What are the main grapes of Italy?

We know that Italy is among the world’s biggest producers of wine and is the lead of the sparkling wines exporters chart, as Prosecco surpassed Champagne in 2014.

Italy is a very interesting producer also for historical reasons and for having a uniquely wide vine panorama, with more than 500 native grapes, besides the main international varieties. But what are Italy’s most grown vines?

main grapes italy

What are the most grown grapes in Italy?

Let’s jump into the main vine varieties grown in Italy.

  • Sangiovese

    With around 54 thousand ha, Sangiovese (also called Nielluccio) is the most grown vine in Italy. It’s not a surprise, being this amazing red grape the basis to many amazing wines like Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso Piceno, and many others. The Italian regions where Sangiovese is mostly grown are Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, and Marche.

  • Montepulciano

    not to be mistaken with the wine Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (covered in this other article) or with the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the Montepulciano grape variety covers a wide area of the regions Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, for a total area of almost 39’000 hectares. Some wines produced with Montepulciano are Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Conero and Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.

  • Glera

    once also called “Prosecco" and then modified in order to protect the denomination area where the Prosecco wine is produced (see this article), the Glera grape is actually the main ingredient of the famous Italian sparkling. It is grown in the entire Prosecco DOC area, which covers a very wide piece of land from the province of Vicenza, in Veneto, to the land of Trieste, in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The total area cultivated in Glera is 27’000 hectares.

  • Pinot Grigio

    the same grape called Pinot Gris around the world, but in Italy is vinified in a lighter, fresher version which is usually intended to be consumed young. It is a black grape variety which is usually used for white wines and it’s mostly grown in the top-right corner of Italy: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, for a total area of 26 thousand hectares.

  • Merlot

    this international grape coming from France is now very appreciated all around the world and grown almost everywhere. In Italy arrived around 1800 in Friuli Venezia Giulia and then spread in Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige as it found the perfect climate conditions. Nowadays it’s really successful in Tuscany, where is used to produce the popular Supertuscan wines. Merlot covers 28’000 ha in Italy.

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