Wines from native grapes
The eastern Veneto is an area extraordinarily rich in indigenous grape varieties (grapes native to a locale) most of them cultivated there for centuries, others deliberately created by researchers and viticultural amateurs by crossing suitable local grapes with international varieties in order to obtain new varieties that are hardier and more suited to a particular climate.
In the late 19th century, the vineyards in this area were planted almost exclusively to traditional varieties such as Raboso Piave, Marzemino, Bianchetta, Verdiso (which was in fact the most widely-planted grape in the area before the introduction of the prosecco in the 18th century), Perera, Verduzzo, and Glera (the proncipal grape variety of Prosecco wine).
The problems which arose due to the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century, however, and then the widespread destruction brought by World War I made necessary the introduction into the eastern Veneto of varieties from elsewhere in Italy and Europe, among them Sauvignon blanc, Riesling italico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenère, and Pinot Noir.
The Wildbacher grape merits a separate discussion. A remarkably crisp, refreshing, and fragrant grape, Wildbacher was in all likelihood brought to Collalto by Count Abate Vinciguerra VII di Collalto. Born in 1727, he was a great scholar and traveler, who had adopted the news ideas of the Enlightenment; a widely-respected agronomist as well, he expended significant efforts on reforming the agricultural activities on his estates, introducing modern machinery and rationalising the individual farms. The Wildbacher at some point dropped from sight, but it was reintroduced in the second half of the 19th century by Count Ottaviano Antonio, to whom the construction of the wine cellar is also due. The Wildbacher wine has today become somewhat of a passion for many fine-wine aficionados, who prize its deep colour and the very distinctive taste that is linked indissolubly to the Susegana terroir, very different even from the Austrian versions. Given its centuries-old history in these vineyards, it is quite understandable that Collalto considers this grape a native variety.
In the 1920s and ‘30s, Luigi Manzoni, Director of the Istituto Cerletti di Conegliano, and an ampelographer and researcher as well, spent much of his time in examining the various grapes grown in the area and identifying the hardiest and most disease resistant, those which he felt could be crossed among themselves to yield a vine that would be perfect for the growing conditions of the Marca Trevigiana.
Such was the origin of the famous Manzoni Bianco 6.0.13 grape, today valued highly by grapegrowers in southern Italy, and of other, slightly lesser-known grapes, such as Manzoni Moscato 13.0.25, Manzoni Rosso 2.15, and the very rare Manzoni Rosa 1-50. The Incrocio Manzoni family of grapes created specifically for the Treviso area represents today a viticultural forte for high-quality wine producers in the Marca Trevigiana, a resource in which Collalto fully intends to continue to invest in the future, working with the varieties in the vineyard and with their wines in the cellar.