Gambellara - Soave's Lesser-Known Neighbor


East of Verona and just over the hill from Soave, Gambellara is a picturesque area covered by vines and lush valleys. Davide Vignato is now in charge of this family-run winery and was the first in the DOC to be certified organic and the first in the area to implement biodynamic farming methods.  

Davide’s grandfather Rinaldo grew up here and planted the first vines in 1950, and his father Gian Domenico started vinifying their grapes when he took over. In 1997 they started farming organically, stopped using fertilizer, and reduced the yield per hectare. Davide’s first vintage was in 2006.

One-third of their 12 hectares of land is used for Garganega, the same grape that makes Soave, and the vines are located on steep hills with terraces and trained using the traditional "Veronese pergola" system. Some producers are switching to more modern techniques that make it easier to farm and harvest with machines, but Davide prefers to work the old-fashioned way like his grandfather.

Gambellara is a volcanic area and has fertile soil that has been enriched with potassium and magnesium as the volcanic rock degrades, making Garganega quite aromatic. The soil is dark and contains outcroppings of tufa and basaltic lava. Some of the stone, known as “sasso moro” (black rock), is so strong that it has been used to make traditional houses in the area.

Like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Garganega is one of Italy’s oldest grapes (first mentioned in the 14th Century) and has played a key role in the evolution of Italy’s ampelographic base. It is the twelfth most commonly grown wine grape in Italy, is a parent of Catarratto and Trebbiano Toscana, and wines made from 100% Garganega are considered among the best white wines Italy produces. Christine Manula

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Vignato 2013 Gambellara Classico El Gian

If you love Soave, this is the wine for you without paying the premium of the famous place name! Located about a 15 minute drive from Soave are the volcanic hills of Gambellara. Davide Vignato was the first winemaker to be certified organic and practicing biodynamic in this DOC.  Made from 100% Garganega, the same grape as Soave, "El Gian" is named after the winemaker’s father who planted the vines 25 years ago in these rolling hills using the traditional pergola system. The wine is made in stainless steel tanks and rests on the lees for five months before being bottled. Straw yellow in color, it has both fruity and floral aromas, good minerality and acidity, and is savory with a hint of spice and citrus. Perfect with a meaty white fish, chicken or even a quiche at brunch! Christine Manula

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  • white
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  • $14.99