Italian geographical names are sometimes used, such as d’Asti and del Monferrato


Barbera is a leading wine grape of Italy (second in planted acreage), particularly in the Piedmont region where it is thought to have originated. It is also important in Argentina and can be found in other South American countries as well as in Croatia.  John Doyle first imported the grape into

California and produced his first Barbera vintage in 1884 from vines planted in Cupertino. In the 1890s, the Italian Swiss Colony Winery used it successfully for several of its table wines. Yet it did not regain popularity after Prohibition until the rapid acreage expansion in the 1970s and 1980s, when it became a prominent red wine variety in the San Joaquin Valley, mostly for blending.  In the coastal and foothill districts there

is renewed interest in Barbera as a quality varietal wine grape and as a blend.


Clusters: medium; conical, well filled to compact, can be winged; long peduncles.

Berries: medium; long oval, dark purple black; relatively high acidity at maturity.

Leaves: medium; deeply 5-lobed, U-shaped petiolar sinus and superior lateral sinus

that often overlap; relatively large, sharp teeth; wooly hair on lower surface

Winery Use

Barbera is popular in warm districts such as the San Joaquin Valley because of its high fruit acidity retention; it is mostly used for blending

in such districts. In cooler regions and at lower yields it produces quality varietal wines of varying styles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     —L. Peter Christensen