Nero d'Avola ("Black of Avola" in Italian) is "the most important red wine grape in Sicily" and is one of Italy's most important indigenous varieties. It is named after Avola in the far south of Sicily and its wines are compared to New World Shirazes, with sweet tannins and plum or peppery flavours. It also contributes to Marsala blends. 


"The Black Grape of Avola" appears to have been selected by growers near Avola (a small town in south east Sicily) several hundred years ago. Initially, it was confined to the southern tip of the island but more recently has spread throughout the island. It is also known as Calabrese, suggesting origins in Calabria on the mainland. Also known as "Calabrese", would lead us to believe the source from Calabria. In fact, even though it was possible to reconstruct the origins of this red grape variety planted for centuries almost exclusively in Sicily and is one of the best red grapes of the region. It has many synonyms, including "Calabrese d'Avola", "Calabrese black", "Calabrese pizzutello", "Calabrese sweet." The producers of the island voted to use it as frequently by itself for producing wines of finesse and aromatic body, often capable of long aging. 

Wine regions

Follows, by region, a list of all DOC and DOCG where use is permitted of this vine:


  •  Cerasuolo di Vittoria: 0 to 60%
  •  County Sclafani: 0 to 50% (with mention of the vine)
  •  Contessa Entellina: 0 to 50%
  •  Delia Nivolelli: if so, min. 65%
  •  Eloro: min. 85% (80% if sub Pachino)
  •  Faro: max. 15%
  •  Marsala: 0 to 70%
  •  Memphis: min. 70% (with mention of the vine)
  •  Monreale: min. 50% (with mention of the vine)
  •  Ries: min. 80% ( with mention of the vine) 
  •  Sambuca di Sicilia: min. 50% ( with mention of the vine)
  •  Santa Margherita di Belice: 20 to 50% (with mention of the vine)
  •  Sciacca: min. 70% (with mention of the vine) 

Viticulture and winemaking

The vine likes hot arid climates. The districts around Noto (above all Buonivini, Bufalefi and Maccari) and Pachino in the south of the province of Siracusa are renowned for the quality of their Nero d'Avola grapes 

Total plantings of the variety fell by a third in the 1980s to about 14,000 ha/34,600 acres in 1990 (only a fraction of the island's area devoted to the white Catarratto grape), but high-quality-minded producers on the island value the body and ageing potential which Nero d'Avola can bring to a blend. Varietal Nero d'Avola has shown itself as a fine candidate for oak maturation. The area of Avola itself is in the southern part of the province of Siracusa and nearby Pachino, on the extreme south eastern tip of the island, it is particularly renowned for the quality of its Nero d'Avola grapes.

Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs

It has large leaves, orbicular, entire; medium cluster, conical, with a wing, often compact, medium berry, ellipsoidal or oval, moderately thick blue skin. It has regular production, it prefers slightly expanded methods of growing.

Diseases and adversity

It is quite resistant to adverse climatic conditions and fungal diseases.