by Bryce Wiatrak
“Congratulations, you’ve been upgraded,” were the last words I wanted to hear when I walked up to the Economy Rent-A-Car kiosk at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. I’d intentionally reserved a sedan, knowing a car any larger would trigger my sweat-inducing acrophobia as I attempted to scale the hills of Valdobbiadene, whose roads are already two sizes too small. But if I wanted an automatic transmission, the upgrade was non-negotiable. So off me and my hatchback went.
I had one focus that afternoon: Cartizze, the “grand cru” vineyard of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, whose Proseccos are revered above all others. Cartizze stands majestically against Valdobbiadene’s undular landscape, its vines cascading down from precipitous cliffs. It’s difficult not to be moved by the slope’s sublimity—or, in my case, to prophesize one’s imminent death.