The Primitivo of Gioia del Colle

The Primitivo di Gioia del Colle is an excellence of the Apulian territory and one of the most prized grapes in Italy. The name derives from the characteristic early ripening of the Primitivo grape, which is why it was called by the botanist Don Francesco Filippo Indellicati "primativus" that means "first to ripen".

Through studies and research, Francesco Filippo Indellicati (1767- 1831) selected and planted the first Primitivo vine in Gioia del Colle at the end of the 1700s, a variety that asserted itself and became increasingly important throughout the surrounding Murgia area of Bari, including the countryside of Santeramo il Colle, Altamura and Acquaviva delle Fonti. Today Gioia del Colle boasts the name of Città del Primitivo and for this reason in 2004 it wanted to remember the place where Indellicati built the first plant of this important variety with a dedicated commemorative stone.
  • The stone of Primitivo at Gioia del Colle
  • Primitivo Gioia del Colle
  • Primitivo Gioia del Colle

Origins of the Primitivo grape

The origin of the cultivation of Primitivo in Puglia is documented, it is known that during his botanical research on the vines Don Francesco Filippo Indellicati selected the one that reached maturity before the others and could be harvested as early as the end of August with dark grapes and from rich taste. At the end of the 1700s (some sources indicate 1799), Indellicati built the first plants of Primitivo (Primaticcio) in Gioia del Colle. Given the success of this crop for yield and quality of the wine produced, the cultivation rapidly extended to the neighboring territories of the Murgia of Bari. Subsequently the Primitivo also spread in the territories in the province of Taranto, and Brindisi where in the same way it became the most important wine, finding its reference center in Manduria.

The origins of the Primitivo vine, on the other hand, have long been debated among scholars and ampelographers, who at first brought them back to the era of the Phoenician and later Greek colonization of the coastal areas of southern Italy. Starting from the early Middle Ages, they attributed its diffusion in the internal areas of the Murgia of the Terra d’Otranto to the work of the Basilians known for having settled in the numerous rock complexes. These were then followed by the Benedictine monks whose work is attested in Puglia between the 11th and 18th centuries.

This debate was then joined by the question concerning a particularly important grape variety cultivated for over a century overseas, Zifandel, in particular in California, from which a full-bodied and pleasant wine such as Primitivo is obtained and whose similarities have captured the attention of scholars.

A 2001 study by the University of Zagreb shed light on the question of the origin of the Primitivo grape. Genetic tests were conducted on a significant number of plants in the area of ​​Kastel Novi in ​​Croatia where a vine, no longer vinified, was found to be genetically identical to both Primitivo and Zifandel. This clarified the fact that the Primitivo vine arrived in Puglia from Croatia and was subsequently also introduced to America where it took the name of Zifandel.

From all sources emerges the historical vocation of the Apulian territory in the cultivation of vineyards and in the production of wine since the distant epochs of Phoenician (1,600 BC) and Greek colonization, production that became increasingly important and specialized up to the Primitivo, today wine of excellence produced in the countryside of Gioia del Colle.

DOC Gioia del Colle: Controlled Denomination of Origin

imageDOC Gioia del Colle Decree 11/05/1987, Italian Official Gazette n. 248 of 23/10/1987
Established in 1987, the Denomination of Origin Gioia del Colle includes a territory that extends around the City of Gioia del Colle, the entire municipal territory, including that of the neighboring municipalities present on the Murgia plateau at an average altitude of 400- 500 meters above sea level. The municipalities affected by the DOC Gioia del Colle are: Acquaviva delle Fonti, Adelfia, Casamassima, Cassano Murge, Castellana Grotte, Conversano, Gioia del Colle, Grumo Appula, Noci, Putignano, Rutigliano, Sammichele di Bari, Sannicandro di Bari, Santeramo in Colle , Turi, and in part Altamura.

The Murgia, a characteristic territory of the Gioia del Colle Denominationo f Origin, is a limestone plateau with rocky outcrops, the soils are distinguished by the typical red color due to the residues of the dissolution of limestone rocks, containing oxides and hydroxides of iron and aluminum. They are soils particularly suited to the cultivation of vineyards that have low yields per hectare, great minerality and good acidity. They are ideal soils for the production of quality wine.

The Gioia del Colle DOC covers nine types of wine: White, Red, Red Riserva, Rosato, Primitivo, Primitivo Riserva, Aleatico Dolce Naturale, Aleatico Dolce Riserva and Aleatico Liquoroso Dolce, among which the most important and well-known is Primitivo.

Characteristics of the Primitivo di Gioia del Colle

The Primitivo di Gioia del Colle DOC is one of the types of wine foreseen by the denomination of controlled origin, it is an intense wine coming from fine grapes, dark in color and with a sweet and full-bodied flavor when ripe.

The characteristics of the wine are:

Grape variety

Primitivo 100%

Wine composition
Primitivo 100%

Red color, still, dry wine

Olfactory profile
Delicate, characteristic

Pleasant, full-bodied, harmonious

Alcoholic content