Located south of Pavia, Oltrepò is a cluster-shaped area that is wedged between Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia. It is the third Italian area, by surface, planted with vineyards and the first in Lombardy, so much so that the average hill offers a landscape characterized by a succession of countless vineyard plots.
The origins of Oltrepadana viticulture are very distant. Among the first testimonies are those of the Greek geographer Strabo dating back to the early years of AD. The beginning of the cultivation of vines and of vinification seems to be traced back to the Greeks and the Etruscans and it seems that it was the latter who brought them to the Po Valley. In the Oltrepò areas, the Etruscans also carried out a selection of vines, improving their quality. At that time the vines were mostly cultivated by making them "climb" on a stanchion tree. It seems that already in Roman times over 80 grape varieties were known.
In the Oltrepò area, various tools for vinification and storing wine have been found: amphorae, wine vessels and the first Oltrepò glass bottle intended for wine which dates back to the first century AD.
It seems that, during the late Roman Empire, viticulture underwent a notable decline. A revival will take place only after centuries thanks to the monks and the role of wine in the Christian liturgy.
In past centuries, wine played a very important role in nutrition both because it was considered a "food" for its nutritional characteristics and for its antiseptic properties, in fact, it was often used in place of water or added to it, since was often polluted.
After a few centuries of good development, viticulture, not only in Oltrepò, experienced a serious moment of crisis at the end of the 1800s with the advent of phylloxera which caused the destruction of most of the European vineyards. This problem was addressed and solved by grafting European grapevine varieties on American foot, resistant to this parasite. After this period both the Italian and overseas wine heritage was reconstituted.
Currently, Oltrepò is one of the Italian areas most suited to the production of pinot noir vinified in both black and sparkling wine. It is flanked by the classic red grape varieties of Oltrepò: barbera, croatina, uva rara etc. and the precious white grape varieties such as riesling, moscato etc.