Cortese: general information

general information managed by Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante - CNR
How to cite this source Raimondi S.,Torello Marinoni D., Schneider A., 2014. Cortese. In: Italian Vitis Database,, ISSN 2282-006X
acknowledgments Ager Foundation, Regione Piemonte
botanical information
type of origin
Vitis vinifera
variety group
not available
variety for
Registered in the National Catalogue
Official name
Cortese B.
official synonyms (1)
synonyms reported in the National Catalogue
  • Bianca Fernanda (Provincia di Verona)
released clones (15)
  • shoot
  • leaf
  • bunch
  • berry
Historical references

The appearance of Cortese in the Piedmontese viticultural scenario must have been rather late, considering its earlier quotation dates back to 1614, when its wine is listed in the cellar inventory of the Casale Monferrato castle (Nada Patrone, 1991), along with Grignolino and other wines from unknown grape varieties. Cortese wine must have been highly reputed at the times, since ‘a small vase full with white wine from Cortese’ was numbered in the “Gift annotation” offered to the young empress Margherita Teresa from the Asburgo house, when she passed through Acqui Terme on her journey from Madrid to the imperial palace of Vienna (Giorcelli, 1894).

The first Cortese’s brief description was given by count Nuvolone (1798), followed by the slightly more detailed depiction by the reporter from Valenza De Cardenas (Acerbi, 1825), who still considered Cortese ”a grape good for fresh consumption, but giving a weak flavourless wine”. The grape’s use as table grape is also mentioned later in XIX century.

Thanks to its generous productivity, Cortese became during the period when the Ampelography of the province of Alexandria was written (Demaria e Leardi, 1875), “the white grape variety more intensively cultivated in the province”.

The reference modern description is the one by Dalmasso et al. (1960), published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

distribution & variation

The Cortese spread, for centuries basically limited to the current provinces of Alessandria and Asti, only from XIX century started to touch other areas of Piedmont. Since unknown times, Cortese is also present in the production area of the wine Bianco di Custoza (near Verona), where it is called Bianca Fernanda.

The current total acreage of Cortese is about 3,000 hectares, all located in Italy, especially in its historical, traditional growing areas in Piedmont (ISTAT, 2010).

technological use

Cortese grapes are used for producing white wines still, fizzy or sparkling, usually with moderate alcohol content and scarcely pronounced scent, typically provided by an appreciated slightly bitter tinge.

Wines more intensely scented, and richest in texture and alcohol, are obtained where environment and/or cultural practices usefully limit plant yield and vigour. 

bibliographies (7)
authors year title journal citation
Acerbi G. 1825 Delle viti italiane, ossia materiali per servire alla classificazione, monografia e sinonimia, preceduti dal tentativo di una classificazione delle viti. Ed. G. Silvestri - Milano
Dalmasso G., Dell'Olio G., Ricci P. 1960 Cortese Principali vitigni da vino coltivati in Italia. Ministero dell'Agricoltura e delle Foreste, Volume I, 12.
Demaria P.P., Leardi C. 1875 Ampelografia della provincia di Alessandria Ed. Negro, Torino.
Giorcelli G. 1894 Documenti storici del Monferrato. Passaggio per l'alto Monferrato e per Acqui dell'imperatrice Margherita d'Austria nell'anno 1666 (3-4 settembre) e di Fillppo 5. Re di Spagna nell'anno 1702 (14-15 giugno). In: Rivista di storia, arte, archeologia della prov. di Alessandria, Tip. G. Jacquemod (Alessandria).
ISTAT 2010 Censimento generale dell'Agricoltura -
Nada Patrone A. M. 1991 I vini in Piemonte tra Medioevo ed età moderna. In: Vigne e vini nel Piemonte rinascimentale. A cura di Comba R., L’arciere edizioni (Cuneo): 247-280, 287.
Nuvolone G. 1798 Sulla coltivazione delle viti e sul metodo migliore di fare e conservare i vini. Calendario georgico della Società Agraria di Torino.
updated at 2016-11-16 14:08:37 (7 years ago)