Italy: Vine varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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No country has more indigenous varieties—many hundreds—than Italy and this is increasingly celebrated by a new wave of growers keen to rediscover local specialities. Virtually every article about individual wines reveals the country’s wealth of vine varieties. Italy conducts a viticultural census every ten years. According to the 2010 report, the most planted variety was sangiovese, with 71,558 ha/176,824 acres, down from 86,000 ha in 1990. The second most planted variety was montepulciano with 34,824, and the third most planted was Merlot with 28,041 ha (down from 48,000 ha in 1990), while the fourth most planted grape was Sicily’s white wine grape catarratto Bianco Comune with 25,935 ha. The only other varieties planted on more than 20,000 ha were trebbiano Toscano with 22,702 ha, and the barbera of north-western Italy with 20,523 ha. Perhaps surprising was that the next most planted variety, with 19,709 ha, was Chardonnay, its total presumably boosted by its popularity with producers of sparkling wines. Varieties planted on a total of between 10,000 and 20,000 ha, in declining order, are glera, pinot grigio, calabrese, trebbiano romagnolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, primitivo, moscato bianco, negroamaro, the Soave grape garganega, and trebbiano Giallo.