Viticultural area: Piedmont

Associated viticultural areas Italy Italy Piedmont Piedmont
Piedmont

Turin Province, Alessandria, Novara, Verbania, Cuneo

wine-growing in Carema (Turin)The very first Piemontese wine-growing can be found in Pre-Roman and Roman times, but vines were not grown on a large scale until the 17th century. In the next two centuries, the passing of part of the Piedmontese territory to French rule and its subsequent return to the Savoy Kingdom considerably boosted wine-growing to meet the increasing demand for wine, bringing the area planted with vines to over 250.000 ha.  Toward the second half of the 19th century, new plant diseases imported from the Americas led to degeneration. The highest price was paid by all the fringe or foothill areas, where it is more expensive to replant and run vineyards.

Facts and figures
Total wine-growing area of Regione Piemonte (ha.)

46,000

Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain
(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)

1,435.5

Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)

971

Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)

297.5

Area terraced (ha.)

548

Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

Between 180 and 1000 metres

Vineyards on difficult terrain

Foothill belt, Valle di Susa, Val Chisone, Valle Ossola
Langhe (in particular in valleys Belbo and Bormida where terraces are concentrated)
Roero (only as regards vineyards on high slopes). Foothill belt of all the Alpine valleys (sporadically)
25-30% of the Province of Alessandria, sporadically in the Province of Novara

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

Small holdings with less than 0.2 ha  cover 12% of the total surface, while 46% is shared among plots from 0.2 and 1 ha. The remaining 42% consists of holdings with over 1 ha.

Wine-growing landscape

Vines are grown on embankments and terraces of various sizes in the areas at the foot of the mountains, either following the contours around hills or continuing across the hilltops.
The fact that the vine-growing area is so fragmented has meant that no widespread improvement has been possible and only in some places in the foothills with slopes above  30% have stone terraces and embankments wide enough to allow some mechanisation been built.
The rural buildings, originally used for farming, have now been converted into private housing, holiday farms or Bed & Breakfasts, depending on where they are located. The rural areas that have been abandoned are strictly within the mountainous areas where low profitability and high costs make it difficult to maintain  the property.


Main vines

The area is mainly used for growing red grape vines, 85%, and only 15% for white grapes.