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Feminine Grape varieties and male wines by Daniele Cernilli

It’s a game but up to a certain point: the vine, the vineyard, the grape, the rooted vine are feminine nouns in Italian but the word vino (wine) is male like most of the appellations


by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Vigneto Prosecco

Vigneto Glera-per-il-Prosecco

Today 55% of regular Italian wine consumers are women. The fairer sex is the majority among those who book visits to wineries …. but wine has a masculine connotation because, for 8,000 years it has been produced and drunk by men.
Daniele Cernilli- Doctor Wine with the cultured irony that distinguishes him starts from this point for a semi-serious but very intriguing reasoning << Grammar sometimes plays bad jokes. We are used to thinking of wine as something masculine, “the” Barolo, “the” Brunello, “the” Taurasi, but there are vines and wines declined in the feminine and who knows this might also coincide with their characteristics … >>



The “gender” examination of the appellations, for me, starts from the decidedly female Doc Orcia because << the most beautiful wine in the world >> is born on hills with sinuous profiles. These are the sexiest and most similar views to a woman’s body that Tuscany and perhaps Italy possesses.



Instead Daniele Cernilli begins his examination on the sex of vines and wines from Barbera as Veronelli called it and as they call it in Langa, in Monferrato. It is a “smiling” wine like Bonarda. Croatina and THE rare grape, the Schiava, are declined in female form.

Then there are the numerous Vernacce that give rise to wines declined in the female manner. On the other hand, Glera produces Prosecco, a male wine that is very popular with female consumers for its carefree character.

The number of female vines continues with the Ribolla Gialla and Nera and the large family of Malvasia including the Istrian Malvazija a vine of enormous personality that on the coasts of Croatia is expressed at very high-quality levels. I tried to produce it with a group of friends and, from the first try, it had a fantastic distinctive stamp.
Falanghina and Passerina are female declined. Returning to the north, where the number of “female” vines is greater, we find the Garganega from which the Soave wines come. There are also red grape varieties such as Corvina, with its sisters Rondinella, Oseleta, Negrara and Molinara. The blend of Valpolicella is therefore feminine even if male wines derive from it: Amarone, Recioto dolce, Bardolino and Valpolicella.
Very different from Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Aglianico which are conjugated to the male and give male wines.



Daniele Cernilli concludes his examination on the “sex of wines and vines” with a reflection on which it seems right to dwell << there will be many other female grape varieties. With one constant, though. Almost always the wines deriving from them are more understandable, more composed, as if the genre was not just a linguistic or grammatical chance, but it alluded to something deeper. Who knows >>?

In fact, one wonders if the feminine conjugation derives only from  phonetics or has deeper roots. And I am reminded of the habit we have at home and in my company of calling the Cenerentola Doc Orcia wine in a male manner. For us it is not ” la Cenerentola” but “il Cenerentola”. Nobody decided it and it does not derive from any reasoning but it just happened. We see it as male and perhaps the same thing has happened with the wines mentioned by Daniele Cernilli who, over time, have taken a genre based on their personality as  happens for humans.