Barbarossa (di Finale): general information

general information managed by Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante - CNR
How to cite this source Schneider A., Torello Marinoni D., Raimondi S., 2013. Barbarossa (di Finale). In: Italian Vitis Database,, ISSN 2282-006X
acknowledgments Ager Foundation, Regione Piemonte, Regione Liguria
botanical information
Barbarossa (di Finale)
type of origin
Vitis vinifera
variety group
not available
variety for
wine, table
Registered in the National Catalogue
no synonym available for Barbarossa (di Finale)
released clones
  • shoot
  • leaf
  • bunch
  • berry
Historical references

Even though different varieties are called today as in the past with the name Barbarossa – both for table- and wine- grapes – having in common only the red or red-green bedrry colour, perhaps the most famous Barbarossa is the one outlined by Count Giorgio Gallesio in his Pomona (1817-1839). Famous not so much because at that time the most widespread, but for the beautiful image of it created by Domenico Delpino in 1828.

The Barbarossa presented here, from Finale in the province of Savona, corresponds to the variety described by Gallesio, which in the late nineteenth century was present in western Liguria (Commissione Ampelografica Provinciale di Portomaurizio, 1881).

In truth the first mentions of a Barbarossa grape should be related to Tuscany, as per Soderini (1590), confirmed a couple of centuries later by Trinci (1726),  however, historical references to varieties with this name appear in many other Italian regions including Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Apulia.

While Gallesio believed the Barbarossa from Finale identical to that of Tuscany and Piedmont, we know that it is definitely distinct from Barbarossa from the Asti region – once one of the most popular table grapes in Piedmont – and probably also different from those of Tuscany, Romagna and Apulia.

In truth the Barbarossa grapes homonyms, widespread in many regions, constitute a complex homonymy case that often impairs the ability to understand to which of the red-fruited historical vines belong the current Barbarossas.

distribution & variation

In addition to the homonyms Barbarossa in different regions of Italy, in the same wine-growing area coexist different red grape varieties denominated in a similar way, today rarely or very rarely grown and usually only for family consumption.

In Liguria, for example, a cultivar reminiscent of (but distinct from) the Provencal Barbaroux was recovered; with the name of Barbarossa verduna was detected, also in Liguria, the French Grec rouge (Piedmontese Grisa rossa or Croatian Cipar), while in eastern Liguria the name Barbarossa is mistakenly given to the High Tuscany Bonamico, which actually has black-violet grapes.

The cultivation of the Barbarossa from Finale described herein, once widespread in the region, is currently limited to a few hectares near Savona. At the moment it is not enrolled in the National Register.

technological use

Count Gallesio praised the virtues of Finale’s Barbarossa as table and storage grape, but also for the wine that was among the most sought after on the Ligurian coast; the few grapes currently produced was tested for varietal wine production with interesting results.

You can produce a rose with light pinkish colour, attractive, but not very stable. A vinification without skins seem more appropriate, giving a product appreciated even after one year from bottling and, thanks to good acidity, Barbarossa seems to be also suitable for sparkling wine production (V. Gerbi, personal communication).

However, we are inclined to revive the local production of Barbarossa also as “zero kilometer” table grape, offering it on the local markets, where it could obtain high prices. In fact we are encouraged by the considerations of Giorgio Gallesio, which emphasized the exceptional fruit cellar conservation potential of Barbarossa as one of the few grapes that “is preserved intact until spring [...] and maintains fresh and juicy flesh and smooth and colourful skin as at the time of harvest”.

bibliographies (4)
authors year title journal citation
Commissione Ampelografica Provinciale di Porto Maurizio 1881 Lavoro ampelografico della Commissione di Porto Maurizio Bullettino Ampelografico, fascicolo XV: 57-84.
Gallesio G. 1839 Pomona italiana, ossia trattato degli alberi fruttiferi. Capurro N., Pisa, 1817-1839
Soderini G. V. 1590 Trattato della coltivazione delle viti e del frutto che se ne può cavare Edizione del 1622, Giunti Ed. Firenze.
Trinci C. 1726 L'Agricoltore sperimentato, ovvero regole generali sopra l'agricoltura, coltivazione delle viti, degli alberi, ecc. Marescandoli, Lucca, 1726 - Venezia, 1778.
updated at 2015-06-25 12:44:33 (5 years ago)