One of the most famous wine regions of Italy, Piedmont’s name translates to “at the foot of the Mountain,” and the stunning views are adequately matched by the wines and food of the region. Located in the foothills of the Alps, Piedmont forms its border with France and Switzerland. In addition to its mountainous terrain, the Po Valley also consumes a large area of Piedmont, leaving only 30% of the region suitable for vineyard plantings. The valley and mountains both contribute to the area’s noted fog cover that aides in the ripening of the Nebbiolo grape (which gets its name from the Piedmontese word "nebbia" meaning "fog"). The Piedmont wine region has a colder, continental winter climate and significantly lower rainfall due to the rain shadow effect of the Alps. Soil in the region is primarily clay based with calcium and mineral deposits. Vineyards are typically planted on hillsides at altitudes between 150-400 metres. The warmer, south facing slopes are primarily used for Nebbiolo or Barbera whilst the cooler sites are planted with Dolcetto or Moscato. Over the last 20 years winemaking has concentrated predominantly on quality against quantity (from 92,000 hectares to 52,000 hectares of vineyards), and on local grape varieties. Today Piedmont includes 8 DOCG wines and an impressive total of 46 DOC wines