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Located in the eastern part of Trentino, only a few kilometres from Trento, the Dolomites and the valleys of South Tyrol, the Cembra Valley and the Pinè plateau are still rather undiscovered areas. With their narrow stocked terraces, they resemble the ValtellinaCembrani D.O.C., except that white grape varieties are more prevalent here.

The Cembra Valley

The situla, the ancient bronze vessel.

Buonconsiglio Museum for Wein-Plus
Das antike Bronzegefäß (situla), dass im Cembratal gefunden wurde.

There are numerous hypotheses with which scientists have tried to clarify the origin of the name of one of the characteristic valleys of Trentino. Whether it is due to the presence of forests full of stone pines (Pinus cembra) or to the former settlements of Cimbrians (members of a Germanic tribe) cannot be precisely said, but it cannot be denied that the history of the valley began a very long time ago.

A history that can be discovered richly and vividly in numerous archaeological finds, such as an Etruscan bronze vessel found in Doss Caslir (Cembra) in 1828. It is dated to 400 B.C. and shows a thanksgiving to the wine god for the good grape harvest in Lavisio, proof that viticulture has been practised in the Cembra Valley for about 2400 years. Today the vessel is in the Museo di Buonconsiglio in Trento.

The old red gold of the Cembra Valley and the new currency

The small pieces of land wrested hard from the rock and the narrow, steep paths leading to them are supported by dry stone walls built with stones of different sizes and without the help of mortar. They are decades and sometimes centuries old and are still regularly repaired by hand with the porphyry rock that falls from quarrying in the numerous quarries on the left side of the valley. Porphyry was and is the red gold of the valley, formed about 280 million years ago, a volcanic rock of dense, fine-grained groundmass with enclosed, larger feldspar crystals. It is a very hard and resistant material, withstands even frost and acids and adorns the pavement of the most beautiful squares and streets in the world, whether in Vienna, Berlin, Jerusalem or New York. Once it was the first source of income for the people of the valley, today it is agriculture with wine, apples, berries, chestnuts and vegetables.

Viticulture here takes place at 350 to almost 900 metres above sea level. The very high sites are mainly devoted to Müller Thurgau, which accounts for 40% of the total wine production on the 600 hectares of vineyards in the Cembra Valley. Even though this cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale is not a native variety, it has found a very favourable habitat in the Cembra Valley. If we look at the entire Trentino with its 10,000 hectares of vineyards, Müller is in third place after Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

The "Vigna delle Forche" vineyard at 870 metres above sea level from Cembra Cantina di Montagna.

Cantina Cembra for Wein-Plus
Cembrani D.O.C.: Die Lage „Vigna delle Forche“ auf 870 m ü. M. des Betriebes Cembra Cantina di Montagna.

The Cembra Valley is slowly establishing itself as a tourist destination, although the number of beds is deliberately kept low so as not to place too great a burden on natural beauties such as the earth pyramids of Segonzano and the environment in general. Instead, the focus here is on clean air, good food and drink and deliberately nature-oriented recreation.

The new currency is nature, authenticity and hospitality. Like almost no other place, everyone in the Cembra Valley is attuned to guests. You don't meet grumpy farmers, but open, friendly people who can present their valley in all its facets. This has been achieved by the Cembrani D.O.C., who, in addition to their association tasks, have also initiated a large number of further education programmes. The aim is to enhance the tourist potential of the territory and to make the Cembra Valley experience as pleasant as possible for every visitor. This is based on the results of a study by Professor Roberta Garibaldi of IGCAT (Istituto Internazionale della Gastronomia, Cultura Arte e Turismo), according to which 49% of people choose a destination because of the culinary offer of the holiday region.

The typical cured meats from the Cembra Valley: carne salada, carne fumada and salami.

Mara Lona for Wein-Plus
Die typischen Wurstwaren der Partner der Cembrani D.O.C.: gesalzenes und geräuchertes Fleisch, Carne salada und carne fumada sowie Salami.

The Cembrani D.O.C. Consortium

It is hard to believe that the area planted with vines in the Cembra Valley is really 600 hectares, so fractionated are the small sections on the terraces. They are cultivated by about 600 grape producers. Of the grapes harvested, 85% go to the large cooperatives (also outside the Cembra Valley); the remaining 15% are pressed and bottled in private wineries. In order to give the latter a greater voice, the Cembrani D.O.C. was founded. The small private consortium consists of five wineries, two distilleries and a network of accommodation and leisure businesses, restaurants and food producers. They joined forces in 2012 to carry out efficient territorial marketing, to communicate the culture and tradition of the Cembra Valley and, of course, to better sell their products.

We already know the D.O.C. as an abbreviation for Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (controlled designation of origin), but in Italian the doc is also used to designate someone who is particularly good at their craft (for example, "traduttore doc" means someone who is an excellent translator). In the Cembra Valley, the Cembrani have also used this positive connotation but at the same time given the D.O.C. a third meaning: "Di Origine Cembrana".

Grape harvest of Müller Thurgau in the Cembra Valley

Luciano Lona for Wein-Plus
Traubenlese im Cembratal, hier der Müller Thurgau der Cembrani D.O.C.

The Cembrani D.O.C. give the Cembra Valley a face. Altogether, the producers stand for 700,000 bottles of wine. The consortium itself also offers wines. For this, each member delivers a batch of cask wine, which is blended into a cuvée under the supervision of all the oenologists at Zanotelli's headquarters. The white wine consists of 60% Müller Thurgau and 40% Riesling and is called "708 km Bianco", the red wine of 60% Schiava and 40% Lagrein and is called "708 km Rosso"... and the grappa, of course, "708 km Grappa". The name stands for the total length of the dry stone walls in the area.

Short profile Cembrani D.O.C.


The logo of the Cembrani D.O.C. consortium.

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Das Logo des Konsortiums Cembrani D.O.C.
Address: Cembrani D.O.C. Società Consortile a.r.l., Viale IV Novembre 52, 38034 Cembra Lisignago (TN).
Contact person: Mara Lona
Languages spoken: Italian, German, Russian
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday mornings, 8:30 - 12:30 and 15:00-19:00.
Area planted with vines: None, the wine for the cuvées comes directly from the consortium members who grow their vines at 500 to 870 m a.s.l.
Grape varieties used: Müller Thurgau, Riesling Renano, Schiava, Lagrein.
Number of bottles produced per year: 2,500 bottles each of 708 km Bianco and 708 km Rosso.
Current distribution: 90% Italy, 10% export
Other products: Grappa, tastings and events
Direct sales: yes, through the Cembrani D.O.C. website.

The wine producers of the Cembrani D.O.C.

Alfio Nicolodi

Alfio Nicolodi's business was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by his grandfather Antonio in Cembra's historic Carraia district. Since 1985, Alfio has been at the helm of the winery, taking care of the entire production process, from planting and tending the vines to winemaking. Since 2000, he has paid special attention to the old grape varieties and clones from the Cembra Valley that existed before phylloxera. This long-term work has become increasingly important for the whole area in recent years. Especially with his classic bottle fermentation of 100% Lagarino bianco he gained a lot of attention and recognition. The grape variety, which was and is appreciated for its very high acidity, is the perfect basis for a single-vineyard bottle fermentation at Nicolodi, which he is the only winemaker to produce: "Cimbrus Brut" with 36 to 48 months on the yeasts. Another flagship for his winery is the wine "Trentatrè" (Thirty Three) made from three typical grape varieties (Moscato giallo, Nosiola and Lagarino) from three different valleys in Trentino.

Alfio Nicolodi

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Alfio Nicolodi in seinem Weinberg.

Brief profile Nicolodi

Address: Alfio Nicolodi, Via Carraia 22, 38034 Cembra Lisignago (TN).
Contact person: Alfio Nicolodi
Languages spoken: Italian
Opening hours: By telephone appointment only
Area planted with vines: 5 ha (own and leased)
Number of bottles produced per year: 35.000
Current distribution: 95% Italy, 5% export
Other products: none
Ex farm sale: yes, by appointment

Cembra Cantina di Montagna

The Cembra Cantina di Montagna (winery in the mountains) is situated at 700 metres above sea level. This makes it the highest winery in Trentino and one of the highest in Europe. It often serves as a model for heroic viticulture in the Cembra Valley on terraces up to 900 metres above sea level and with sites that have slopes of more than 40%.

Founded in 1952 on the initiative of a few winegrowers, the Cembra Winery now has more than 300 members. The name of the cooperative derives from its location in the Val di Cembra, on whose rocky ground of porphyry stone, wines with strong mineral-spicy notes can be produced. Both still wines and classic bottled fermented wines are produced, both of very high quality, as evidenced by the awards received from numerous wine competitions and wine guides. The grapes are pressed with Marmonier presses, as they are also used in Champagne. In the wine cellar, huge pictures of the vineyards hang on all the walls: on the one hand as an illustration for visitors and on the other hand as motivation for the people who work there.

Cembra Cantina di Montagna has been part of the La-Vis group since 2003. The winery is located in Cembra Lisignano, with an adjoining wine shop where you can also taste and buy the products of the other wineries in the group, La Vis and Cesarini Sforza.

Ezio Dallagiacoma, oenologist at Cembra Cantina di Montagna

Cantina Cembra for Wein-Plus
Ezio Dallagiacoma, Önologe bei Cembra Cantina di Montagna, Mitglied der Cembrani D.O.C. im Barrique-Keller.

Brief profile of Cembra

Address: Cembra Cantina di Montagna, Viale IV Novembre 72, 38034 Cembra Lisignago (TN).
Contact person: Rosario Pilati
Languages spoken: Italian, English, German
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Area planted with vines: 300 ha
Cultivated grape varieties: Pinot Nero, Schiava, Kerner, Müller Thurgau, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling.
Number of bottles produced per year: 300.000
Current distribution: 80% Italy, 20% export
Other products: none
On farm sales: yes, as well as tastings

Simoni Ferruccio

Ferruccio Simoni's farm is located in the middle of the village of Palù di Giovo, famous also as the birthplace of many professional cyclists, such as Aldo, Diego, Enzo and Francesco Moser, and Gilberto Simoni. The road that leads from San Michele all'Adige to Maso Roncador (municipality of Giovo) is also called "Salita dei Campionissimi" (Ascent of the top athletes). It is almost seven kilometres long, has a steep incline and is thus ideally suited as a training route. This brings us straight to what is probably Simoni's most famous wine, the "Zio Bepi", a blend of Lagrein and Rebo dedicated to Ferruccio's father and uncle of the famous cyclists Francesco Moser and Gilberto Simoni.

The small wine cellar in Palù is also connected to the "Agritur Simoni" inn, where products from the farm are made according to traditional recipes. In the rustic ambience of the family business, which has been around since 1918, guests almost feel like they are visiting relatives. The selection is not large but always seasonal and typical. The wines from the farm, whose aromas are influenced by the calcareous soils around Giovo, are drunk with it.

Michele and Ferruccio Simoni

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Michel und Ferruccio Simoni in ihrem kleine Weinkeller Agritur Simoni.

Short profile Simoni

Address: Az. Agr. Simoni Ferruccio e Michele, Piazza degli Alpini 14, 38030 Palu' di Giovo (TN).
Contact person: Michele Simoni
Languages spoken: Italian, English
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Area planted with vines: 5 ha (own and leased)
Cultivated grape varieties: Müller Thurgau, Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, Lagrein, Pinot Nero, Schiava, Rebo.
Number of bottles produced per year: 10.000
Current distribution: 100% Italy
Other products: Jam, vegetables
Farm sale: Yes, shop and restaurant with own products "a km 0"*.

Villa Corniole

The family-run Villa Corniole winery has been making wine for generations, and for more than a decade they have been processing the grapes themselves and bottling directly. For this purpose, a wine cellar was cut directly into the porphyry rock, which forms an impressive backdrop in the barrique cellar. The underground location makes it possible to work in a very energy-conscious way, and solar panels on the roof generate the electricity needed.

Only the estate's own grapes are vinified from the approximately 12 hectares of vineyards, which are located in the fertile Rotaliana plain, on the Avisiane hills and the terraces of the Cembra valley. Both in the vineyard and in the cellar, efforts are made to preserve the old traditions of the area as much as possible. Nevertheless, technological innovations are also used here to produce high-quality wines. The numerous awards they have received from national and international competitions testify to their success.

A large tasting room also allows them to offer seminars and events for larger groups.

The Villa Corniole team from left to right: Sabina, Linda, Maddalena, Onorio, Sara

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Das Team von Villa Corniole: Sabina, Linda, Maddalena Nardin, Onorio Pellegrini, Sara.

Short profile Villa Corniole

Address: Cantina Villa Corniole, Via al Grec' 23, 38030 Verla di Giovo (TN).
Contact person: Maddalena Nardin-Pellegrini, owner.
Languages spoken: Italian, English, German
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday [Sundays by appointment only] 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Area planted with vines: 12 ha
Cultivated grape varieties: Müller Thurgau, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Teroldego, Lagrein.
Number of bottles produced per year: 60.000
Current distribution: 70% Italy, 30% export
Other products: none
Farm sale: Yes


The Zanotelli family has been growing wine in the Cembra Valley for generations (there is a huge genealogical chart at the entrance to the wine cellar). They originally came to the Cembra Valley in 1705 as a family of bakers, and somehow their nickname "Fornari" has stuck to this day, even though they have devoted more time to wine growing since 1856.

In the beginning, Zanotelli produced exclusively Schiava (German: Vernatsch), but with the zoning in the Cembra Valley, mainly white varieties were introduced, which were better suited to the soil and the climatic conditions at the higher altitudes. Moreover, in addition to the classic Trentino pergola, alternative forms of cultivation were used to reduce the grape production per plant and to improve the ventilation of the vineyards on the southeast-facing terraces and the grape quality.

Of the 80,000 bottles produced, 30,000 are Müller Thurgau alone and 20,000 are sparkling wines produced using the classic bottle fermentation method: Trento DOC white and rosé. The labels of the wines show the "stropa", a willow branch used to tie the vine to the support device. Since this work was often done by women in the past, they are a tribute to these female "ligars".

The Zanotelli family from left to right: Orietta, Nicola, Roberto and Martino Zanotelli

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Die Zanotelli-Familie: Orietta, Nicola, Roberto und Martino Zanotelli.

Brief profile Zanotelli

Address: Zanotelli Società Agricola, Via IV Novembre 52, 38034 Cembra (TN).
Contact person: Nicola Zanotelli
Languages spoken: Italian, English
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday mornings 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Area planted with vines: 18 ha between 200 and 800 m a.s.l.
Number of bottles produced per year: 80.000
Current distribution: 80% Italy, 20% export
Other products: Apple juice, grappa
Ex farm sale: Yes

To the wines of the members of the Cembrani D.O.C. in the wine guide of Wein-Plus.

The distilleries of the Cembrani D.O.C.


The Paolazzi distillery was founded in 1962 in Faver to continue a long-standing family tradition and put it on a solid footing. Faver is a small village in the Cembra Valley, considered by many to be the "cradle of Trentino grappa". Here, long ago, distillation was carried out in secret under risky conditions to ensure survival in the countryside. The local term "lambicar" (to distil) therefore has a double meaning: on the one hand to produce the grappa or the distillate and on the other hand to live a hard peasant life full of privations.

Vittorio Paolazzi works with the "discontinuous steam distillation method" and produces not only grappa, but also distillates flavoured with herbs, fruit and cream liqueurs, punch and eggnog as well as the legendary "Bombardin", a kind of eggnog with whisky and rum, which is often drunk warm with cream or in coffee, or better still, nibbled.

Vittorio and Martino Paolazzi

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Vittorio Paolazzi und Martino Paolazzi in ihrer Destillerie.

Brief profile Paolazzi

Address: Paolazzi Distillerie, Via dei Rododendri 2, 38033 Cavalese (TN).
Contact person: Martino Paolazzi
Languages spoken: Italian, German
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 18:00, Saturday 8:00 - 12:00.
Products: Grappa and liqueurs, Bombardino
Number of bottles produced per year: 30.000
Current distribution: 80% Italy, 20% export
Ex farm sale: yes


In 1957 Vincenzo Pilzer opened his small distillery in Faver with a discontinuous bain-marie still, which is still preserved in the company today. Many years of experience, ambition and the will to innovate, as well as the consistent decision to focus only on quality, led to today's success. With the sons Bruno and Ivano, who both studied oenology, fresh ideas came into the company and planning began for the new production facility in the Portenac district, which was put into operation in 2001. In the large bright room with glass panes down to the floor, they distil in different equipment that suits each product, right in front of the breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. In addition to the pomace of grapes from the Cembra Valley and other regions, Pilzer also distils various fruits and produces aquavites of pears, apricots, apples, quinces, grapes and wine from them. The special process of turning the fruits into mush in advance, the careful fermentation and finally the distilling itself allow the freshness and fragrance of the fruits to be recognised in each distillate. In the case of grappa, the number of single-varietal distillates has increased considerably over the years, resulting in an enormous amount of knowledge about different distilling methods, depending on the grape variety.

Despite numerous high-ranking awards, the Pilzer family is one of the lesser known but nevertheless one of the best addresses for high-quality grappa. In addition to their own products, Pilzer also distils for third parties, including gin in a specially developed procedure.

Vincenzo and Ivano Pilzer

Cembrani D.O.C. for Wein-Plus
Vincenzo Pilzer und Ivano Pilzer in ihrer Destillerie.

Brief profile Pilzer

Address: Distilleria Pilzer srl, Via Portegnago 5 - Località Faver, 38092 Altavalle (TN).
Contact person: Ivano Pilzer
Spoken languages: Italian, German
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 - 13:30 and 14:00 - 18:00, Saturday 8:00 - 12:00 and 13:30 - 17:00
Products: Grappa, Acquavit, Gin, Brandy and new Grappa with herbs.
Number of bottles produced per year: 20.000
Current distribution: 70% Italy, 30% export
Ex farm sale: Yes
Photos: Courtesy of Buonconsiglio Museum, Members Cembrani D.O.C., Mara and Luciano Lona

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