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Black grape variety grown in Apulia

Primitivo n.

Primitivo n. is a prestigious wine grape variety characteristic of Apulia, where it is listed among the varieties suitable for cultivation in all areas of production. 

Origin and Historical Outline

The Primitivo Vine n. has an uncertain origin. It is certain that at the end of the eighteenth century, the selection of the grape variety made by Primicerio Don Francesco Filippo Indellicati di Gioia del Colle, in the context of the old vineyards cultivated locally (Musci G., 1913) led to the use and dissemination of the Primativo grape variety. The vine then spread to Apulia and, particularly, in the province of Taranto, at the end of the nineteenth century. With the studies of DNA, then, the identity of Primitivo with the Zinfandel has been affirmed.


Morellone, Primaticcio, Primativo, Primitivo di Gioia, Uva di Corato, Zinfandel. 

Shoot tip: straight, open, fluffy, green-yellowish with vinous red edge, red dorsal side of internodes.

Leaf: medium, pentagonal, pentalobate. Open, sometimes closed lyre-shaped petiole sinus, frequently delimited by veins along both margin sides. U-shaped upper lateral sinuses with overlapping lobes, U-shaped lower lateral sinuses with parallel margins. Rolled, rugose, quite thick blade. Red-coloured upper side main veins up to the first bifurcation.

Bunch: medium or medium-small, long, conicalcylindrical, plain but also winged or double, medium dense.

Berry: medium or medium-small, spheroid. Pruinose, medium thick, blue skin. Sweet and juicy flesh, with a typical aromatic taste.

Time of bud burst: early-intermediate

Flowering time: early

Veraison: early

Ripening: intermediate-early

Vigour: medium

Average bunch weight: 200 g (min 100 g – max 320 g)

Average berry weight: 1.8 g (min 1.1 g – max 2.7 g)

Number of seeds per berry: 1 3

Average rachis weight: 13 g

Fertility of buds: 2 – 3

Potential fertility: 1.8

Actual fertility: 1.5

High-quality production. Prefers medium-texture, clayey-calcareous, deep soils. Ensures best oenological results with medium and low training, abundant and short pruning (like in the case of the Apulian “alberello” system with 4-5 spurs). It features fertile smaller side shoots for a later second harvest (20%-30% of the main crop).

Alcoholic content: 12 – 16 % by vol.

pH: 3.2 – 3.4

Total acidity: 6 – 9 g/l

The Primitivo n. grapes are used exclusively for wine making. The vinification as a single variety allows to obtain a superior wine, with a high alcoholic content, with a colour from deep ruby red to purplish red, balanced, warm, with a large volume, persistent, well structured due to the presence of noble tannins harmonized with the body. The wine has a distinctive aroma with scents of plum jam, delicate hints of red fruits, a light oriental spicy note, a faint undertone of hay and tobacco.

Primitivo n. is one of the most important grape varieties typical of the territory of Apulia, where it is present in a significant way. It is registered among the varieties suitable for cultivation throughout the region, where it is used for the production of PDO wines Primitivo di Manduria, Gioia del Colle, Aleatico di Puglia and Salice Salentino. For many years it has had an important promotion and numerous successes as a quality wine.

Antonacci Donato

The data sheet of the Primitivo n., revised and updated, is extracted from: Antonacci Donato (2006). Viti di Puglia, Adda publisher. Its use is granted by the author citing the source.