what is trento doc sparkling wine

What is Trento DOC Sparkling Wine? [WSET2 Reviewed]

— Sean K contributed to this post; you can read more about him on the About page.–

Have you ever wondered what is Trento DOC sparkling wine? Is it like Prosecco or something else? This gem from Trentino, nestled between Lake Garda and Italy’s breathtaking mountains, has created quite the buzz well beyond its scenic origins. With an impressive history dating back to the early 20th century and a production method akin to Champagne’s prestigious techniques, this sparkling delight offers more than just effervescence. So, if you’re trying to find out why this drink really pops in a world filled with fizzy options, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

What is Trento DOC sparkling wine?

Trento DOC, also known as Trentodoc, is a sparkling wine produced exclusively in the mountainous Trentino region of northeastern Italy using the classic method (metodo classic), sometimes the traditional method. This technique imparts a delicate effervescence and complexity that characterize champagne types. Trentodoc has the distinction of being Italy’s First classic method of sparkling wine, beginning in the early 20th century with Giulio Ferrari, who was inspired by the famous French region.

Today, 68 sparkling wine producers are in the Trentino DOC, now trademarked as Trentodoc. The producers are young (or young-in-spirit), with a forward-thinking approach. They are both large and small producers, each different from the other but united by a single common trait: quality.

And you’ll find quality at prices delivering more sparkle for your dime than champagnes of the same tier. Respectable entry-level Trentodoc can be found for $20, and the finest command prices a fraction of their French counterparts. With Trentodoc, you’re not just getting a taste of excellence but experiencing luxury without the hefty price tag.

It’s early April, and vines in Trentino have begun to emerge from their winter dormancy. ©SeanK

Trentodoc Characteristics

Trento DOC wines are fresh, fragrant, and light with aromas of exotic fruit, Golden Delicious apples, apricots, flowers like jasmine, freshly baked bread, and toasted hazelnuts. Depending on the type, they are suitable for an aperitivo or an entire meal, served at a temperature between 45-55°F.

Trentodoc Primer

Trentodoc is one of the Italian sparkling wines made via the metodo classico (classic method), or the Champagne method. Here’s an overview of these elegant bubblies produced in northeastern Italy.

Trentodoc Wines to Look For

Keep an eye out for Brut Altemasi 2015 Cavit (100% chardonnay, 36 months), Brut Nature 1673 Noir 2012 Cesarini Sforza (100% pinot noir, 48 months on the lees), Trento Perlè Zero Cuvée Zero11 Ferrari (100% chardonnay, 72 months on the lees), and Der Blauwal Riserva Extra Brut from Cesconi (100% chardonnay, 84 months on the lees). These are just a few examples of the high quality Trentodoc wines to explore.

The Unique Terroir of Trentino

It turns out that Trentino, with its rugged terrain and unique soil, is an optimal spot for crafting top-notch sparkling wines. The Dolomite Mountains in the north act as a shield against the cold montane winds while warm breezes travel up from Lake Garda in the south. Alpine and Mediterranean climates meet, resulting in a broad diurnal range necessary for great wines. The region’s diverse soils, including limestone, clay, and gravel, provide excellent drainage and mineral content, which also contribute to the complexity and character of the wines. As Lucio Matricardi, chief winemaker at Rotari, puts it in an article by Elva Ramirez on Forbes, “It is the only part of the world where you have sun from the Mediterranean and the soil from the glaciers.”[Link to the article]

Several vertical layers of typical Trentino pergola-style vines showing bud break with a large mountain in the background
The hillsides of Isera, where Chardonnay for Trentodoc is grown at altitudes of more than 1900 feet.©SeanK

Research Results on the Influence of Altitude on Grapevines

Vineyards dot the mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 2,600 feet. This creates large diurnal temperature variations, a factor behind the grapes’ high acidity and aromatic complexity. The result is Trentodoc, a mountain sparkling wine with a distinct personality and unparalleled quality. The wines are so distinct that scientific data can identify them by volatile compounds alone.

Grape Varieties Used in Trento DOC

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two grapes also used for Champagne, dominate the Trentodoc production. However, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier are also grown and found in some blends. All are harvested via Trentino’s pergola system, and cover nearly 3,000 acres, for an annual production of 12 million bottles from approximately 68 wine-making companies.

Rows of typical Trentino pergola-style vines showing bud break with mountains and an estate in the background.
In mountainous Trentino, vineyards are quite visible, with nearly 3,000 acres dedicated to Trentodoc production. ©SeanK

The Production Process of Trento DOC

Bubbles form naturally through a second fermentation in the bottle. There are three essential ingredients to a Trentodoc: grapes from Trentino, freshly harvested and carefully selected; an expert winemaker; and endless patience. The wines take from 15 months to 10 years to mature.

Stage One: The Basic Wine

The first step in producing Trentodoc is creating a still base wine. This wine is typically high in acidity and low in alcohol, which is essential for the second fermentation and the development of the bubbles.

Stage Two: Refermentation

The base wine is then bottled with a mixture of yeast and sugar, known as the liqueur de tirage. This initiates a second fermentation inside the bottle, producing carbon dioxide and creating bubbles. The bottles are then sealed and stored horizontally in cool cellars for a minimum of 15 months for non-vintage Trentodoc, 24 months for vintage, and 36 months for Riserva.

Stage Three: Remuage

After aging, bottles undergo remuage, or riddling, where they’re gradually tilted to gather yeast in the neck. This can be done manually or with special equipment.

Stage Four: Dégorgement

Finally, the bottles undergo dégorgement, where the neck of the bottle is frozen, and the cap is removed, allowing the pressure to expel the frozen yeast sediment. An added dosage, a mix of wine and sugar, determines sweetness levels like Brut or Zero Dosage.

Non-Vintage, Millesimato, or Riserva: Understanding Trento DOC Labels

Trentodoc labels fall into three categories: Non-Vintage, Millesimato (Vintage), and Riserva. Non-Vintage blends wines from different years, aged on lees for at least 15 months. Millesimato uses grapes from one year, aged on lees for at least 24 months. Riserva, also from one year, requires at least 36 months on lees.

Top Trento DOC Producers to Explore

AI image generators still struggle with text – but they are getting better!

With 68 producers in the Trentodoc appellation, there are plenty of excellent bottles to explore. Some of the top sparkling wine producers include Ferrari, the pioneer of Trentodoc, as well as Altemasi, Endrizzi, Pisoni, Maso Martis, Cesarini Sforza, and Cantina D’Isera.


Founded by Giulio Ferrari in 1902, Ferrari is the most well-known of the appellation’s producers. The company, now run by the third generation of the Lunelli family, puts out around five million bottles per year. Ferrari has gained some extra attention in recent years as an official partner of Formula One racing.


Altemasi is a brand of the Cavit cooperative, which is the largest producer of Trentodoc. Their Brut Altemasi 2015, made from 100% Chardonnay and aged for 36 months, is a standout.


Endrizzi is a family-owned winery that has been producing Trentodoc since the 1990s. Their Brut Piancastello Rosè Riserva 2013, made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and aged for 60 months on the lees, is a must-try.


Pisoni is a small, artisanal producer known for their long-aged Trentodoc. Their Extra Brut Erminia Segalla Riserva 2009, made from 100% Chardonnay and aged for 90 months on the lees, is a testament to their dedication to quality.

Maso Martis

Maso Martis is a boutique winery that focuses exclusively on Trentodoc production. Their Brut Madame Martis Riserva 2008, made from 70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% Meunier and aged for over 100 months, is a complex and elegant wine.

Cesarini Sforza

Cesarini Sforza is a historic producer who has been making Trentodoc since the 1970s. Their Brut Nature 1673 Noir 2012, made from 100% Pinot Noir and aged for 48 months on the lees, is a fine example of their expertise.

Cantina DD’Isera.

Cantina D’Isera is one of the smallest and oldest cooperative wineries in the region. They are building a reputation with examples such as their 907 Riserva 2017, made from 100% Chardonnay and bottle-aged for 50 months, which has won several awards.

Pairing Trento DOC with Food

Trentodoc sparkling wines are versatile and pair well with a variety of dishes. The fresh acidity and delicate bubbles make them an excellent aperitif, but they also complement seafood, pasta dishes, and even white meats. The drier styles, such as Extra Brut and Brut Nature, are particularly food-friendly. Local (not so) secret—Trentodoc and pizza. Especially the classics and white pizza.

A close-up of a pizza with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, basil, and buffalo mozzarella.
Classic pizzas like this with buffalo mozzarella make for a great Trentodoc pairing. ©SeanK

Ideas for Eating Well

Try pairing Trentodoc with savory tarts, vegetable risottos, shellfish dishes, and pasta filled with cheese, fish, and white meats. The bubbles and acidity will cut through the richness and refresh your palate between bites.

Michelin Restaurants

If you find yourself in Trentino, be sure to visit one of the region’s Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Locanda Margon or Dolomieu, where you can experience the perfect pairing of Trentodoc with innovative local cuisine.

Discovering the Trentino Region and Its Wine Culture

Trentino isn’t just famous for its top-notch bubbly wines; it’s also a treasure trove of stunning landscapes and fun outdoor activities waiting to be explored. From hiking and mountain biking in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter, there’s something for everyone in this stunning region.

Choose Your Holiday

Whether you’re interested in a relaxing wine-tasting holiday or an active adventure in the mountains, Trentino has plenty of options. The region boasts numerous scenic lakes, ski resorts, nature trails, and bike paths, as well as charming towns and villages to explore.

And Trentodoc suits any season, at home sea level under the summer sun, or as an alpine skiing après-ski treat.

Many Americans don’t think of Trentino when they first imagine Italy travel but Trentino-South Tyrol—which was once a part of Austria—receives more visitors than all of Austria each year. Europeans know about it for sure.

Find Your Accommodation

Trentino offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels and spa resorts to cozy mountain huts and family-run bed and breakfasts. Many of these establishments offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Traveller Information

To make the most of your visit to Trentino, check out the local tourist information offices, which can provide maps, brochures, and advice on the best activities and attractions in the area. They can also help you book accommodation, transportation, and guided tours.

Trentino Guest Card

Consider purchasing the Trentino Guest Card, which offers free or discounted access to a wide range of attractions, activities, and public transportation throughout the region. This can be a great way to save money and make the most of your time in Trentino.



Key Takeaway: 


Trento DOC sparkling wine, a premier Italian classic method, is a must-try for quality and unique character at approachable prices. The mountains of Trentino provide optimal raw material and the meticulous production ensures those signature bubbles and distinct flavors.

FAQs in Relation to What is Trento DOC?

What are the different types of sparkling wines in Italy?

Italy boasts several types of bubbly, including Prosecco, Asti Spumante, Franciacorta, and Trento DOC. Each has its unique charm.

What’s the difference between Trento DOC and Prosecco?

Sparkling wine is a broad category; Prosecco is a specific type from Veneto, Italy. It’s all about the grape and region.

What is Doc Prosecco?

DOC Prosecco refers to quality proseccos from designated regions in Italy. It ensures standards for location and winemaking practices are met.

Where is Trentodoc?

Trentodoc hails from Trentino, Northern Italy. This cool climate makes it perfect for crafting high-quality metodo classico bubbly.

The Last Pour

In this quick primer today, we’ve uncovered the essence of what is Trento doc sparkling wine. From its rich heritage traced back to Giulio Ferrari’spioneering vision to its meticulous crafting process that rivals even Champagne itself—Trentodoc stands as not just another bulk sparkler but as Italy’stestament to quality and tradition in every sip. So keep it in mind next time for high-quality gift ideas, especially for yourself, and remember your glass clinks with that crisp sound reminiscent of Alpine freshness. Remember, there’s more than bubbles dancing in your flute—it’s a story of terroir and craftsmanship.

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