Vine Trekking

The Grape’s Road of Tenuta Carretta

Tenuta Carretta | Vine trekking

Immersed between the landscapes of vineyards in Roero, the Grape’s Road of Tenuta Carretta is a vine trekking path ideal for those who love the colours, the sounds and the smells of nature. A 2.1 km path, composed entirely of dirt trails with little shade, which takes around an hour and forty-five minutes to complete at a comfortable pace.

Grape’s Road begins in Campolungo, under the east corner of the “Trecamini” Villa and passes through the amphitheater of vineyards that surround the winery, strolling through a verdant maze of vines. The path is not particularly demanding, with only gently sloping hills, making it accessible to almost anybody to walk. During the walk, it is possible to see the different shades of the vines’ terrain: from those that are sandier and calacerous, to areas that are more compact and clayey.

Bric Paradiso, Podio e Bric Quercia are the principle homonyms, from east to west, for those interested in trekking between the vineyards. Of particular charm, and we suggest stopping, is the post in the centre of the path at Bric Quercia: a slope oriented southeast that gifts a stunning 180° panoramic view of the entire landscape of Tenuta Carretta.

The pathway between the vines has an average altitude of 260m a.s.l. and allows trekkers the opportunity to observe “in the field” difference between the varieties: especially arneis, nebbiolo and barbera.

Once you reach the vineyard of the Podio (the ancient “Podium Serrae”) you can closely observe the vines from which the winery’s Langhe DOCNebbiolo originated. The grapes that become Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC, come from the namesake vineyard Bric Quercia, while from Bric Paradiso are the grapes for Roero DOCG Riserva.

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“…Fa un sole su questi bricchi, un riverbero di grillaia e di tufi. Qui il caldo più che scendere dal cielo esce da sotto, dalla terra, dal fondo, tra le viti, tanto forte che sembra si sia mangiato ogni verde per andare tutto in tralcio. È un caldo che sa un odore: ci sono dentro tante vendemmie e fienagioni e sfogliature…” (C.Pavese, La luna e i Falò)

The stages of the Grape’s Road

Tenuta Carretta - The location of the Grape's Road

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1. Campolungo

It is the starting point: a flat and gentle pathway that offers a marvelous view of Bric Paradiso. The path is characterized by the presence of rows of barbera vines on the left and of arneis on the right. The toponymal is cited in schematic from 1878 and indicates the zone, that today is the entrance of the property, and reaches to the elegant yet lonely cypress that is visible in the near distance. The choice of this name is likely connected to the shape of the parcel of land: rectangular, narrow and long.

2. Alteno della fontana

This is the first corridor of the pathway that is under vines: pointing southeast towards the City of Alba. Walking at a comfortable pace, the barbera vines to the left and the arneis vines to the right can be observed. The name of this passage was first cited in a document from 1594, drawn up by the owners, the Damianos, Piobesi’s ruling family; before discovery of this document, the land was simply called “in the valley.” The area is characterized by a fountain, which offered labourers cheerful respite from the hard work of the earth. The term “alteno” refers to an ancient method of cultivating vineyards that was very open and so not very specialized. More specifically, the alteno had rows that were very wide to also allow the cultivation of grain, fodder, potatoes and beans. The “alteno” vineyards were surrounded by ‘living guardians’ – tall trees such as poplar, maples and mulberries.

3. Campovirato

Here you reach the first slope of the vine trek. A height of about 20 metres, its curves at accentuated angles. Going at a slightly more demanding pace, you will once again encounter vines of barbera on the left and vines of arneis to the right. The name was born from the term “virare,” to turn, most likely because of its contradictory position in relation to the other surrounding plots; a unique characteristic that distinguishes it from the landscape of adjacent slopes. This location also appears for the first time in the document from 1594, indicated as “the turned possession.” Previously, it was included “in the valley” with Alteno della Fontana.

4. Alteno di Mastro Pietro

It is in this location you will encounter the first nebbiolo vineyards, precisely 0.8 km from the path. It is a flat stretch, a good opportunity to enjoy the pleasant panoramic view and the small residential village of Piobesi d’Alba. The name is likely from Pietrino Porrino: the overseer, who is 1467 was entrusted the land from the owner Andrea Damiano for a period of nine years. The place-name was later mentioned in a survey of farms and lands of 1801 and 1810.

5. Terrazze

This stretch shows off one of the main geographic points of the path: Bric Paradiso. Walking towards the top of the hill, vineyards of nebbiolo completely taken over by those of arneis. The name Terrazze indicates the area to the right of the path that extends southwards and culminates at the crest of the hill, creating a sort of terrace overlooking the fascinating Roerine landscape. In a cabreo (document) from 1878, there is a detail reported in the “annotazioni successive” section stating that at the time, the area was cultivated with “sweet vines.” The cabreo is an antique land register document drawn-up for periods of twenty-five years and was used by ecclesial members and noblemen with the aim of indexing and describing property.

6. Bric Paradiso

It is the first of three crests that unfurl along Grape’s Road where you will reach the highest altitude of the route. The area is completely designated to the cultivation of nebbiolo grapes, a variety that prefers elevated positions with less humidity and higher sun exposure. Bric Paradiso is named on the label of Tenuta Carretta’s Roero DOCG Riserva. The origins of the name are most likely linked to the rare shape of the hilltop: round and flat, almost a plateau. Therefore, it is truly a wine worker’s paradise in a land such as Roero, generally characterized by rocky peaks and a wild skyline. The area was first indicated in the cabreo of 1878.

7. Camporosso

It is the northeastern most corner spot of the path. The area is entirely used for the cultivation of arneis grapes. It is charming with its full hillside vegetation that tapers into a tall wood on the right, a natural border that suddenly descends to the north and finishes at the municipality of Corneliano d’Alba. The place-name was presumably born from a unique trait of the soil. It is possible to observe a larger percentage of clay, an element that lends a light reddish tone to the soil and helps it to maintain water in times of drought. A useful and beneficial capability in the cultivation of vines, for which no irrigation is needed. The first citation of the area dates to 1348.

Tenuta Carretta - Vine trekking

8. Bric Quercia

Here the stretch is slightly steeper. The hilltop is characterized by the presence of barbera vineyards, grapes destined for the production of their namesake Barbera d’Alba Superiore. The area is delineated by three small curves, that unfurl at different altitudes and are slightly more physically demanding. Reaching the summit of the hill, you will enjoy one of the most enchanting views of Grape’s Road: the entire amphitheater of Tenuta Carretta’s vineyards. A corner of Roero opens to over 180° that from left to right, you can take in views of Bric Paradiso and Podio – Podium Sarrae, the last key passage of the vine trekking experience.

9. Maddalena

This is the first part of the path to face west. Trekking at a comfortable pace, you will encounter vines of arneis and on the other side of the hill, a small triangle of nebbiolo. In a general layout of Tenuta   Carretta, dating November 22, 1898, you can read “the name originated from the ancient membership of the original land, the church of Maddalena, which was already cited in the 15th and 16th century as being to the right of the road leading from Piobesi to Corneliano, near the current pylon of the same name. The lands were then discovered by the Sismonda of Corneliano and passed to the Count of Roero in the 18th century.” The trail is a particularly impressive walk, which runs along the ridge of hilltops in the direction of Podio.

10. Podium Serrae

This is the place that marks the story of Tenuta Carretta. This is evidenced by the contract of concession to sharecropping dated the 28th of November, 1467. It clearly expresses a qualitative judgment of the grapes produced in this area. In fact, in the copy (written in medieval Latin) it states that the bounty of Podio’s vineyards, whose grapes were already considered to be of superior quality, had to be handed over to the castle and reserved for the exclusive use of the owners. The name of the area had been used by the noble families since 1420 and indicates the hill’s relief, the summit. Today, the place-name characterizes Tenuta Carretta’s Langhe DOC Nebbiolo label. At the great curve of Podio, there is a breathtaking view, worthy of a postcard. A view of the entire landscape of Roero, which to the south shows the tower of Santa Vittoria d’Alba; to the far east, the hills of Diano d’Alba; to the north, the Madonna dei Boschi and the bells of Vezza d’Alba; to the west, the centre of Piobesi d’Alba; and in the background the unmistakable triangular point of Mont Viso.

11. Pra’ Fornace

Here is where you will end the trek. Descending the steep and straight half-ridge from the Podio, you will meet the nebbiolo vineyards to the right and the arneis to the left. At the foot of the hill, nebbiolo grapes open up to an immense sea of arneis, which spread to the entrance of the estate. The major part of the production of Roero Arneis Cayega DOCG is born from this expanse of vines, which proudly show off of its glittering green and its apex of beauty during the summer and harvest season. The name was first seen in 1594 and indicated the place where a furnace for the baking of chalk blocks, excavated from the nearby caves, stood.

Tenuta Carretta | Vine trekking