Barbera wine grapes in Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2017 - 1:29pm

Barbera is an old Italian wine variety that has consistently performed well in trials in Manjimup, Western Australia with wines viewed favourably by wine judges and consumers.

The variety is naturally high in acidity and anthocyanins producing wines low in tannin in comparison to colour depth. The wines are medium-bodied with distinctive plum, ripe cherry, currant and prune aromas.

Barbera is an ancient Italian variety originating from the hills of Monferrato in central Piedmont. It accounts for 50% of all red cultivars grown in Piedmont. Barbera is also planted in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, America, Uruguay and Australia. Wines are medium-bodied, low in tannin with good depth of colour.

Production at Manjimup

In conjunction with 18 other varieties, Barbera was identified by the wine industry as having both domestic and international wine market potential to enhance the production and development of premium WA wine.

Barbera (clone AT84) vines were therefore imported for evaluation at Manjimup where they were evaluated from 2007 to 2010.

Barbera (clone AT84) vines showed good establishment in trials, producing large crops in early development.

Timing of key phenology stages

Budburst

(E-L 4)

Full bloom

(E-L 23)

Veraison

(E-L 35)

Harvest

(E-L 38)

Early-mid September

Early December

Mid-February

Mid-April

Fruit from Barbera vines can be susceptible to sunburn if highly exposed within the canopy, however Barbera experiences low levels of disease.

Acid production in Barbera fruit can be high, resulting in the delay of harvest. On average, Barbera contains 3.2g/L of malic acid in fruit at harvest.

Production characteristics

Productivity

Medium

Berry weight

High

Bunch weight

High

Fruit yield/vine

5.5kg

Disease susceptibility

Low

Equivalent yield

9.2t/ha

Bunch compaction

Medium

Vigour

Medium

Juice TSS (°Brix)

26.5

Juice Baumé

14.7

Juice pH

3.2

Juice TA g/L

9.4

Wine sensory assessment

Barbera wines display spicy plum and dark fruit aromas, are medium-bodied with a firm acid structure, fine tannin, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Results from a consumer survey showed that 68% of respondents liked the aroma, 83% liked the flavour, 82% liked the body, 85% liked the style and 68% found the variety to have commercial potential.

Wine judging results

Points awarded out of a maximum of 20.

2009 Winemakers Panel

2010 Timber Towns Wine Show

2010 Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show

2010 Qantas Wine Show

2011 Timber Towns Wine Show

14.9

15.7

18.5

16.2

16.3

Contact information

Richard Fennessy
+61 (0)8 9780 6219
Kristen Brodison
+61 (0)8 9780 6189