In Piedmont, viticulture occupies a fundamental position in the agricultural sector of the region. In 2009 the production was over 2,858,000 hl of wine, with a clear prevalence of red wines, a tradition already appreciated in Roman times and with consolidated roots in the Langhe, in the Monferrato and in the Asti area.
In Piedmont the vineyards are almost all in the hills, a guarantee of quality and prestige; the climate, the land, the vines and the competent and passionate intervention of man, do the rest.
The most widespread vines are Barbera, which covers 1/3 of the cultivated area, diffused in different areas, in which it expresses its character in a different way. Always with excellent acidity, in the Alba area it gives more structured wines with a good tendency to refinement, in the Monferrato and in the Asti area, which are more fresh and fruity.
Other important vines are white moscato, dolcetto, defined as the wine of Piedmontese, the courtly, with structure and delicate aromas of fruit and white flowers, the freisa, with nuances of flowers and small red fruits, the bracchetto, fresh and aromatic, and grignolino, from which we obtain pleasant but not very structured wines.
The prince of Piedmontese vines, however, is Nebbiolo, with very dense and small berries, dark blue in color, very sensitive to the slightest differences in soil and climate, the father of the greatest Piedmontese reds. Barolo and Barbaresco stand out above all, but also Gattinara, Ghemme and Roero, as well as Boca, Fara, Lessona, Bramaterra and others, can express their excellent personality. Barolo, king of wines and wine of kings, linked to ancient traditions, today is at the center of a sort of philosophical dualism between those who continue to produce it in an absolutely traditional way, with aging in large barrels, and those that prefer a passage in smaller barrels, to more quickly soften the decisive and austere tannins.
Among the white grape vines, about half compared to the red ones, the white muscat excel, from which the Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti are obtained; of the first, in 2002 more than 80 million bottles were produced, one third of all the national sparkling wine production and about half of the region's VQPRD, most of which sold on foreign markets where it is the highest estimator.
In the last few years, in the Langhe - for centuries the only undisputed realm of great reds - some international vines with white grapes, especially chardonnay, are cropping an important space with high quality products, such as with the Alta Langa DOC.
In addition to the production of sparkling wines of all types, obtained with the refermentation in bottles and autoclaves, dried and sweet, Piedmont is also noted for that of aromatized wines, such as Vermouth and Barolo Chinato.