Vines that have their roots in the sand, grapes grown in coastal environments, wines that smell of the sea... The history of sand wines goes back a long way and is yet to be discovered.
The vine, in fact, can grow on sandy soils and give life to unforgettable wines. We tell it in 8 points.
1. But what is meant by “wines of the sands”?
When the vine grows in soils with a predominantly sandy structure (at least 85%) the resulting wines have very particular characteristics.
2. Are the vines in sandy soils grown "ungrafted"?
Yes, if, in addition to being sandy, the soil also has less than 6% clay. In this case it is defined as "non-phylloxera" and it is possible to plant the vine "ungrafted", without rootstock on American vines.
3. What are the characteristics of sand wines?
The wines of the sands are very fragrant, have light tannins, light colors and a low alcohol content; they are drinkable and very pleasant.
4. What is the Italian territory best known for sand wines?
The Po Delta area is the most significant for the production of sand wines. Apparently a flat and uniform landscape, in reality it has great environmental value: these lands are perfect for growing vines. The coastal sands, in fact, are surmounted by poorly developed and very permeable soils; the roots of the vines penetrate deeply and the very draining soil prevents harmful water stagnation from occurring. Cultivating them is not easy because there are many environmental difficulties in the area, due to scarce summer water and the dangers of flooding.
5. What is the most famous sand grape variety?
The king of the sand vines is Fortana , whose history does not lack a legendary beginning. It would have been Renée of Valois-Orléans, princess of France, who brought as a dowry to Ercole II d'Este, duke of Ferrara, some cuttings of a black grape variety, known as "fruttana" or wine from the "Côte d'Or" ”. In reality, vines have been cultivated in the Ferrara area since at least Etruscan times. Today, the Fortana grape is the basis of the Bosco Eliceo DOC. It is cultivated "ungrafted", a real gem because the sandy and river soils, but probably also the holm oak woods and the humid climate protect the vine from phylloxera.
6. What wine is obtained from Fortana grapes?
Grapes are vinified in a naturally sparkling version but also methodically made into sparkling wine classic.
7. Other Italian territories with sandy soils where vines are grown?
They are various in Italy. Barolo, for example, various areas of Etna, but also the Veronese, the Campi Flegrei, the Nuoro area...
8. The wines of the sands, today
The "wines of the sands" remained on the margins of the great Italian oenology for too many years and although there is still a long way to go, today they are slowly starting to return to the fore, appreciated for all their particularities, the flavors and aromas that make them unique .
And if you are interested in wines that grow on water, click below ⬇️