Have you ever dreamed of buying Prosecco at a vending machine? Maybe not, but here is everything you need to know to enjoy your own bottle of bubbles and charcuterie, right in the middle of the vineyards.
How exactly does this work?
Picture this: you're in the middle of a gorgeous vineyard in northern Italy. You walk up to a vending machine, input your money, make your selection, and out comes a bottle of chilled Prosecco. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? It's real, and the entire experience is completely on the honor system!
How do I get there?
You'll want to start in Venice or Treviso, and head north either by renting your own car (as we did), or booking an organized tour. This whole region is referred to as Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene, and no matter where you turn, the views are jaw-droppingly beautiful. There are thousands of Prosecco growers here, so you will have many options of places to sip!
Thankfully, to get to the vending machine, Google maps works perfectly. Just put in Osteria Senz’Oste Valdobbiadene, Italy. Look for the parking spots, found between the rows of vines (a great day to have a tiny rental car!). There is parking just off the main Road SP36, aka "Prosecco Road".
The Honesty Kitchen.
The first stop is the old stone house, often referred to as the "Honesty Kitchen"! Simply take what snacks you want - you can buy bread, meats, cheese and hardboiled eggs to enjoy with your Prosecco. You ring up your goods and leave the euro in little box next to the register. They even provide you with a knife that you can take with you and return on the windowsill when you leave. Amazing.
Unfortunately, the day we were there they didn't have food items out for purchase, so we had to skip this part (we found out later in the day why this was, explained below).
Also in this house is a huge collection of messages from visitors over the years, from all over the world. They are hanging or stuck onto the stone walls and ceiling. Before you leave, make sure to write your own!
Buy your own glass!
Before you head up the short but steep hill to the Prosecco machines, there is a vending machine right in front of the Osteria to purchase a small glass (and even some reading material should you feel like reading). The glasses are just a couple of euro each, and make such a cute keepsake!
How to get to the bubbles.
There are signs to direct you to a steep, short path to the Prosecco vending machines. Bottles cost 10-30 euro, depending on the bottle that you choose. They have full-size bottles and even mini bottles.
Very important detail... you will need an Italian ID. The machine takes credit cards, but it also requires this ID. The good news is that the odds are VERY good you'll find an Italian nearby that can help with this! And of course, if you are on a tour, a local driver would certainly have the proper ID.
Also important is to remember that you are not allowed to bring in any of your own food, beverages or containers to this area. Obviously, they want you to buy what they offer (and you should!)
As you head up the hill you'll find a lot of different sitting areas - some are just benches for one or two people, others are tables and folding chairs, perfect for a picnic with your family among the vines. Some of these (like the one we grabbed) are even covered with netting strung up to stay out of the sun.
Timing is everything.
The day we visited, there were only just a few other tourists around. So lucky! But we didn't find out why this was until after we left Osteria Senz’Oste. As we pulled back out onto Prosecco Road, we had to steer around a barrier that had been set up across our driveway. Weird, right? As we drove along the road we saw people sitting or standing at the tops of their driveways, looking like they were waiting for us... some had signs written in Italian, others just sitting in their folding chairs staring at us. As it turns out, we'd gotten into the middle of Giro d'Italia, the premiere 3-week long Italian bike race!
This was the single day they were scheduled to come through this area (great planning, right?), and many of the local businesses were shut down to watch and celebrate.
So in hindsight, without even knowing, we picked the absolute PERFECT day to partake in self-service Prosecco. And no matter what it was we were doing that day, the views of Valdobbiadene and this entire Prosecco region were absolutely bucket-list worthy. Salute!