Barbera is a very ancient grape variety particularly widespread in Piedmont (Italy) that has found fertile ground in many countries around the world, including overseas. Its popularity grew over the centuries due to its ability to adapt to different soil and climate conditions, its vigorous production and high must yields. After the destruction of the European vineyard by phylloxera in the second half of the 1800s, its fame became irrepressible thanks to its resistance to the dangerous pest.

Synonyms and clones

  • Synonymsnone. There are only pseudo-synonyms with qualifying adjectives such as barbera dolce, barbera fina, barbera grossa, barbera nera.

Barbera: characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearanceleaf medium-sized pentalobata, glabrous upper page dark green in colour, reddening in summer, with green veins shading to red towards the base; lower page light green, very tomentose, flat margin barely blistered and irregularly toothed. Petiole medium.
  • Maturationlast decade of September, especially early October. Bunch compact or loose pyramid depending on environmental and growing conditions, with a fairly long peduncle, often brown or reddish. Grape medium-sized, ellipsoid. Peel deep blue in colour, very pruinose, tannic and thin. Pulp very juicy, with a simple, sweet yet sour flavour.
  • Productivity: good.
  • Vigourrelatively abundant and constant.
  • Resistance to adversityIt resists cryptogamic diseases well, but is very sensitive to frost.
Barbera vine leaf

... of wine produced

  • Visual examinationintense ruby red with violet hues when young.
  • Olfactory examinationfine and intense, with floral, fruity and vinous recognitions. When aged in barriques it is more complex with marked spicy and roasted notes.
  • Taste-olfactory examinationfresh, warm, soft, slightly tannic, alcoholic, very structured, balanced and persistent.

Cultivation zones

  • Italy(suitable and recommended areas) Piedmont, Sardinia and Belluno province; (suitable areas) Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria and the provinces of Padua, Treviso, Venice, Verona and Vicenza.
  • World (in order of quantity): Italy; United States (California: Central Valley, Sierra Foothills); Argentina (Mendoza).

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Barbera: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where allowed

  • DOCGBarbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato Superiore, Nizza.
  • DOC: Alba, Albugnano, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera del Monferrato, Bonarda dell'Oltrepò Pavese, Botticino, Buttafuoco dell'Oltrepò Pavese or Buttafuoco, Canavese, Casteggio, Castel san Lorenzo, Cellatica, Colli Bolognesi, Colli d'Imola, Colli di Parma, Colli Piacentini, Colli Romagna Centrale, Colli Tortonesi, Collina Torinese, Colline Novaresi, Colline Saluzzesi, Gabiano, Gutturnio, Langhe, Monferrato, Oltrepò Pavese, Piemonte, Pinerolese, Rosso di Cerignola, Rubino di Cantavenna, San Colombano al Lambro or San Colombano, Sangue di Giuda dell'Oltrepò Pavese or Sangue di Giuda, Sannio, Valsusa, Riviera del Garda Classico.
Bunch of Barbera grapes


Barbera is a grape variety capable of giving a very pleasant wine in its youth and also some interesting wines for ageing, despite its low tannin content.


© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Monte Isola, 2022, pp. 133-134

The cover photo is by Consorzio di Tutela Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba Langhe and Dogliani.