The Wines of Bologna and Modena


The Wines of Bologna and Modena

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Emilia Romagna is certainly famous for its food and drink tradition, but its winemaking culture is fascinating as well.

After the previous editions where we told about the excellence of the wines of Romagna and later of Emilia, today we move in the territories of Bologna and Modena to get to know the production their wine with their features and stories: it’s a fascinating and alluring world with a great variety and, most of all, quality.



Lambrusco | Photo © Caspar Diederik, via Wikimedia

Lambrusco is a red sparkling wine that boasts a century-old tradition and takes us back to the Roman times when wildlife was referred to with the term “lambrusca”. It is made starting from local wine varieties and its grapes are grown in the territories of Modena, Reggio Emilia and, to a lesser extent, of Parma and Mantua.

In the last decades, thanks to its peculiar features – frothy bubbles, a perfumed nose and a low alcohol content – it was able to hit the international market, becoming one of the most famous Italian wines in the world.

In the area of Modena, four Doc (wine with a registered designation of origin) have been recognised: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Doc, Lambrusco di Sorbara Doc, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce Doc e Lambrusco Modena Doc.


This wine with an unusual name is produced with the white berry wine variety Montù (Modena Dop Bianco) in the flat area crossed by the river Reno between Bologna and Modena. The etymology of its name is uncertain: some connect it to Spain, others to Montonico dell’Ascolano and some others to a term in the Bolognese dialect “molt’ù”, which means “many grapes”.

It is part of the Reno Dop designation, which counts, beyond Montuni, wines like Bianco and Pignoletto. It is a straw-yellow wine with a pleasant perfume and a dry and sweet taste.


Although it belongs to the Doc designation of Romagna, some Bombino Bianco wine varieties can be retraced in the surroundings of Imola. Pagadebit is an extremely versatile wine, able to pair with a great number of traditional local dishes thanks to its dry, perfumed and intense taste.



Pignoletto | Photo ©

Pignoletto is the wine-symbol of the Bolognese hills deriving from the wine variety Grechetto Gentile. In this area, there are two registered designations: Pignoletto Doc and Colli Bolognesi Pignoletto Docg.

This wine has very old origins: during the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder mentions in his work Naturalis Historia a wine called Pinum Laetum, but the first records in the area of Bologna date back to second half of the 16th century.

It is a very pleasant wine, exuberant and light-bodied, with a bright straw-yellow colour and a delicate perfume with a bitter end note. It’s the perfect choice for light white meat or fish dishes or as an appetizer.

Beyond the Bolognese hills, you can also find it in the provinces of Modena (with the designation Modena Dop Bianco) and on the hills of Imola and Rimini, where it takes the name “Rebola”.


Sangiovese is the undisputed king of the hill area that stretches from Rimini to Imola and it totally represents the soul of Romagna and its inhabitants: rough, frank and honest. The origin of its wine variety is uncertain and still debated, even if the most accepted theory is that it was born around the village of Santarcangelo di Romagna.

In the hills of Modena, being under the aegis of the DOC designation, it is a ruby-red wine produced using the namesake wine varieties – at least 85% – with purple reflections, a delicate perfume and a full-body, dry and balanced character.



Trebbiano | Photo ©

Trebbiano is the most renowned wine in Emilia Romagna. Even if it is mostly linked to the area of Ravenna, it is, nonetheless, produced in the surroundings of Imola (Colli di Imola Dop Trebbiano) and Modena (Modena Dop Bianco), and made for the most part with the namesake wine variety (at least 85%).

With a straw-yellow colour, a slightly perfumed aroma and a dry and savoury taste, it can be found even in its sparkling wine and spumante variant. It is the perfect wine to pair with second fish courses or light first courses, as well as snacks.


In this area, along with the most famous local wine varieties, many other wines are made – even if lesser amounts, which have reached peaks of excellence over the last years, such as Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, the delicate Riesling Italico and the full-bodied Sauvignon, along with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera. Especially this last one is a historical wine of the hills of Bologna, where a top quality production still exists and is in high demand in the international market.

Remember that…

Less than a 15 minute-distance from Imola, travelling towards its inland hills, you will arrive in Dozza, a fascinating medieval village surrounded by vineyards, which is very well-known for the multicoloured walls of its streets. This city is the site of the Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna (Emilia Romagna Regional Wine Promotion Body), which has been promoting and safeguarding regional wines since 1970: in the 1000 sqm-wine cellar are more than 800 labels, all strictly produced within regional borders.


Davide Marino was born archaeologist but ended up doing other things. Rational – but not methodic, slow – but passionate. A young enthusiast with grey hair

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