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Grape (Vitis)
Trollinger Lehrensteinsfeld 20080928.jpg
Species Vitis vinifera
Also calledSchiava
Origin Italy?
Notable regions Württemberg (Germany), Trentino, South Tyrol (Italy)
VIVC number 10823

Trollinger, Schiava, or Vernatsch, is a red German/Italian wine grape variety that was likely first originally cultivated in the wine regions of South Tyrol and Trentino, but today is almost exclusively cultivated on steep, sunny locations in the Württemberg wine region of Baden-Württemberg. It is primarily known under the synonyms Trollinger in Germany, Vernatsch in South Tyrol and Schiava in other Italian regions. As a table grape the variety is sometimes known as Black Hamburg, [1] which is commonly confused with the similar synonym for Black Muscat—a variety that is actually a cross of Trollinger and Muscat of Alexandria. [2]


According to wine expert Oz Clarke, Trollinger has moderate acidity and tends to produce light bodied wines with fruity strawberry and subtle smokey notes. [3]


While the grape is likely northern Italian in origin, the synonym Schiava is closely related to the Italian word for "Slave" and may hint to the type of vine plant in Roman times (forced by pruning). Records show that the grape has been growing in the Trentino-Alto Adige region since at least the 13th century. [3] The German synonym Trollinger appears to be a corruption of the word Tirolinger meaning "of Tyrol". [1] The synonym Vernatsch appears to have a similar origins as Vernaccia in having the same root word as "vernacular" or "local". British Master of Wine Nicolas Belfrage has interpreted this association as further evidence that the grape likely originated in the South Tyrol/Alto Adige region. [3]

At some point the grape migrated northwards to the southern regions of Germany though the exact date of its arrival is unknown. In Württemberg, viticulture has existed since at least the 8th century when monks from Burgundy established monasteries and vineyards in the region. In nearby Lauffen am Neckar, it was established even earlier during Roman times, [4] but the earliest records for Trollinger growing in the Württemberg region can only be traced back to 14th century. [1]

Sub-varieties and crossings

An Italian Vernatsch from South Tyrol. Vernatsch THWZ edit.jpg
An Italian Vernatsch from South Tyrol.

In the Trentino-Alto Adige region, several sub-varieties or clones of Trollinger have been identified. These include the large berry Schiava Grossa (also known as Grossvernatsch and Schiava Grigia) which is probably the highest yielding clone, but tends to produce light bodied and neutral tasting wine, the smaller berry Schiava Gentile (also known as Kleinvernatsch), which tends to produce more aromatic wines and Tschaggle, which is the lowest yielding clone, but often produces the most critically acclaimed wines. [1] Other known clones include Schiava Media and Schiava Piccola. [5]

In Württemberg, Trollinger was crossed with the white grape Riesling to produce the cross Kerner in 1929 (received varietal protection and was released for general cultivation in 1969). [6] The new crossing was named after the local poet and medical writer, Justinus Kerner. [4] The variety was also crossed with Muscat of Alexandria to produce Black Muscat. [2]

In 2010, DNA analysis suggested that the Emilia-Romagna wine grape Uva Tosca may be a natural crossing between Trollinger/Schiava Grossa and Crepallochi. [7]

Viticulture and confusion with other grapes

Trollinger is a late ripening variety, often ripening and being harvested much later than Riesling. [1]

In the Trento province, Trollinger is sometimes confused with the Italian/Slovenian wine grape Piccola nera. [7]

Wine regions

Trollinger vineyard in the city center of Stuttgart Kriegsberg.jpg
Trollinger vineyard in the city center of Stuttgart


The vast majority of the nearly 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres) of Trollinger in Germany are grown in the Württemberg around the town of Stuttgart and throughout the Neckar valley. The region is the fifth largest in Germany with nearly a third of all plantings in Württemberg being Trollinger. [1] [4] While there are several clones of the variety in Italy, nearly all of the Trollinger found in Germany is the high yielding Schiava Grossa clone. [3] Here the grape is often blended with Lemberger. [4]


In Italy it is a permitted variety in several Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)s including the Santa Maddalena DOC located east of the city of Bolzano in the South Tyrol/Alto Adige region. [3] There the grape must make up a minimum of 90% of the blend with Lagrein and Pinot noir permitted to round out the remaining 10%. Grapes are limited to a yield of 12.5 tonnes/hectare with the finished wine needing to attain a minimum alcohol level of 11.5%. Some producers use the German name "Saint Magdalener" on the wine labels. [5]

Vernatsch vineyard in the Trentino-South Tyrol region of Italy. Vernatsch tirol - widumraut.jpg
Vernatsch vineyard in the Trentino-South Tyrol region of Italy.

Other Italian DOCs where Trollinger/Schiava/Vernatsch is a permitted variety include: [5]

Wine styles

Schiava from an early 20th-century ampelography text. Schiava.JPG
Schiava from an early 20th-century ampelography text.
The grapes in this painting have been identified as the Prince Albert variety or Trollinger. The Walters Art Museum. Andrew John Henry Way - Bunch of Grapes - Walters 371887.jpg
The grapes in this painting have been identified as the Prince Albert variety or Trollinger. The Walters Art Museum.

The wine produced from the grape is mostly red, though some dark color rosé styles are also produced. In Württemberg, the wine is often slightly sweet with some residual sugar leftover after fermentation is completed. Most wines produced Trollinger are often consumed very young, usually within a year of the vintage date. [1] Italian styles of Schiava tend to be similarly light but are more often dryer and more noticeably acidic. [3]


In addition to Schiava and Vernatsch, Trollinger has several synonyms that the grape variety has been known under. These include: Admiral, Ägypter, Ägyptische, Ägyptischer, Aleksandriskii chernyi, Baccaria, Bacheracher, Bammerer, Barth der Alte, Bilsenroth, Black Gibraltar, Black Hambourg, Black Hamburg, Black Hamburgh, Black Prince, Black Tripoli, Blauer Trollinger, Blauwälsche, Bocksauge, Bocksaugen, Bocksbeutel, Bockshoden, Bockstraube, Braddick’s Seedling, Bruxelloise, Chasselas bleu de Windsor, Chasselas de Jérusalem, Chasselas de Windsor, Dachtraube, Dachtrauben, Dutch Hamburgh, Edel Vernatsch, Edelvernatsch, Fleischtraube, Frankentaler, Frankenthal, Frankenthal noir, Frankenthaler, Garston Black Hamburgh, Gelbholziger schwarzblauer Trollinger, Gelbholziger Trollinger, Gros bleu, Gros noir, Gros plant grand noir, Gross Italiener, Gross Vernatsch, Grosse race, Grosser Burgunder, Grossroth, Grossschwarzer, Grossvernatsch, Hammelshoden, Hammelsschelle, Hammelssohlen, Hampton Court Vine, Hudler, Huttler, Imperator, Khei-Khan, Knevet’s Black Hamburgh, Kölner Blau, Kreuzertraube, Lambert, Lamper, Languedoc, Lombard, Lugiana near, Maltheser Roth, Malvasier, Malvoisier, Maroquin d’Espagne, Meraner Kurtraube, Ministra, Modri Tirolan, Mohrendutte, Mohrentutte, Morrokin Barbaron, Nougaret grosse race, Pfundtraube, Plant de Paris, Pommerer, Pope Hamburgh, Prince Albert, Purple Hamburgh, Queen Victoria, Raisin bleu, Raisin bleu de Frankental, Raisin de Languedoc, Red Hamburgh, Rheinwein blau, Richmond Villa Hamburgh, Rothelbner, Salisbury violette, Schiavone, Schiavone di Merano nero, Schliege, Schwarzblauer, Schwarzblauer Trollinger, Schwarzer, Schwarzer Wälscher, Schwarzwälscher, Spanisch Blau, Straihntraube, Südtiroler Kurtrauben, Teplichnyi chernyi, Tirolan crni, Tirolinger, Trolinger, Troller, Trollinger blau, Trollinger gelbholzig, Trollinger weissholzig, Trollingi kék, Tschaggele, Uva Cenerente, Uva meranese, Uva near d’Amburgo, Valentines, Victoria, Victoria Hamburgh, Wälscher, Warner’s Hamburgh, Weissholziger Trollinger, Welke Burgundske, Welko modre, Zottelwälscher and Zottler. [9]

Related Research Articles

Dornfelder Variety of grape

Dornfelder is a dark-skinned variety of grape of German origin used for red wine. It was created by August Herold (1902–1973) at the grape breeding institute in Weinsberg in the Württemberg region in 1955. Herold crossed the grape varieties Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, the latter which bears his name, to create Dornfelder. Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe were both crosses created some decades earlier by Herold. Dornfelder received varietal protection and was released for cultivation in 1979. It was named in honor of Immanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld (1796–1869), a senior civil servant who was instrumental in creating the viticultural school in Weinsberg.

Breganze is a town in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. It is northeast of Via Romea. During World War II, the Germans were on one side of the river and the Allies were on the other, and a firefight occurred across the river.

Black Muscat Variety of grape

Black Muscat is a red Vitis vinifera grape variety derived from the crossing of the Schiava Grossa and Muscat of Alexandria by Seward Snow, Head Gardener to Earl de Grey at Wrest Park Bedfordshire England in 1850 according to the Vitis International Variety Catalogue. It is known under a variety of local names such as Golden Hamburg, and Black Hamburg in the US; Muscat de Hambourg in France; Moscato di Amburgo in Italy; and Muscat Gamburgskiy in Russia and former Soviet Union countries. Confusingly, Black Hamburg is also used as a synonym for its maternal parent. It is commonly produced as table wine but in California's Central Valley it has been used in the production of dessert wine. As a dessert wine it can be highly aromatic with a rich coloring. In the US it is grown in wine appellations in California, Virginia, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. In Canada, it is also found on Vancouver Island.

Kerner (grape) Variety of grape

The Kerner grape is an aromatic white grape variety. It was bred in 1929 by August Herold by crossing Trollinger and Riesling. Herold was working at a plant breeding station in Lauffen in the Württemberg region of Germany. This station belonged to a state breeding institute headquartered in Weinsberg. It received varietal protection and was released for general cultivation in 1969.

Verdeca is a white Italian wine grape variety that is primarily grown in the Colli Piacentini region of Emilia-Romagna in central Italy and Apulia in southern Italy where ampelographers believe that the grape may have originated. In Apulia, it is one of the main grapes in the Denominazione di origine controllata wines of Locorotondo DOC and Martina Franca DOC along with Bianco d'Alessano. In Campania, it is grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius where it used as a blending variety with Falanghina, Coda di volpe and Greco in both the white wines and the sweet dessert wine of the region, Lacryma Christi. It is also a minor component used in the some vermouth production.

Bombino bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety planted primarily along Italy's Adriatic coast line, most notably in Apulia. The vine is prone to high yields and often produces neutral flavor wines. The grape is known under many synonyms throughout Italy including Debit and Pagadebit, names which came from the grape's reputation for being a high yielding and reliable crop for vineyard owners to grow that would assure them that on each vintage they could pay off their debts.

Perricone is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown in Sicily. In the late 20th century there was around 1000 hectares/2,500 acres of the grape planted throughout the island. According to wine expert Oz Clarke in Sicily Perricone is used to make full bodied, deeply colored, highly alcoholic wines.

Abrusco is a red Italian wine grape variety grown primarily in the Tuscany region where it is a minor blending component permitted in the wines of Chianti. The grape has long history in the region and was mentioned in 1600, under its synonyms Abrostino and Colore, in the posthumously published work by Italian agronomist Giovan Vettorio Soderini Trattato della coltivazione delle viti, e del frutto che se ne può cavare. There Soderini notes that the grape was often used to add deeper, more red color to Tuscan wines.

Bombino nero is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown in southern Italy, particularly the regions of Apulia, Basilicata, and Lazio, as well as on the island of Sardinia. It is a permitted grape variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines of Castel del Monte and Lizzano. The grape is primarily a blending grape but it can also be used as a varietal for red and rosé wines. Though DNA evidence has shown that Bombino nero is not a dark-berried color mutation of the similarly named Bombino bianco, ampelographers still believe that the two varieties are related in some way.

South Tyrol wine Wine produced in South Tyrol, Italy

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Trentino wine

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Vien de Nus Variety of grape

Vien de Nus is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Valle d'Aosta DOC. It is particularly associated with the town of Nus where it is the primary grape in the Nus Rosso wine of the region. Outside of this region, the grape is rarely found elsewhere and is nearly extinct.

Verdiso Variety of grape

Verdiso is a white Italian wine grape variety grown primarily in province of Treviso in the Veneto wine region of northeast Italy. It is a permitted variety in the sparkling wine Denominazione di origine controllata DOC of Prosecco located north of the city of Treviso along the Piave river.

Nosiola Variety of grape

Nosiola is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown in the Trentino region north of Lake Garda in the Valle dei Laghi. Here it is used in varietal Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines and as a blending component in wines such as Sorni Bianco from Trento. It is also used to produce a dessert wine in the Vin Santo style from grapes that have been allowed to dry out prior to fermentation.

Neyret is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown in the mountainous Valle d'Aosta wine region of northwest Italy though most plantings are in the slightly less mountainous terrain of southeast Aosta Valley bordering the Piedmont wine region. DNA profiling has confirmed that the variety is a Vitis vinifera crossing of Mayolet and Roussin.

Negrara is a red Italian wine grape variety grown in north east Italy including the Veneto region where it is a permitted variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Amarone. While the grape was once more widely planted in the region its numbers have been steadily declining for most of the late 20th and early 21st century.

Abbuoto is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown primarily in the Lazio region of central Italy. Historically the grape was believed to be responsible for the Ancient Roman wine Caecubum that was praised by writers such as Pliny the Elder and Horace but historians and wine experts such as Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding note that connection is likely erroneous.

Rossola nera is a red Italian wine grape variety that has been growing in the Valtellina region of Lombardy since at least the 17th century. In 2004 DNA profiling determined that the grape has a parent-offspring relationship with the Piedmont wine grape Nebbiolo though which variety is the parent and which is the offspring is not yet clear. However, most ampelographers believe that Nebbiolo is likely the parent variety since written records in Piedmont have noted Nebbiolo being grown since at least the 13th century.

Piccola nera is a red Italian and Slovenian wine grape variety that is grown in the province of Trieste within the Friuli-Venezia Giulia wine region and across the border in neighboring Slovenia where ampelographers believe that the grape originated. Piccola nera, whose name means "little black", tends to produce to light bodied red and rosé wines that are meant to be consumed young. It is a permitted variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines of Carso where it is usually blended with Terrano and in Venezia Indicazione geografica tipica IGT classification where the grape can be used to make varietal wines.

Avanà is a red Italian wine grape variety that is grown in the Piedmont wine region of northwest Italy. Historically, the grape has also been grown in the Dauphiné and Savoie wine region of eastern France where it was known as Hibou noir and in the Valais region of Switzerland. The grape is most often used as a blending variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) zones of Pinerolese, with Barbera, Persan, Freisa and Neretta Cuneese, and Valsusa, with Barbera, Dolcetto, Neretta Cuneese and other local red Piemontese varieties.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 J. Robinson, Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes, pp. 171 and 191-192, Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN   0198600984.
  2. 1 2 Appellation America Black Muscat Grape details.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Oz Clarke: Encyclopedia of Grapes, pp. 229, 270 and 273 Harcourt Books 2001 ISBN   0-15-100714-4.
  4. 1 2 3 4 K. B. Stewart: A Traveller's Wine Guide to Germany, pp. 106-114. Aurum Press, London (1998) ISBN   1854105140.
  5. 1 2 3 P. Saunders: Wine Label Language, pp. 120–210. Firefly Books 2004 ISBN   1-55297-720-X.
  6. Stuart Walton, Understanding, Choosing and Enjoying Wine Hermes House 2006, p. 181 ISBN   0754800245.
  7. 1 2 J. Robinson, J. Harding and J. Vouillamoz: Wine Grapes - A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours, pp. 797, 1106. Allen Lane 2012 ISBN   978-1-846-14446-2.
  8. "Bunch of Grapes". The Walters Art Museum.
  9. Vitis International Variety Catalogue (VIVC) Schiava Grossa Accessed on 14 August 2020.