Il Franconia

Geographical distribution

A common vine in France, Germany, former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and former Yugoslavia. In Italy, it is grown in Friuli, primarily in the provinces of Pordenone, Udine and Gorizia, as well as in the regions of Veneto, Trentino and Lombardy, in the province of Bergamo, where it is known as Imberghem. A number of synonyms are used to refer to the same vine, depending where it is grown. In Austria, where it originated, it is known as Blaufränkisch or Limberger, while in former Czechoslovakia it is known as Frankovka modrà. In France, it is called Limberger, Limberger Noir, or Noir de Franconie.

History and origin

The name comes from the early medieval name attributed in German-speaking lands to foreign grapes (“frankisch”) to distinguish them from local ones (“heunisch”). Franconia is a grape of Austrian origin whose precocity, productivity, and resistance to disease and adversity (especially winter weather) have made it popular in a number of wine-producing areas in France, Germany, former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, former Yugoslavia and Italy.

It was no doubt the influence of Hapsburg domination that brought Franconia beyond the borders of the Austrian Empire to Alsace and then to Italy.

Phenological properties

Budding: average (middle of April)
Ripening: third stage (end of September)

Growing traits and productive aptitudes

Vigour: vigorous, with tendency to drop back.

Fertility and production: good bud fertility, even of lower buds. Productivity is very good and constant.

Grapes and bunches when ripe: large pyramid-shaped winged bunches of average compactness. Large spherical grapes with a thick, bluish-black pruinose skin, difficult to remove from the stem.

Sensitivity to adversity and disease: fair resistance to peronospora, poor resistance to powdery mildew and botrytis, fair resistance to sour rot, especially in damp climates. Resistant to winter frost, but sensitive to late frosts in spring.

Training and pruning: the most common training method is espalier with a long pruning method such as Sylvoz or Casarsa.

Properties of the wine

Used exclusively for making monovarietal wines, though it is occasionally used to correct other wines. The monovarietal wine is a bright ruby red with a winy, fruity bouquet, medium to good body, soft, with good warmth and balanced freshness. It may be used to make good table wines or superior wines suitable for brief ageing.

Denominations in which the varietal is present

Friuli-Venezia Giulia:
– Friuli Isonzo or Isonzo del Friuli DOC
– Friuli Latisana DOC
– Terre del Colleoni or Colleoni DOC

Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto:
– Alto Livenza IGT
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige:
– delle Venezie IGT
– Veneto Orientale IGT
Friuli-Venezia Giulia:
– Venezia Giulia IGT
– della Bergamasca IGT

General Catalogue of the Cooperative Nurseries of Padergnone