Bonarda is a black grape variety widespread in Piedmont (northern Italy). As correct as it is to call this grape variety bonarda, the official synonym is perhaps to be preferred rare grape or easily get confused with the Bonarda wine from Oltrepò Pavesewhich, however, is elaborated from the Croatina grape variety. Another way of calling it is bonarda piedmontese because this is indeed the grape variety described.

Bonarda: characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearanceleaf orbicular medium or, more often, large. Mostly trilobed with irregularities between the sinuses. The upper page, dark green in colour, is glabrous. The lower page, light olive green, is rarely tomentose. Petiole short to medium, glabrous and coarse.
  • Maturationlast ten days of September. Bunch more than medium to large (16-20 cm long) pyramidal or conical, fairly compact (not always, sometimes they are very large and branched). Grape medium-sized, round or ellipsoid. Peel very thick black-purple, very pruinose and leathery. Pulp soft and juicy, slightly coloured red, with a simple, sugary flavour.
  • Productivity: good.
  • Vigourmedia.
  • Resistance to adversityis sensitive to frost, frost and grape moths, to grape rot and is particularly susceptible to downy mildew (considered a vine-spy of the disease). In unfavourable springs, it can fall victim to millerandage anddripping. It resists powdery mildew well.
Grapevine bonarda leaf

... of wine produced

  • Visual examinationIntense, lively ruby red with violet hues.
  • Olfactory examination: intense, with fruity and vinous notes.
  • Taste-olfactory examinationSavoury, rather soft, fresh, slightly tannic, balanced, medium-bodied and fairly persistent.

Cultivation zones

  • Italy: (suitable and recommended areas) Piedmont; (suitable areas) Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna.
  • World: none.

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Bonarda: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where allowed

  • DOCGnone.
  • DOCAlbugno, Canavese, Colli di Parma, Colli Piacentini, Colli Tortonesi, Collina Torinese, Monferrato, Piedmont, Pinerolese.
Bonarda grape variety


Bonarda is a very different grape variety from croatina, and as easy as it is to distinguish the grape variety by its completely different leaf, it is just as easy to confuse it with the wine. It should therefore be borne in mind that the bonarda vine can be found in some Piedmontese DOCs, while the wine Bonarda dell'Oltrepò Pavese DOC, as the specificationsmust have at least 85% of croatina (but also 100%) and may contain from 0% to 15% of rare grapes (barbera and vespolina).


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

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Monte Isola, 2022, pp. 134-135

The cover photo is of the Bricco dei Roccoletti winery.