Although, it has long history of cultivation in this island, the vines are to be originally belonging to Sicily.
Arilla is grown exclusively in Ischia and is highly productive. Its high yielding property is perhaps the reason behind Arilla’s weak flavor.
Just one plant of Arilla vine is enough to produce around 10 kgs of grapes. Thus, they often blended with other Italian varieties such as Forastera, Biancollela and San Lunardo. Biancollela wine with Arilla grapes has fruity and floral note which is dry in nature.
Volcanic soil deposits on the Ischia’s south-facing slopes have benefitted arilla viticulture. Terrace tops of the households inhabiting this island serve as the vineyards for locals.
Efforts of local winemakers have enabled the existence of some Arilla varietals. Lovers of this particular wine outside this area are however few.
Continuous efforts are being made to improve the quality of Arilla varietals. Until that point is achieved, this wine is still being proved useful as a blending component.
Agrillo, Uva Rilla, Arilla, Rille, are some the names which are synonymous with Arilla and are mostly used locally.
The history of wine cultivation in Ischian island dates back to the Roman colonizing era. The vines are as old as 700BC.
The art of producing has ever since been practiced in this area which has produced excellent wines over centuries. Volcanic soil, mild climate and sea side have always benefitted wine growth.
Historical analysis shows that the Arilla grapevine actually came from Sicily; even then Arilla is no longer one of the Sicily’ss indigenous grapevine varieties.
It is, however, remains obscure whether this grapevine was introduced by the Romans, who perfected wines; or Greeks who discovered this island and had also inhabited Sicily. While Greeks introduced grape cultivation, the Romans introduced winemaking techniques.
Locals know it from the name Uva Rilla while references to Arilla in nineteenth century use the name Agrilla. Several books about wine written in that time period use the former name.
Viticulture has been an integral part of the lives of locals of Ischia. Its influenced can be experienced well in their wine’s qualities.
Arilla wines which are varietal in nature generally dry and have good tannin content as well as low acidity levels. Because of the high yield of its plants, arilla grapes produce wines of neutral taste.
The Agrilla berries are medium-sized, but the wine produced is rich and dense. Biancollela wine has the highest production of all the wines.
It uses at least 15% of blending of other grapes and Arilla variety plays an important in it. Forestera also requires its blending to produce the excellent taste in its youth.
Arilla berries are, however, prone to Oidium which is a vine-fungal disease. It is this particular disadvantage of Arilla vines which hinders its expansion and consumption.
Its week taste is also one of the reasons. However, controlling their high productivity can certainly induce some taste in wines.
Ian D’Agata proposes this idea as a result of his detailed conversations with the locals of that area.
Thanks to Ischian soil and terrier, wines produced in this region have been able to withstand competition from international brands.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂