The Rise of Italian Grapes in American Vineyards

Oct 02, 2019 239


After decades of planting primarily French grapes, American producers have started to embrace Italian varieties. About 2,000 native grape varieties are cultivated in Italy. While SangioveseBarbera and Nebbiolo have increased in popularity for decades, relative unknowns, like FianoTeroldegoSagrantino and Lagrein, have cropped up in vineyards across the U.S. Here’s a look at what’s being done across the country.

Many California growers have planted Italian grape varieties because they thrive in the state’s climate. They don’t require much more than what Mother Nature gives them. “In California, we are finally starting to return to what I think winemaking should be,” says Ridgely Evers, founder and owner of DaVero Farms & Winery in Sonoma County. “We weren’t growing climate-appropriate varieties for many decades, and because we were out of sync with the terroir, we had to add a lot of chemicals to grow grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon effectively.”

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