It seems as though each Italian vineyard has been analyzed and cataloged, yielding a slew of terms that help to distinguish the best Italian vineyards from all the rest. Some of these names are so similar to other commonly used words that it might be confusing (but we’re going to fix that), while others seem rooted in a specific region’s dialect. Don’t worry, we’ll have all the Italian vineyard designations sorted out in due time. Let’s begin with the following list of Italian vineyard designations.
Vigna is the Italian term for “vine”. Vigne is the plural. Vigna or vigne is often used as a casual way to refer to a vineyard, or part of a vineyard. Sometime you might see Le Vigne del XXXX as a reference on a wine label, referring to the vines of XXXX as the source of the grapes used for said wine, though this is not an officially recognized term.
Vigneto is the standard Italian term for “vineyard.” It refers to a specific parcel of land used to cultivate grapes, usually for the production of wine. It is often found on the label of an Italian wine, followed by the name of the vineyard.
Vigneti is the plural form of vigneto. It is rare to find this term used on an Italian wine label, and when you do it generally refers to a winery, which is named, as in this case, the vineyards of Massa.
Vitigno refers to a specific variety of vine. It’s a hard phrase to translate into English. It roughly translates into “variety," but is used exclusively with grape vines. In common usage it can be translated as “varietal," although when used correctly in English, varietal is an adjective used to describe a wine made from a specific grape variety.
Bricco or Bric
Bricco, or bric, is one of the most common terms found on Italian wine label, primarily on Piedmontese wines. The terms are somewhat interchangeable and generally refer to the top of a hill. For various reasons this may not equate with the warmest pockets on a hillside, but they certainly benefit from great sun exposure.
The bricco were historically identified as the piece of a hill where the snow first melted away. I have heard that bricco is also an Old Italian term for “kettle” or “cast iron cauldron,” which would lend credence to the idea that is denotes a warm spot rather than simply a hilltop.
Ronco also means hilltop or hillside vineyard, and is used in Friuli. In Trentino, the term ranga has the same meaning.