Barbera Wine Ratings, Reviews and Basics | Wine Enthusiast
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Wine Grape Varietals 101


What is Barbera

One of the most widely planted grapes in Italy, Barbera is a red grape that produces high yields. A deep purple color on the vine, is boasts relatively low tannins and high acidity. The grape tends to thrive in both calcareous and clay soils. Vines are vigorous and can produce high yields and must be pruned regularly, as too much fruit can diminish quality. The wines, which tend to be consumed on the younger side, offer notes of bright red and blue fruits, such as raspberries, cherries and blueberries. Toasted oak barrels are sometimes used for aging.


Barbera is most famously grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, in the north. It has distinct appellations in Italy, like Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Nizza DOCG and Barbera d’Alba DOC. Wines from these regions express pure, snappy red berry and cherry fruit flavors that are juicy and attractive yet framed by pronounced acidity and ample tannins to lend a subtle structure.

United States

In the United States, California winemakers in Napa Valley and Sonoma have also found success with Barbera, and produce top-tier American examples. Elsewhere in California, it is also grown in the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Lake County. Producers in Oregon and Washington are also having success with the grape.

Global Production

Besides Italy, Barbera is relatively uncommon in the remainder of Europe, although some winemakers produce it in Greece, Slovenia and Romania. In the New World, however, the grape is commonly grown in South America, particularly in Argentina, where it is used as a blending grape. In the 1960s, Barbera was planted in Australia, thanks to cuttings from the University of California, Davis. It is now grown in New South Wales, Victoria, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills. South African winemakers have found success with the variety, too, especially in areas like Wellington and Paarl.


Barber a Raspo, Barbera a Peduncolo, Barbera Amaro, Barbera Crna, Barbera Forte, Barbera Mercantile, Barbera Nera, Barbera Nostrana, Barbera Riccia, Barbera Rissa, Barbera Rosa, Barbera Vera, Barberone, Barbexinis, Besgano, Cosses Barbusen, Gaietto, Lombardesca, Perricone, Pignatello, Ughetta

Barbera grapes are found in red, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines.

Examples of Barbera to Try