By Paul Caputo

The Durella grape is a thick skinned variety growing predominantly in the volcanic hills between Vicenza and Verona. As its name suggests, deriving from the Italian word for tough, it often produces steely, austere wines with little fruit character. As such, it is perhaps best appreciated as a sparkling wine.

In recent years its popularity has grown rapidly. The fashion for bubbles in a clean and crisp style, and the proximity of the large bottlers already making Prosecco and Franciacorta has meant that there has been an explosion in Durella sales, notably through the Lessini Durello DOC.

The grape itself is difficult to cultivate. Historically, growers have preferred the pergola system in a bid to protect it from the prevalent spring frosts that often strike in the Lessini mountains. Despite this, producers are inevitably seeking more commercial trellising approaches when planting new vineyards.