Everything You Need To Know About Pinot Grigio

Wednesday, 6 September, 2017
thedrinksbusiness.com, Patrick Schmitt
We’ve compiled a concise guide to one of the world’s most popular grapes, including some facts that may surprise even the most committed drinkers of Pinot Grigio.

It should be said at the outset that although the variety is considered distinctly Italian, the grape in fact hails from France where it’s called Pinot Gris – the gris (or grigio) meaning grey, in reference to the colour of the berries.

Pinot Gris is actually a colour mutation of red grape Pinot Noir, which occurred in Burgundy, although the “earliest reliable mention” of Pinot Gris in fact took place in Germany’s Baden-Wurttembery in 1711, according to Wine Grapes.

As for its arrival in Italy, the same reference book suggests that Pinot Gris was introduced to Italy in the early 19th century in the north of the country, specifically the Piedmont.

And certainly today, it is northern Italy that dominates the global production of this grape.

So, while Pinot Grigio – to use its Italian synonym – may be a global grape, with plantings worldwide totalling 60,000 hectares, Italy leads with 24,500ha, of which all but 500ha are in the northeast of the country.

Indeed, a vineyard area covering the Veneto, Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige has, since May this year, been granted a new DOC, called Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC.

This more tightly-controlled production zone will account for as much as two thirds of Italy’s annual 300 million bottle Pinot Grigio output.

Importantly for Pinot Grigio lovers, all the wines bearing this new classification will have to be certified by an independent commission before being bottled, in the hope this will eliminate poor-quality entry-level Pinot Grigio.

db launches the Pinot Grigio Masters 2018

Following the success of our Global Masters series, focused on major grape varieties from Chardonnay to Sauvignon Blanc, we are adding a further tasting competition for wines made from Pinot Grigio.

Like all our Masters tastings, the wines will be judged blind without prejudice about their country or region of origin, although they will be assessed according to their price bracket.

The competition will take place in 2018 but we are accepting entries from September this year.

For more information please contact Sophie Raichura at sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com.

To read more online, click here

Thomas Davidson

Thomas joined wine.co.za in May 2019 after graduating from Stellenbosch University with a BA in History & Ancient Cultures and completing a certificate in Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Graduate School in Stellenbosch. He moonlights as a radio presenter at MFM - and has an incredible passion for wine. 
We are delighted to have him on the team.