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White wine grape variety grown in Puglia

Sauvignon b.

Sauvignon b. is a grape of important national and international diffusion and is widespread also in Apulia, where it is suitable for cultivation in the whole region.

Origin and Historical Outline

The white wine grape variety Sauvignon b., is native to France. Its name would derive from “wild plant”. It is cultivated especially in Bordeaux (Gironde), in the Sauterne area, famous for its dry and sweet white wines, among which Sauternes, along with other vines such as Sémillon and Muscadelle. From the Sauterne area it was probably introduced in Italy and then in Apulia.


Blanc fumè, Bordò bianco, Fiè, Fumè, Pellegrina, Piccabon, Souternes, Spergolina, Surin. 

Shoot tip: expanded, downy, green whitish with light carmine shades along the margins, green internodes.

Leaf: medium, roundish, trilobate or pentalobate, with twisted profile. Barely open U-shaped petiole sinus. Close lyre shaped upper lateral sinuses with overlapping lobes, sometimes not very deep; less marked lower lateral sinuses, if present.

Bunch: medium-small, winged, dense, cylindrical.

Berry: small, spheroidal. Green-golden, spotted, thick skin. Fairly firm, sweet and aromatic flesh.

Time of bud burst: early-intermediate

Flowering time: intermediate-early

Veraison: intermediate-early

Ripening: early-intermediate


GPI: 6

PGM: 6

Vigour: good

Average bunch weight: 180 g (min 140 g – max 240 g)

Average berry weight: 1.2 g (min 0.8 g – max 1.6 g)

Number of seeds per berry: 1 3

Average rachis weight: 9 g

Fertility of buds: 1 – 2

Potential fertility: 1.4

Actual fertility: 1

Medium and consistent yield; prefers permeable, dry soil rich in skeleton. The most suitable pruning is medium.

Susceptible to cryptogamic diseases. Low tolerance to spring frost and drought; good tolerance to wind.


Alcoholic content: 11 – 15 % by vol.

pH: 3.2 – 3.7

Total acidity: 4 – 9 g/l

The grapes of the Sauvignon b. vine are used for vinification; they are almost never vinified as a single variety.  The wine is golden yellow in colour, with an intense, soft and velvety bouquet and a slight characteristic aroma, which is the result of the synthesis of pyrazines and methoxypyrazines, responsible for the typical aroma of elder and tomato leaf. May be subjected to short ageing.

In Apulia, more than 30 years ago, the Experimental Institute for Viticulture and the Experimental Institute for Oenology (now both CREA-VE), carried out an experiment in which, by vinifying over-ripe grapes produced in a vineyard in the Cerignola (FG) area, with 50% Semillon and 50% Sauvignon grapes, they obtained a high grade natural sweet wine with exceptional qualitative characteristics. It is considered worthy of being extended to the production practice of the operators of this type of wine, with the blend tested or modified for further improvement.

Sauvignon b. is present in Apulia, listed among the varieties suitable for cultivation throughout the region. It is often used for the production of QWpsr wine: Lizzano, Salice Salentino, Castel del Monte.

Antonacci Donato

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