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The ‘Valtellina’ is a long narrow Alpine valley in the Province of Sondrio in northern Italy. Wines have been produced here for millennia (Puleo, 2012) and although wine production today is historically at its lowest level, tradition remains a key focus.

The people here know they have something great, they want us to know it too, yet there is a confident quietness, and very few are showing off about wine, food or provenance.The grape of importance is Chiavennasca, which has long been viewed as a clone of Nebbiolo, the prized red grape of Piedmont, and in particular the Langhe. Whether the grape originated in the Valtellina or in Piedmont is still disputed.

Some producers are content to leave things as they are and others see the need to secure the future of the region. UNESCO recognition might encourage more people to seek out the wines or visit the region but it could also muddy the waters. For now the question of how and who will continue to make wine on these ancient terraces is intriguing.