and Western parts. In that area you can find the Colli Euganei, the hills close to Padua, that is a special Mediterranean microclimatic zone; it is even famous for the Moscato fior d'arancio production, a sparkling dessert wine.
The traditional vine training system of the eastern part is the Sylvoz system, today replaced by the Guyot system, while in the western part there is more traditionally the Pergola system. Veneto's growers use modern growing methods and systems in the vineyard and for wine making. While most of the 'classic' wines from this area are based on native grape varieties, like Glera (formerly known as Prosecco) and Verduzzo, high demand for Veneto wines in the European and US markets has galvanized the region's producers into experimentation with Cabernets, Chardonnay and Pinot varieties, among others. One of Italy's leading wine schools, Conegliano, is based here and the nation's most important wine fair, Vinitaly, takes place each spring in Verona.
Veneto is the 8th largest region of Italy in land mass, and a population of 4,371,000 ranks it 6th in that regard. It has over 90,000 hectares (220,000 acres) of vineyards, of which 35,400 are acclaimed DOC. Annual production totals 8,500,000 hectolitres, 1,700,000 or 21% of which is DOC, making it the biggest DOC producer in Italy. White wine accounts for 55% of the DOC production in Veneto.