Ciliegiolo – Wine, Wit, and Wisdom
Photo of Ciliegiolo by Fabio Ingrosso via Wikimedia Commons The TTB (Trade and Tobacco Tax Bureau of the US Government) recently approved the Ciliegiolo (red) grape for use on US wine labels. This means that we may soon be able to purchase varietal labels. Ciliegiolo wines produced and distributed in the USA! The name Ciliegiolo […]

Photo of Ciliegiolo by Fabio Ingrosso via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Ciliegiolo by Fabio Ingrosso via Wikimedia Commons

The TTB (Trade and Tobacco Tax Bureau of the US Government) recently approved the Ciliegiolo (red) grape for use on US wine labels. This means that we may soon be able to purchase varietal labels. Ciliegiolo wines produced and distributed in the USA!

The name Ciliegiolo translates (in Italian) as little cherry and it is said to indicate the cherry aroma of fresh grapes. Ciliegiolo has been determined to be related to Sangiovese, and is most likely the result of a natural cross (once in one) of Sangiovese and Calabrese di Montenuovo (a red grape, native to Campania which is also believed to be a relative of Sangiovese ).

There are currently approximately 7,600 acres (3,100 ha) of Ciliegiolo cultivated in Italy. Most of it is found in Tuscany, but small amounts are thought to grow in many other parts of Italy as well. It is assumed that only around 10% of the total plantations are used in PDO wines; most of the rest is used in IGT wines or makes its way into wines classified simply as "vino".

Graphic via: www.sassotondo.it/en/ciliegiolo

Graphic via: www.sassotondo.it/en/ciliegiolo

The use of Ciliegiolo is authorized in several IGT wines from Italy, including Toscana IGT, Veneto IGT and Campania IGT. As such, it may appear in DOC / DOCG wines under the tolerance that many appellations of this type have for small quantities of "other" grapes permitted to be used in the assembly. For example, in Chianti DOCG, winemakers can include a “maximum of 30% of other combined grapes allowed for Tuscany”. Ciliegiolo is listed as a primary grape in a list of Italian DOC / DOCG wines - I've counted 16, most of them a bit obscure - to include Amelia DOC (Umbria), Colline Lucchesi DOC (Tuscany) and Portofino DOC ( Liguria).

Domaine Sassotondo, located in Sovana, produces a 100% Ciliegiolo wine which is bottled under the Maremma Toscana DOC. The winery's website describes the wine as a "ruby red color" and with aromas and flavors of "red fruits, plum, licorice and the typical touch of ground white pepper".

It will be fascinating to see how this Ciliegiolo grape is doing in the United States!

Click here to see the full list of grapes recently approved by the administration for use on US wine labels, on the TTB website.

References / for more information:

Post written by Jane A. Nickles… your blog administrator: jnickles@societyofwineeducators.org


We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.

If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine coffret so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )

Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising

Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.

As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !

From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your conteneur and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the conteneur, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter coffret packages. See our film showing the genres of heating equipment available for your fermentation.

It is important to clean

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment kits which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment

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