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Ferrari Trento sparkling wine will replace French Champagne at Austin’s Formula 1 celebrations this year

You already know you should uncork Champagne from France when you’re celebrating a wedding, but the folks behind Formula 1 think they can celebrate with something better than bubbles from France at this year’s Austin race.

When the F1 race kicks off in Austin this weekend, the important people will be toasting with Ferrari Trento in their glasses – the first time an Italian wine has knocked champagne off the podium in nearly a century.

Ferrari wines are made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes grown in these mountain vineyards of Trentino, Italy, way up north along the Adige River, tucked along the foothills of the Alps. I know this because I shot this picture there, sipping and swirling with the Ferrari winemakers and grape growers.

Top quality sparkling wines have been produced in Trento for more than a century using the same grapes, bottle fermentation and aging methods as luxury Champagne producers like Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot in France.

When I visited the region, the 50 wine producers in the Trento DOC were winding down the year’s grape harvest. At Ferrari, workers hand-plucked the ripened fruit from narrow rows of vines that snake up steep mountain slopes. Winemakers say it’s Trentino’s hot days and cool nights that give its wines their flavor and structure.

Distributors say customers are often familiar with Italian prosecco, whose bubbles are created during fermentation in big steel tanks before bottling. But most customers know far less about Italian sparkling wines from Trentino, which are made using the traditional French methode champenoise, a fermentation process that creates the wine’s tiny bubbles as the wine matures inside its cork-sealed bottle. Though many retailers don’t typically carry sparkling wines from Trentino, Ferrari sparklers are worth seeking out.

Even if you’re not an F1 fan.

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