The triangular shape of this region is formed by the natural borders of the river Po to the north. the Apennine mountains to the south and the Adriatic coast to the east. It consists of two distinct geographical areas of roughly equal size, the plain of Emilia and the foothills of the Apennines in Romagna. The climate, which is typically continental in the centre of the region, becomes milder towards the coast. The total vineyard area is around 70,000 hectares, a large part of which is planted on fertile flat lands which produce high yields but less interesting quality. The best sites are in the hills around Piacenza in the DOC Colli Piacentina, in the Colli Bolognesi and on the Apennine slopes of Romagna.
This highly productive region makes approximately 7 million hectolitres of wine a year, of which 15% has DOC status. The most planted local varieties are the white Trebbiano and Albana and the red Sangiovese and Lambrusco. Bonarda and Barbera make interesting country wines in the Colli Piacentina. Lambrusco, which remains one of Italy's most popular wines, is synonymous with Emilia while Romagna is known for Sangiovese. The best examples of this traditional varietal come from the so-called "Rocche" vineyards located on hilltop sites in the communes of Faenza and Forli. Also worthy of note are the more recent productions of Cabernet and Merlot based wines from the Colli Bolognesi.