You are using an old browser that may not function as expected.
For a better, safer browsing experience, please upgrade your browser.

Log in Become a Member

What do the wines Soave, Lessini Durello, Santorini and Monte Veronese cheese have in common? They all come from volcanic soils that give them an intense, distinctive and complex taste and exceptional ageing potential. Now their consortia have joined forces to promote the quality products on a grand scale.

Italy and Greece, two Mediterranean countries known worldwide for the high quality of their agricultural products, have jointly launched a special project. Called Heva - "Heroes of Europe: Volcanic Agriculture", three million euros of EU funding will be invested over the next few years, putting the spotlight on Soave, Lessini Durello, Santorini and Monte Veronese Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wines and cheese.

The primary goal is not only to promote the products, but also to raise consumer awareness of quality. With a variety of initiatives, the extraordinary characteristics of viticulture and cheese production on soils of volcanic origin are to be made tangible. To this end, seminars, master classes, press trips and joint trade fair appearances are organised in many European countries.

© Cesare Gerolimetto

The common thread: volcanic soils

Complexity and longevity are undoubtedly the main characteristics of the products of the four protected designations of origin Soave, Lessini Durello, Santorini and Monte Veronese. The wines, although all produced from different grape varieties, shine with an extraordinary intensity. They are long-lasting and concentrated, but not oppressive, and have a very good ageing potential due to the special characteristics of the volcanic soil.

Soils of volcanic origin are among the most valuable and fascinating that man has exploited for agricultural products. The ash spread by volcanoes during their eruptions and the lava that weathers over time into fertile soil rich in minerals are what make agricultural products so special today.

From Soave to Santorini

© Consorzio Monte Veronese DOP

The different terroirs, one and a half thousand kilometres apart, have common prerequisites for quality based on similar climatic and geological characteristics and in terms of the orientation and altitude of the sites. These characteristic features are reflected in the products of these areas, in pronounced minerality, longevity and complex taste and aroma.

The President of the Soave Consortium Sandro Gini emphasises: "The aim of HEVA - Heroes of Europe Volcanic Agriculture - is to promote a culture of volcanic agriculture and to make consumers aware of the peculiarities and uniqueness of all the products produced in these terroirs, which are the result of the synergistic interaction between soil, human work and the passage of time".

The undeniable quality of wines and cheese products from volcanic soils is also the result of the skill and ingenuity of the farmers who produce them.

"In the area around Verona, man has played an important role as a careful shaper of the landscape since ancient times," says Alfonso Albi, president of the Consortium for the Protection of Monte Veronese PDO Cheese. "Here, farming is not intensive, but is done through skilful interventions that allow a more useful redistribution of mineral components to the plants, providing them with an ideal environment to thrive."

The hilly areas above Verona are particularly suitable as pasture land, which is why important cheese production developed here in the past. Since 1996, the cow's milk cheese that comes from here has borne the protected designation of origin "Monte Veronese". Monte Veronese is produced exclusively from two types of cow's milk: "latte intero" (whole milk) and "d'allevo" (semi-skimmed milk). The variety produced from semi-skimmed milk ("Monte Veronese d'allevo") is now part of Slow Food's protection and promotion programme.

The Greek volcanic island of Santorini is also a good example of how the harmony between man and nature has made it possible to produce excellent wines even in such a harsh terrain.

While the winemakers have chosen to grow the vines in low, basket-shaped canopies close to the ground to protect them from strong winds, nature has done its part through nightly fog from the sea. The mist, together with the north winds, brings cooling to the vines on hot summer nights, creating excellent growing conditions for the production of elegant wines.

The vineyards on Santorini have some of the oldest vine stocks in the world, as phylloxera does not feel at home in the very sandy, clay-poor soil. On a total of 1,200 hectares, mainly the white grape varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani grow here, which are vinified dry as well as being made into Vinsanto, the traditional dessert wine from sun-dried grapes.

The Heva - "Heroes of Europe: Volcanic Agriculture" project is funded by the European Union under Regulation 1144/2014 and promotes the protected designations of origin Soave, Lessini Durello and Monte Veronese in Italy and Santorini in Greece. The campaign is based on the collaboration of the Soave and Lessini Durello consortia, the Monte Veronese Cheese Association and the Union of Santorini Cooperatives - Santo Wines.

More info about Heva:


Facebook Instagram

Related Magazine Articles

View All