Synonyms: Aleatico di Spagna, Ciliegino, Ciliegiolo di Spagna, Ciliegiuolo, Ciriegiuolo dolce
Keywords: red wine and strawberry

Ciliegiolo is an ancient Italian variety, a parent of Sangiovese. Vigorous and moderately productive, it has pyramidal, compact clusters, with large round berries that smell of cherries, after which Ciliegiolo is named. Wine quality potential in the hot climate of the San Joaquin Valley was good, with adequate color and interesting flavors. In somewhat cooler climates it is even more highly regarded, with D’Agata (2014) considering it to be one of Italy’s greatest and most unappreciated grapes.

Berry Color: Black
Berry Maturity: Early Season to Mid-Season
Berry Size: Medium
Cluster Compactness: Well-filled
Cluster Size: Medium
Fruit Use: Wine
Product Flavor: red-cherry, berry
Pruning: Spur
Seeds: Seeded
Species / Varieties in Pedigree: Vitis vinifera
Vine Vigor: Moderate to High
Yield Potential: Moderate


Ciliegiolo clusters

Ciliegiolo clusters

Ciliegiolo leaves

Ciliegiolo leaves

Origins and History

Ciliegiolo is an ancient Italy variety, first documented in 1600 near Florence, in Tuscany (Robinson et al., 2012). Ciliegiolo’s name is a reference to cherries, which its berries and wines are said to smell of. Ciliegiolo is a parent of Sangiovese.

Vine Traits

Ciliegiolo is vigorous, with an upright habit, and benefits from an expansive training system (VCR, 2022). It is described as a reliable producer (D’Agata, 2014), but was not particularly productive in a San Joaquin Valley trial when trained to quadrilateral cordons and pruned to two-bud spurs (Tables 1, 2). Yields might be improved with longer pruning (VCR, 2022). It is not particularly susceptible to typical diseases.

Vineyard Considerations

Ciliegiolo is suited to a wide range of climates, but its shoots might not lignify adequately in cool climates in mechanized vineyards (VCR, 2022). It is vigorous and benefits from an expansive training system and long pruning (VCR, 2022).


Ciliegiolo wines are typically well colored, not particularly alcoholic or acidic, fruity, and best consumed young (VCR, 2022). Low acidity is considered it’s main fault, especially in warm climates (D’Agata, 2022). However acidity was relatively good in a trial in the San Joaquin Valley of California, a hot-climate region.



D’Agata, I. 2014. Native wine grapes of Italy. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Robinson, J., J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz. 2012. Wine Grapes. HarperCollins, New York


Matthew Fidelibus

Matthew Fidelibus

Cooperative Extension Specialist, Viticulture
University of California
Agriculture and Natural Resources


Lindsay Jordan

Lindsay Jordan

Article Submitted: January 09, 2023
Article Updated: