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Umbria Native Vines – First Part
Rosa D'Ancona – April 1, 2006



Introduction

 
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Viticulture in the Umbria region has deeply rooted traditions. many archeological findings reveal that two different civilizations, the Etruscan and the Umbri, cultivated vines in the area long before the arrival of the Romans.

Another indication of the natural inclination of this region for winemaking, is the fact that in course of time several native vine varieties developed locally, such as Grechetto, Verdello, Drupeggio, Procanico, Trebbiano Spoletino and various types of Malvasia, among the white grapes, and Sagrantino, Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo among the red grapes.

Though the growing environment is extremely positive, for a long time the grapes and wine produced in the region were routed toward the neighboring regions and their well established winemaking facilities.

Even the recognition of various regional denomination of origin (DOCs) did not change much, as the local production for a long time was labeled as not very diversified. This is because the region is fairly small and the environment and climate of the various growing zones are similar and, though truly good for vine cultivation, did not justify a great variety of grapes.

In recent years though the tendency has been reversed, thanks especially to a re-qualification process aimed at increasing the quality while keeping the costs under control. Many estates have been reorganized and the vineyards renewed in order to produce wines that meet the demand of the market, while at the same time re-evaluating the regional native and ancient vines, thus increasing the uniqueness of the final products.

  Basilicata

To pursue this goal the Istituto di Coltivazioni Arboree (Institute of Tree Cultivation) of the University of Perugia, teamed up with the Agenzia Regionale Umbra per lo Sviluppo e l'Innovazione in Agricoltura (A.R.U.S.I.A., or Umbrian Regional Agency for Agricultural Development and Innovation). They focused especially on three issues:

  • genetic and sanitary selection of the native vine heritage,
  • reclassification of the varieties, and
  • utilization of the native vines in the production of quality regional wines.

Thanks to this work, interesting clones have been selected, while the behavior of several varieties in relation to the environment and cultivation techniques have been observed and classified in various production zones.

As a result, currently local vintners have high quality clones at their disposition, such as the Grechetto G5 ICA PG and the Trebbiano Biotipo Procanico T34 ICA PG, which have shown high adaptation to the environment and produce high quality grapes.

The quality quest has resulted in partial reduction of the vineyard area in the region, which currently counts on 15,815 hectares (slightly over 39,000 acres), of which 6,528 (around 16,131 acres) produce grape varieties registered in the DOC / DOCG varietal registry. This number though, has consinstently increased over the past two years. Currently Umbria produces two DOCGs, 11 DOCs and six IGTs.

Average wine production in the last three years has been around 930,000 hectoliters (over 24.5 million gallons), of which 320,000 (around 8.5 million gallons) are DOC and DOCG wines. The region has 12 cooperative wineries and 120 private estates who produce and bottle wine.

The export amount to € 17 million. The major importers from the region are Germany, US, UK, France, Switzerland and Canada.

As for the native vines, the Sagrantino is regulated by the June 20, 2002 Ministerial Decree, which protects the name of the vine and establishes that it may be mentioned exclusively in DOCG Montefalco Sagrantino wines. Two other vines which have been cultivated in the region since time immemorial, are the Grechetto and the Trebbiano Spoletino, which produce white grapes. Both fruits are used either as varietal or in blends in almost all the white DOC and IGT wines produced in Umbria. Currently the Italian Agriculture and Forest Ministry is evaluating the request to add the two varieties to the list of native and ancient vines, in agreement with the agreement reached by the Italian administration and the Italian regions on February 3, 2005.

DOC and DOCG wines made with the main native vines

NATIVE GRAPES DOC WINES
DOCG WINES
Ciliegiolo
  • Colli Amerini
  • Lago di Corsara
  • Rosso Orvietano

 

Grechetto
  • Assisi
  • Colli Amerini
  • Colli del Trasimeno
  • Colli Martani
  • Colli Perugini
  • Montefalco
  • Orvieto
Sagrantino
  • Montefalco
  • Montefalco Sagrantino
Sangiovese
  • Assisi
  • Colli Altotiberini
  • Colli Amerini
  • Colli del Trasimeno
  • Colli Martani
  • Colli Perugini
  • Montefalco
  • Rosso Orvietano
  • Torgiano
  • Torgiano Rosso Riserva
Trebbiano
  • Assisi
  • Colli Altotiberini
  • Colli Amerini
  • Colli del Trasimeno
  • Colli Martani
  • Colli Perugini
  • Montefalco
  • Orvieto

 

Verdello
  • Colli Amerini

Umbria IGT Wines

IGT WINES

NATIVE GRAPES

Allerona

  • Canaiolo Bianco
  • Canaiolo Nero
  • Ciliegiolo
  • Dolcetto
  • Garganega
  • Grechetto
  • Verdello
  • Trebbiano Toscano
  • Sangiovese
  • Montepulciano
  • Verdello
  • Verdicchio Bianco
  • Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Bettona

  • One or more recommended and /or authorized grapes from the Perugia province

Cannara

  • Vernaccia and other red grapes authorized and /or recommended grapes from the Perugia province

Narni

  • Ciliegiolo and other red grapes authorized and /or recommended grapes from the Terni province

Spello

  • One or more recommended and /or authorized grapes from the Perugia province

Umbria

  • Canaiolo Bianco
  • Canaiolo Nero
  • Ciliegiolo
  • Dolcetto
  • Garganega
  • Grechetto
  • Montepulciano
  • Sangiovese
  • Verdello
  • Verdicchio Bianco
  • Vernaccia di San Gimignano


 
 
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