At the very top of Valdobbiadene, a valley near Italy’s iconic Dolomite mountains, Glera grapes grown from stony soil catch the sun and the Adriatic breeze. The vines here are used to make Della Vite, a new Prosecco from the Delevingne sisters (Cara, Chloe, and Poppy).
Della Vite General Manager Clara Latham wants to change our perception of Prosecco. Long the Italian sparkling wine subbed in for Champagne for less memorable occasions, Latham sees a future where the wine receives the respect it more than deserves.
Della Vite Prosecco is created within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means that the use of mechanical farming techniques on the land is prohibited, so everything is done by hand. Attention to craft plays out on every level of Della Vite. From handpicked grapes and homemade yeasts to the use of solar power, the wine is one born from attentiveness and consciousness. It looks to impact the way we view Prosecco, and also influence the way we make wine across the globe.
In this week’s Bottle Breakdown, we sat down with Clara Latham to discuss the origins of Della Vite, how the brand hopes to change the perception of Prosecco, and how best to enjoy the duo of offerings from the Delevingne sisters.
Spirited Zine: Just to get started, can you tell us about your first experience with prosecco? And how that first experience impacts the way you approach Della Vite Proseccos?
Clara Latham: Testament to the problem we’re trying to solve, when thinking about my first experience of Prosecco, I did draw a bit of blank – I know I’ve drank it in the past but due to the lack of meaningful brands in the space, there has never really been one or one moment that was really memorable for me.
The occasions and places I usually associated Prosecco with were things like bottomless brunches or seeing it discounted at the supermarket, and if I were to drink or gift sparkling wine, in the past I would usually have chosen to go for Champagne.
I try to keep this in the back of my mind day to day, in terms of changing and creating perceptions – it helps me pitch our mission to people who question it!
SZ: Della Vite was co-created by the Delevingne sisters. How did you get involved with them and Della Vite Prosecco?
CL: Alongside the Delevingne sisters, their family friend Numa is another co-founder of the brand. I was introduced to him through a mutual friend, initially to share some advice on what it takes to launch and grow a brand. As soon as I got into the details, I realised this was an opportunity that I was keen to get involved with!
Namely what makes Della Vite different is that the sisters genuinely wanted to go into business with each other and actually make a change to the [Prosecco] category, so straight away this felt very different from an endorsement deal! Also, getting to know each of them more personally, I realised that each of them have their own personality which provides such a rich tapestry for us to use, when creating the Della Vite brand world.
SZ: Before Della Vite, you were at Seedlip. For some, that would seem like an unnatural transition–from alcohol-free spirit innovators to Italian wine–but as I understand it, you see it as a similar path of disruption. How are you looking to change the perceptions surrounding prosecco and what is similar between the two brands?
CL: They both share a common challenge, which is that initially it can be a bit of an uphill struggle! At Seedlip, people questioned its premium price point and its purpose for existing and at Della Vite, there is a current perception that Prosecco should be low priced, so we have to educate the audience as to why what we have is different, and most importantly, why it is worth paying more.
Now when you think about moments where you aren’t drinking, there is a vast number of options to choose from, thanks to the category Seedlip created, and we hope that in years to come the associations that people currently have of Prosecco will have changed, for the better thanks to Della Vite.
SZ: Northeastern Italy is an incredibly unique place when it comes to both history and environment. Can you tell us a bit about Della Vite’s terroir and where we can find those aromas and flavors in the bottle?
CL: Our winery is based in Valdobbiadene, in Northern Italy, within a UNESCO World Heritage Site – this means that the use of mechanical farming techniques on the land is prohibited, so everything is done by hand.
Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG is made exclusively from Glera grapes, which are grown on the highest elevation of the valley in Valdobbiadene, so right at the top. The soil is very stony, and they catch the sun and the Adriatic breeze, which makes a great environment for a vibrant wine, which is rich and extra-dry with a mineral palate that lingers.
SZ: Third generation winemakers Carlo and Adriana Biasiotto are the hands and minds behind the wine production. Can you tell us a bit about them and what they bring to Prosecco that is unique?
CL: One of the things that really resonated when our founders met the Biasiottos was that they, like us, were also a family business – after the initial introduction the chemistry was there right away, and they’ve all become part of the extended DV family.
Their dedication to sustainability and the way they were using solar power in the production of their wines was another really important factor in terms of us deciding to partner together.
Their motto is ‘the long and steady way’ – our Della Vite Proseccos have a fermentation period of 60 days, over the standard 30 which gives them a smoother taste, with a more autolytic, textured expression than you might expect.
SZ: Can you take us through the harvest process and what you look for before picking?
CL: Harvest usually takes place in early September. The Glera grapes used in our Superiore DOCG are handpicked when ripe – the two things that our winemakers look for are acidity and malic acidity which produce fruity and fresh wines.
SZ: I understand that the yeasts Della Vite uses are homemade. How does that impact the flavors and aromas of the wine?
CL: Yes, at our winery they have a laboratory on site where they cultivate their own yeasts – it’s one of a handful of wineries in Italy to do so. Our Della Vite wines have their own strain of yeasts which were specially developed for us by the team at our winery. This means we have much more control over the taste of the wine, and can avoid using chemical, homogenized yeasts from an industrial grade supplier – instead, we’re able to enhance the nuanced expression of the local terroir.
SZ: Solar energy powers Della Vite production, the water is heated by the refrigeration units, nitrogen for wine storage is extracted from the air, and all your products are certified vegan. Why is sustainability such an important part of the ethos of Della Vite and how does that translate to the wine drinker enjoying the product on physical and emotional levels?
CL: I think it’s become very standard for businesses to care about their impact on the planet and their sustainability credentials – as it should be! Accreditations like BCorp are popular and even necessary for businesses to appeal to younger consumers who are incredibly conscious about this type of thing. I’m proud to say we’re working towards BCorp Accreditation and are on the path to making this happen for Della Vite.
Social responsibility was important from the beginning – it’s something that Cara, Poppy and Chloe were clear should be a big part of the company. Cara is very vocal about climate change and our responsibility to the planet – she’s a part of the educational platform Eco Resolution which drives to promote change- so it was a given that this would be a focus for any business she was involved so closely in.
SZ: How do you recommend enjoying Della Vite’s Proseccos and what should they be paired with?
CL: Our Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG is perfect for sipping on its own, by the glass – it’s a really fantastic tasting liquid and we see it as a challenger to the moments where you might have once had Champagne. It pairs really well with nibbles, like artichoke hearts or Nocellera olives. It also is delicious with a starter like figs and honey, or cured meat and bitter leaves, like Bresaola Salad with Treviso Radicchio.
The DOC’s moment is all about cocktails – it’s great for mixing because it has a light, delicate flavour profile, and it’s not as sharp or sweet as some other DOC on the market. Our philosophy around the DOC is similar to what I think Fevertree did so cleverly – they convinced the market that as so much of your drink was a mixer, you should be looking for a great tasting product to mix with your carefully chosen spirit, and not just any old thing. If you are mixing a delicious and well-made cocktail, you want to add a premium Prosecco that really elevates it.
For more information, head over to the Della Vite official website.