How do you translate “spargolo” into English? Italian wine term glossary updated

Please click here for the updated glossary (March 21, 2019).

old vine proseccoAbove: note how the Glera bunch above is loosely clustered (spargolo in Italian). Photo taken in late August 2015 in the Monfumo vineyard of my client Bele Casel.

Today’s update of my Glossary of Italian Wine Terms includes a number of new entries (see below; complete glossary follows).

As I was working on the update, I spent some extra time on the entry for spargolo (loosely clustered).

Glera, the main grape used in Prosecco, has loosely clustered bunches. And I noted that in the English Wiki entry for Glera, grappolo spargolo is listed as one of the grape’s synonyms.

That sounded fishy to me. And after checking with multiple reference works of ampelography, I found no Italian resource that lists grappolo spargolo as an accepted ampelonym.

Luca Ferraro, my friend and client, who grows Glera for his family’s Bele Casel estate in Asolo, wrote me that Glera is sometimes locally called Prosecco spargolo. But he had never heard the name grappolo spargolo.

Unfortunately, many English-language bloggers have simply copied and pasted the erroneous information from the Wiki entry into their own posts and I discovered myriad instances where people list grappolo spargolo as a synonym.

One of the reasons why growers like Glera is that it has loosely clustered bunches, making it less susceptible to rot because moisture doesn’t accumulate as readily between the berries as it does with other grape varieties.

The bunch in the photo above comes from old-vine Glera and it’s a great example of a loosely clustered bunch.

I’m always looking for suggestions for new entries in the glossary and I’m constantly updating and tweaking my work. So if you have a correction or suggestion, please let me know in the comment section.

I hope readers find the glossary useful. Thanks for speaking Italian wine!

New entries:

capo a frutto fruit cane
cordone cordon
grappolo spargolo loosely clustered grape brunch
pedicello pedicel
peduncolo stem (peduncle)
rachide rachis
raspo stem
spargolo (grappolo spargolo) loosely clustered (grape bunch)
sperone spur
svinatura racking (devatting, drawing off)

Complete glossary (to date):

a giropoggio east-west row orientation
a ritocchino north-south row orientation
acciaio [inossidabile] stainless-steel [vat/tank]
affinamento aging
alberello head-trained [vines]
allegagione fruit set
allevamento training
argilla clay
arresto di fermentazione stuck fermentation
assemblaggio blend
azoto nitrogen
barbatella grafted cutting
barrique barrique [small French oak cask]
bâtonnage stirring on the lees
biodinamica biodynamics/biodynamic
biologico organic
botte traditional large cask
bucce skins
Cabernet [Sauvignon] Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Franc Cabernet Franc
calcare/calcareo limestone/calcareous [limestone-rich]
capo a frutto fruit cane
cappello sommerso submerged cap maceration
chioma canopy
cordone cordon
cordone speronato cordon-trained spur-pruned [vines]
cru vineyard designation/single vineyard
cuvée blend
délestage rack and return
deraspare/deraspatrice de-stemm/de-stemmer
diradamento pruning/thinning grapes/dropping fruit
diserbante termico weed torch/weed flamer
DOC DOC [designation of controlled origin]
DOCG DOCG [designation of controlled and guaranteed origin]
DOP PDO [Protected Designation of Origin]
doppio capovolto double-arched cane [training]
esca esca [alt.: black dead arm or black measles]
escursione termica [diurnal] temperature variation
fementazione arrestata stuck fermentation
femminella lateral shoot
flavescenza dorata grapevine yellows (flavescence dorée)
follatura punching down
galestro galestro [a marl- and limestone-rich subsoil unique to Tuscany]
giropoggio east-west row orientation
grappa grappa
grappolo cluster/bunch
grappolo spargolo loosely clustered grape brunch
Guyot Guyot
IGP PGI [Protected Geographical Indication]
IGT IGT [typical geographical indication]
leccio holm oak
lievito naturale native/ambient/indigenous/wild yeast
lievito selezionato cultured yeast
limo silt
macchia mediterranea Mediterranean maquis [shrubland]
maestrale (vento di maestrale) north-westerly wind
malolattica malolactic fermentation
marna/marne marl
millerandage millerandage [alt.: shot berrieshens and chicks, or pumpkins and peas]
monovitigno single-grape variety [wine]
mosto must
oidio oidium [powdery mildew]
pedicello pedicel
peduncolo stem (peduncle)
peronospora peronospora [downy mildew]
pied de cuve pied de cuve [native yeast starter]
pigiatura pressing
pirodiserbatore weed torch/weed flamer
pirodiserbo weed torching
portinnesto rootstock
quercia oak
rachide rachis
raspo stem
rimontaggio pumping over
ritocchino north-south row orientation
sabbia/sabbioso sand/sandy [sandy soil]
Sauvignon [Blanc] Sauvignon Blanc
scacchiatura disbudding
siccità/stress idrico hydric stress
sistema di allevamento training
sottosuolo subsoil
sovescio cover crop/green manure
spargolo (grappolo spargolo) loosely clustered (grape bunch)
sperone spur
spollonatura disbudding
stralciatura deshooting
stress idrico/siccità hydric stress
sulle bucce skin contact [macerated on the skins]
sulle fecce nobili lees aged [aged on its lees]
sur lie lees aged [aged on its lees]
svinatura racking (devatting, drawing off)
terreno/terreni soil
tignola della vite vine moth [Eupoecilia ambiguella]
tralcio shoot/cane
tramoggia hopper/feeder
tufo tufaceous subsoil [porous limestone]
vasca vat/tank
vento di maestrale north-westerly wind
vigna/vigne vine/vineyards
vigneto vineyard
vinaccia/vinacce pomace
vite vine
vitigno grape variety

11 thoughts on “How do you translate “spargolo” into English? Italian wine term glossary updated

  1. Pingback: Nibbles: Seeds, Climate models, Stonehenge’s food, Loosely clustered grapes

    • Maurizio, please let me explain ritocchino and girapoggio: these are not references to the compass but rather conventions of English-language wine parlance. I assure you that those are the correct translations. Re. grappolo spargolo, loose bunch doesn’t render the concept. And again, if you read vineyard management technical literature, you’ll find that the most commonly used expression (in English) for what Italians call grappolo spargolo is loosely clustered. I need to do a post on girapoggio and ritocchino. The idea behind the glossary is that it is an index of conventional translations used in common practice. I assure you that my English is actually pretty good and I read a lot of wine writing, technical and otherwise. I’ve spent a lot of time working on this. It’s not just willy nilly.

  2. Dear friend, I apologize if I annoyed you. Your English is superb, mine is really poor, and your Italian is perfect. About grappolo spargolo I didn’t say the translation is wrong, it is perfect, I only say we use “loose bunch” in the common spoken language among viticulturists, but probably it is not good English. About rittochino and girapoggio, the terms refer to the orientation of the row along, or perpendicular, to the line of the slope. So it doesn’t matter if west-east or north-south.

    • Maurizio, no worries and thanks for the follow up.

      Re. ritocchino etc., again, my translations are the linguistic conventions. In this case, north-south doesn’t refer to orientation with regard to actual north and south but rather the rows orientation with respect to the slope itself.

      Have you ever heard the expression, “it went south”? South is a metaphor in this case, meaning it went “downhill” (another metaphor that has nothing to do with spatial relations) or “badly.” I’ll do a post on this because so many people from Italy write me about this.

      Re. loose bunch. Grammatically, a “loose bunch” would be a bunch that is not attached to anything (or it could be that). That’s why loosely clustered bunch is a more exact rendering.

      Thanks for being here, as always. You know how much I respect your input here. :)

  3. Pingback: How do you translate “spargolo” into English? Italian wine term glossary updated | Omni Wines

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