Barbera is a high-yielding, top-quality variety. It is thought to have originated in Piedmont around the 13th century. Plum aromas and a good acidity structure are typical of a full-bodied Barbera wine.
Italy – the homeland of the Barbera grape
It is thought that Barbera originated in Piedmont, but this has not been proven as yet. It is not genetically related to the varieties Barbera bianca and Barbera del Sannio. However, two synonyms are Barbera di Piemonte and Barbera nera.
This grape variety survived the phylloxera outbreak in Piedmont at the beginning of the 20th century, after which it became ever more widely established. At some point this resulted in it acquiring rather a poor reputation because of its use in mass-produced wines. Today, as with so many other varieties, growers are again focusing more on quality and Barbera is still the most-planted grape variety in Piedmont. It is also cultivated in other regions such as Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. Further growing areas can be found in Slovenia, Greece and Israel, as well as overseas, for example in California and Argentina.
Barbera: a robust grape variety
Barbera undoubtedly owes its success to its robustness. In general, this vine needs little maintenance: it is not sensitive to spring frosts, is generally considered winter-resistant and loves hot summers. Thanks to fine hairs on the underside of the leaves which reduce evaporation, Barbera vines can also survive long periods of drought. It thrives best on hills with loose well-draining soils that do not get waterlogged.
Ruby red Barbera wines
Barbera is a high-yielding, relatively late-ripening grape which produces a firm acidity and is low in tannins. Depending on terroir, Barbera produces either fruity, low-tannin wines with high acidity, or concentrated, muscular and spicy wines. Barbera wines are ruby red with pleasing aromas of plums and cherries.
Barbera varietals are made almost exclusively in Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. Elsewhere it is often used as a blending partner for other wines.