Freisa: 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. Freisa. 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
Freisa N.
documented synonyms (3)
synonyms documented by the Istitution that appear with the eventual support of the literature
  • Fresia
  • Munfrina (Gattinara)
  • Fresa
released clones (7)
  • shoot
  • leaf
  • bunch
  • berry
Historical references

The first historical mention known today about Freisa goes back to 1517 and refers to the most typical growing area, the one on the hillside of Turin and the surroundings of Chieri, in Piedmont. Unexpectedly not mentioned by Croce, who at the beginning of 1600 listed the grapes from Turin hill (one of the today’s most typical area of Freisa’s cultivation), Freisa was planted in Neive (Cuneo) at the end of the same century, in a vineyard belonging to the count Cotti, and later in the village of Lu (Alessandria) (Mainardi, 2003). Soon after, Freisa is found in other areas of Piemonte and, since 1800, in almost all the region (Gallesio, 1995).

Although never reaching the role of principal variety in the region (except perhaps in the areas of major cultivation in the surroundings of Turin and Asti), Freisa was very popular because of the generous yield, the resistance to bad weather and the scarce susceptibility to fungus diseases (powdery and downy mildews).

Regarding Freisa’s origin, stated its first degree relationship with Nebbiolo (Schneider et al., 2004), to which is similar for morphological features and grape analytical profile (sharing for example the quite peculiar prevalence of peonidin-glucoside among the anthocyanins), according to Lacombe et al. (2012) it is a likely seedling of Avanà x Nebbiolo. Though possible from historical and geographical perspectives, our genetic data do not completely match such hypothesis, which should be better explored before to be accepted.

distribution & variation

Freisa’s culture never was widespread out of Piemonte, where it accounts today for no more than 1000 ha. In the areas of the nearby Lombardy, Oltrepò Pavese and San Colombano, it can also be found, as well as at a limited extend in Vicenza province. In Argentina and California, where it was introduced by Italian immigrants, there are small quantities of Freisa.

The variety called ‘Freisa grossa’ (=‘Large Freisa’) or ‘Freisa di Nizza’ (Monferrato) is a distinct grape corresponding to ‘Neretta cuneese’ (Schneider et al., 2006).

technological use

Since the ancient times Freisa had its strenuous supporters (who believed Freisa being among the top quality wines from Piedmont), as well as its determined critics. The reason is perhaps the great amount of tannins, together with a sharp acidity. That is why Freisa’s grape were often considered less suitable to give quality still wines, and therefore used to produce young and fizzy wines, were tannin effect was reduced on taste, and the typical raspberry scent enhanced. However, when grapes and seeds ripen properly, Freisa could offer (often using the “rigoverno” technique with 20% of dried grapes on or off plant) unique wines of great intensity and roundness, with high but soft tannins. 

bibliographies (7)
authors year title journal citation
Croce G.B. 1606 Della eccellenza e diversità dei vini che nella montagna di Torino si fanno; e del modo di farli. In Torino, per Aluigi Pizzamiglio.
Gallesio G. 1995 I giornali dei viaggi A cura di E. Baldini. Accademia dei Georgofili, Firenze.
Lacombe L., Boursiquot J.M., Laucou V., Di Vecchi-Staraz M., PĂ©ros J.P., This P. 2013 Large-scale parentage analysis in an extended set of grapevine cultivars (Vitis vinifera L.) TAG Theoretical and Applied Genetics 126 (2): 401-414
Mainardi G. 2003 Le storiche colline della Freisa Vignevini, Edagricole, 3, 91-94.
Schneider A., Boccacci P., Torello Marinoni D., Botta R., Akkak A., Vouillamoz J. 2004 The genetic variability and unexpected parentage of ‘Nebbiolo’. Proc. 1st Int. Conference on Nebbiolo grapes on CD (
Schneider A., Mannini F., Raimondi S. 2006 Vitigni del Piemonte Ed. Regione Piemonte
Schneider A., Raimondi S., Gerbi V. 2005 Freisa Civiltà del Bere, settembre.
updated at 2016-11-16 14:22:05 (7 years ago)