Wine from Liguria - (still) a real insider tip. The Italian Riviera is famous for its sea of flowers, for nostalgic and glamorous seaside resorts and for picturesque fishing villages with yellow and red houses balancing adventurously on rugged cliffs. Of course Liguria also produces wine - and very good wine at that.
"Wine from Liguria can even make stones blossom",
enthused Andrea Bacci, an Italian physician and researcher of the 16th century. Until just a few years ago, wines from this region, known for its mild climate, were rare outside Italy. Fortunately, committed winegrowers are working successfully to change this.
Liguria short & sweet
Liguria continues the French Riviera as its Italian counterpart and stretches for a good 300 kilometres along the Mediterranean from Ventimiglia via the port city of Genoa to La Spezia. On the 1,500 hectares of small vineyards of Liguria, wine is grown mainly for domestic consumption.
Viticulture under extreme conditions
The cultivation of wine in Liguria offers great challenges: most of the vineyards consist of narrow terraces on steep slopes. What looks extremely idyllic in holiday photos is difficult to cultivate, almost without exception only by hand and brings little yield. Some terraces of the Cinque Terre DOC vineyards in the far east of the region, for example, are built on steep rocks high above the sea and can only be reached by boat. In recent decades, more and more small wineries have turned away from viticulture and shifted to floriculture. One of the innovative wineries that are counting on the potential of wine from Liguria is Cantina Lunae in the Colli di Luni DOC, founded in 1966 by Paolo Bosoni.
The climate in Liguria - ideal for wine
The vineyards of the coastal strip, which in some places extend almost to the sea, bask in the mild North Mediterranean climate. On cooler nights and into the cold season, the Mediterranean serves as a heat reservoir. At the same time, the high mountain ranges of the Ligurian Alps and the Apennines protect against cold spells and icy winds from the hinterland.
Soil conditions and wine styles in Liguria
On the sandy, calcareous and clayey soils of the coastal region, predominantly strong white and red wines thrive.
The most important grape varieties in Liguria
For wine, there are about 100 varieties of grapes available on the Italian Riviera. Among the most important grapes of the region are
- Vermentino (white, common all over Liguria)
- Pigato (white, mainly Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC)
- Rossese (red, also mainly in the west of the region)
- Ormeasco (red, same)
White wines with character
Liguria's dry wines from the Vermentino grape, which are often single-varietal, are also becoming increasingly popular in Germany. They are characterised by salty-mineral freshness or by flowery, spicy notes, such as the Etichetta Nera Vermentino Colli di Luni DOC from Cantine Lunae. The second great white grape variety of Liguria is the Pigato. Whether Roman settlers brought it with them or whether it is in fact an autochthonous grape of the region has not yet been clarified.
Red wines from light to sophisticated
In the western part of the region, especially the Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC, light red wines suitable for everyday use are produced alongside the whites. The narrow strip of alluvial soil south of the Magra estuary is different: in the still relatively young DOC Colli di Luni, red wines with a strong character are produced, for example the Niccoló V Riserva Colli di Luni DOC, a powerful cuvée of Merlot, Sangiovese and the autochthonous Pollera Nera vine.
Interesting facts about the Liguria wine region
Since when has wine been grown in Liguria?
Historians suspect that Celtic farmers planted the first vines 2,500 years ago. In the 1st century B.C., the Greek historian Strabo had a passion for wine from Liguria.
What role does viticulture play in preserving the beauty of Liguria?
In many places in Liguria, wine is grown in tightly spaced rows of vines on narrow terraces laboriously cut into the mountains. The dense planting protects the rugged slopes from erosion and landslides - without viticulture there would be nothing but barren rocky landscapes instead of a green coastal strip.
What is the importance of viticulture for the Cinque Terre National Park?
The warm colours of the houses nestled close to the rocks in the five Ligurian villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, together with the terraced vineyards supported by dry stone walls and built as steep steps, form the spectacular cultural landscape of the Cinque Terre. The region was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1997. As more and more winegrowers are moving away from the area and the vineyards are threatened with decay, the administration of the national park offers individual plots of land for rent free of charge for 20 years - with the condition that they continue to cultivate wine there.
Discover wines from Liguria online on VINELLO
Enjoy top wines from the Liguria wine region at low prices from our online shop. At VINELLO you will find a representative selection of wine growers and wineries from Liguria. With us you can shop safely and look forward to a fast delivery of your order. We also offer you a variety of payment options from which you can choose your preferred method of payment.
Another advantage with VINELLO is that our sommeliers are available by telephone for a detailed consultation to introduce you to the world of Liguria wines. This makes it easier and quicker for you to find your favourites, whether for a special occasion, an evening with friends or for your own private enjoyment.