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Canelli Underground Cathedrals, UNESCO

There are 5 Cathedrals each is beautifully individual and I cannot say I have a favorite they are all excellent you won’t regret a visit to any of them. In this post we will explore three; Coppo, Contratto and Bosca.

Sparkling white wines in Canelli are stored in these ‘underground cathedrals’, which are feats of engineering, millions of bottles are left to ferment at a constant temperature between 12 and 14 °C (54 and 57 °F). Extending 13 kilometres (8 mi) under the town, the cellars of Canelli are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Coppo was the first visit and looking around the damp dark caves filled with wine, you realise the absolute ingenuity of this method. Not only does it use the hill that makes Canelli. They managed to use it without collapsing the hill itself; creating the perfect passive environment to store wines, all while making and perfecting wine techiniques. Each time the winery gets bigger there is more excavation, ingenious!

Coppa make a variety of wines including red but of course including the classic sparkling Moscato wine.

Coppo began with a couple una coppia! Coppo married into the owner of a renowned winery Pio Pennone and so started the Coppo Dynasty. You can read about the history or book your visit here

Next was Contratto in a beautiful elegant building with very refined cellars complete with white gravel lined brick paths. The cellar were a mix of impressive vaulted ceilings and a network of tunnels. Contratto makes Methodo classico which is another way to say Champagne outside Champagne. Way back when dry sparking wines were not a thing Contratto specialized to cater to British taste for Brut, or dry sparkling wines. This is not prosecco it is Methodo Classico which is the exact process Champagne undergoes. Inside this Catedral there are around 1.5 million bottles stored at any one time.

Contratto was one of the first houses in Italy to specialize in dry sparkling wine, For England, a sparkling wine initially produced to delight the driest palates in the British market, today is available in two beautiful expressions of Pinot Noir: Blanc de Noir and Rosé

You can read more or book a visit to Contratto here

The last Cathedral is also the oldest Bosca and it is a mix of ultra modern and the original Cellars, unique and special they offer an audio guided tour of the events of the past and the family story which is as fascinating as the wine itself.

Of the three Bosca has the most international edge having from very early on exported and set up branches in many other countries. One early forefather crossed the Atlantic 23 times which is no mean feat in a steamer ship.

The wall of glass bottles are those saved from the epic flood 1994 which affected all cellars in Canelli as the river burst its banks and brought a wave of destruction to the town. The wall of bottles below at Bosca are in memory of that flood

Each is visitable via the links above, should you be looking for a more in depth experience with the stories of the town life and characters of the time, outside and inside these marvelous cathedrals you might consider a Landscape Story movers tour.

Landscape Story Movers give a richer more complex and comprehensive guide to the cellars but also the people around the cellar, who made the barrels, who excavated the caves and and what life in Canelli was like. They give you a taste and a real slice of history. You can book here the tour include three above cellars and lunch. It is an experience that brings the Cellars and Canelli to life.

Cathedrals Experience