Barbera is an indigenous red wine grape varietal of Italy, and as of 2010 it was the sixth most-planted red varietal in the country. It produces good yields and is known for its deep colour, low tannins and high levels of acidity (unusual for a warm climate red grape).
Century-old vines still exist in some areas - producing long-aging, robust red wines with intense characters and complex tannins. The best known D.O.P appellation is Barbera d'Asti in the Piedmont wine region of northern Italy.
When young, the wines offer a very bright aroma of fresh wild berries. In lighter styles you find notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries; and notes of blackberry and black cherries in wines made from old vines and riper parcels of fruit.


Many winemakers use oak barrels (of variable sizes & age), which provide increased complexity, aging potential and hints of vanilla. Barbera is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in the central Piedmont region of Italy (around the towns of Asti and Alba), where it has been known since the thirteenth century.
Documents from the cathedral of Casale Monferrato between 1246-1277 detail documents / agreements of vineyard lands planted with 'de bonis vitibus barbexinis' or Barbera, as it was known. In the late 19th and 20th century, waves of Italian migrants took Barbera to the Americas where the vine took root in California, Argentina and then Australia.
Upgraded to its D.O.C.G. classification in 2008, by regulation this wine must consist of at least 85% Barbera and the remaining 15% can comprise of; Freisa, Grignolino and or Dolcetto. The wine must not be released until the 1st March of the year following the harvest - and must be at least 11.5% Alc./vol.
There is also a 'Superiore' designation which requires a minimum of twelve months ageing with at least six months in oak. This is a particularly age worthy wine with the potential to age up to eight years. Aged Barbera is denominated as 'Barbera Superiore' and is sometimes aged in French oak barriques to become 'Barbera Barricato'.