The PDO wines of Emilia


The PDO wines of Emilia

A short guide to the top-quality vineyards located in Emilia for all those who are passionate about  a good glass of wine and terroir specialties.


Several literary sources provide evidence of the existence of ancient vineyards in the hills surrounding Piacenza dating it back to the Etruscan and Roman age.
Such a strongly rooted tradition has resulted in the rise of an extremely renowned winegrowing area which stretches over 5000 hectares of land, ranging from 150 to 450 meters above the sea level.
There is a total of 16 DOC wines that are produced in Tidone, Arda, Trebbia and Nure valleys and their varieies are can be grouped in three main DOP categories: Ortrugo, Gutturnio and Colli Piacentini.

Many well known white wines, such as those listed below, belong to the latter label - Colli Piacentini:

  • Malvasia
  • Monterosso Val d’Arda
  • Trebbianino Val Trebbia
  • Valnure
  • Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Vin Santo e Vin Santo di Vigoleno

while red wines are:

  • Barbera
  • Bonarda
  • Novello
  • Pinot Nero
  • Cabernet Sauvignon

The Consortium for the Protection of DOC Colli Piacentini Wines is the institution engaged in protecting and promoting the above mentioned globally known wine excellences.
Red or white, sparkling, still or meditation wine: the wide array of Colli Piacentini Wines lend itself to a multitude of serving suggestions, which naturally match with traditional Piacenza cuisine.

Almost a quarter of local production is devoted to Gutturnio PDO, a red wine obtained by blending two grape varieties, Barbera and Bonarda, whose personalities play a fundamental role in defining the distinctive qualities of a wine which distinguishes itself for the rich structure, intense colour and its winy and dry taste, in either the sparkling or still version.
While, aromatic scents such as citrus, fruit, flowers, herbaceous notes, honey, spices and minerals are the main flavors characterizing the aromatic profile of the wine variety called Malvasia di Candia, from which takes origin the Colli Piacentini PDO Malvasia, available in four types: dry, mellow, sweet and raisin.

Among the most iconic symbols representing the tenaciousness of this land, it is impossible not to mention the variety known as Ortrugo-Colli Piacentini PDO, obtained from the homonymous native white grape variety which distinguishes itself for the fresh and palatable taste, with a pleasant bitterish aftertaste and delicate scent.
(For further information on wineries located in Piacenza, please visit:

Colline di Ziano foto di Cecilia Jelmoni credit Visit Emilia



The origins of the winemaking tradition belonging to the hilly area between the rivers Enza and Stirone date back to the Napoleonic Era; at that time, court officials serving Maria Luigia, Duchess of Parma, were the ones who planted the first vineyards from which everything started: the land rising from 200 to 800 mts above the sea level proved to be particularly suitable for wine production and the attempt inaugurated a prosperous production which involved the nearby area, and in particular the villages of Langhirano, Felino and Sala Baganza, which still nowadays are the most iconic places of production.

A wide array of vineyard varieties are covered by the label known as Colli di Parma PDO, such as Aromatic Malvasia di Candia, Sauvignon blanc, Barbera and Bonarda which are usually alternated by Croatina -derived from the the above mentioned historical settlements-; other grape varieties were planted over time and thanks to their adaptation capacity they became one with the cultivated land surrounding them.
The below listed grape varieties belong to this peculiar segment of native grapevines:

  • Pinot noir
  • Pinot blanc
  • Pinot gris
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lambrusco (Maestri variety).

The wines belonging to the label kwnown as PDO Colli di Parma are all produced using the above cited grape types.
Red wines:

  • Bonarda (dry or sweet flavor)
  • still red wines Rosso
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • sparkling Lambrusco (containing a percentage of at least 85% of Lambrusco Maestri).

White wines:

  • Malvasia (dry or sweet, sparkling, still or spumante)
  • dry wines coming in the still, sparkling and spumante Pinot blanc varieties
  • Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot gris (still and sparkling).

For the lovers of enological endeavour, passionate about the heroic exploits of the knights who were able to juggle grapes and wort, we recommend a visit to the Wine Museum located in the village of Sala Baganza which offers a complete journey through the history of winemaking in the area.
(For further information on wineries located in Parma, please visit:

Vigneti della provincia di Parma foto di Carla Soffritti credit Visit Emilia vinacce2



When it comes to Reggio Emilia, it is not possible to separate anything related to it from the unmistakable and typical strong flavor of Lambrusco: the Lambrusco Reggiano PDO, a sparkling ruby-red wine characterized by its vibrant and evanescent froth, its fruity and floreal fragrant flavor, tells us a story about rural traditions able to evoke the effort, wet with sweat, put in cultivating the vines, as well as about the consumption of this same wine exclusively allowed to family members, a guarded secret and an Emilian passion able to give origin to many varieties of Lambrusco, such as:

  • Salamino
  • Maestri
  • Oliva
  • Sorbara
  • Marani
  • Grasparossa
  • Montericco.

Similar to Lambrusco in terms of pronounced flavor and tactile pleasure derived from the sparkiling stopper they have in common, other three white wines are worthy of note: Marzemino, Malvasia and Spergola, all three belong to the label known as Colli di Scandiano e Canossa PDO; while the first one was imported by the locals following a trip to Venice as they came back to Reggio Emilia by way of Trentino and the Po Valley, the name of the second last variety -Malvasia- brings to mind luscious Mediterranean landscapes.
Last but not least, the variety called La Spergola has a story to tell- it speak of resistance to forgetting and oblivion and it says a lot about the character of this white grape variety which makes of it the perfect fit for the most sophisticated winemaking techniques and once again emphasises the tenacity of this land and its community who proved their will to preserve traditional varieties throughout time.
(For further information on wineries located in Reggio Emilia, please visit:


Bicchiere di vino con gnocco e salume foto Meridiana Immagini credit Visit Emilia