Viticultural area: Valtellina

Associated viticultural areas Italy Italy Lombardy Lombardy Valtellina Valtellina


The first mentions of vine-growing in the valley date from Carolingian times.
During the late Middle Ages work to till the communal or village land was intensified and terraces were built on the Rhaetic side.
An active role in this phase was played by religious orders and Benedictine monastic communities.
Wine-growing reached the height of its expansion in the 19th century with over 6,000 ha registered in the province (1,764 ha on hillside terraces and 4,725 ha on alluvial cones or in the valley bottom), of which over a third planted with Nebbiolo, a vine already at the time known locally as Chiavennasca. After the Second World War, most of the vineyards on the alluvial cones and in the plain began to be replaced by orchards or taken over by urbanization.

Facts and figures
Total wine-growing area of Valtellina/ Sondrio Province (ha.)


Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain
(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)


Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)


Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)


Area terraced (ha.)


Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)


Vineyards on difficult terrain

All along the Rheatic side (hydrographic right) from Dubino to Tirano, from 300 to 800 m above sea level

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

Twenty per cent of the area belongs to 1% of the wineries, with holdings over 3 hectares. A further 15% of the area is in the hands of 3% of the wineries with from 1 to 3 ha. A large part of the wineries, 44%, covers 49% of the ares with holdings between 1 and 0.2 ha. Below 0.2 ha there is 16% of the area and 52% of the wineries.

Wine-growing landscape

Vineyards are specialized. Vines are grown on small plots supported by dry stone walls. Mechanisation is difficult even on terraced embankments and the water flow is regulated by special channels.
The vine-growing ares is continuous especially in the central part of the valley. The lower part of the valley has several vine-planted areas separated by woods, fields or by the sculpted side valleys. In general the villages are uphill from the vineyards that go right up to their outskirts. The rural buildings are mostly in the villages; many have been turned into private houses or rented. Recently some holiday farms have been set up. At present neither the landscape nor the environment of the vineyard area in Valtellina are under special protection

Main vines

White grapes are only 1% of the production.
Black grapes: 

  • Nebbiolo
  • Rossola nera
  • Pignola valtellinese
  • Fortana