Restoring Trebbiano di Soave: the Original Grape of Soave Classico

Trebbiano di Soave almost disappeared from the world. The high quality - low yielding grape variety had been the backbone of Soave Classico until the Second World War. Ripped out in favor of mediocre grapes that produced higher yields, Trebbiano di Soave almost went extinct.

This four minute video - shot in the hills of Soave Classico - details how the team at Suavia brought it back to life.

This is Episode #64 of Understanding Wine with Austin Beeman.


Trebbiano di Soave was a very used variety especially at the beginning of the last century. Then after the end of the second World War with the bad economic situation in Europe and in Italy, people needed to produce more, and so they wanted to produce more. They didn't care about quality or everything in it, and they wanted quantity.

Garganega is a very productive and a very easy to grow variety, while Trebbiano is not very easy to grow and not very generous, so they decided just to displant Trebbiano and replant Garganega, so the real Trebbiano di Soave, the ancient one, almost disappeared from the area. When people rethink about restart planting Trebbiano di Soave in the '70s or the '80s, they started to ask to the baby wine grovers where to find the ancient Trebbiano de Soave, but they didn't know, because it was almost disappeared, and so they started to sell other kind of Trebbiano instead of Trebbiano de Soave. On the flats, you can find here in Soave a lot of vineyards with Trebbiano Toscano or Trebbiano ... They grew other kinds of Trebbiano, but not the original Trebbiano de Soave.

My sister, which is the wine maker, with her professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, an historical of the genetics of different varieties of vine, started this project to recuperate the original DNA of the ancient Trebbiano. This ancient Trebbiano was only possible to find here in this Soave Classico area, because here is where the oldest vineyards of the old Soave Classico area are. We started to go in the vineyards and ask old people where they remind where old Trebbiano de Soave vines were. We selected some vines, some very old vines, 60, 65 years old, and we took the DNA from these vines and with clonation, we recuperated this DNA and we produced all the vines in 2004. And in 2006, we planted this first vineyard. And so now it's eight years old and we are producing the third vintage of our wine, which is Massifitti, and you will taste it later. And it's this Trebbiano di Soave 100%, which is the first example in the old Soave Classico area of a pure Trebbiano di Soave.

We are very proud of us and also because many, many wine areas, now more and more, they are starting to study about Trebbiano, to plant Trebbiano, and to try to make his own wine from Trebbiano, and so they are following this project and this study, and we are very happy about it.

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