Ye olde “controspalliera” and a better translation of Nizza DOCG appellation regulations.

After searching in vain for a decent translation of the Nizza DOCG appellation regulations, I finally rolled up my sleeves and rendered the text into English myself.

You’ll find the Italian version on the Nizza DOCG consortium website, which includes a — let’s just say — loose English translation.

My new translation appears on my client Amistà’s site here.

One of the things that kept popping up in the less than adequate translations was the archaic and increasingly anachronistic term controspalliera. No one seems to know how to translate it (until now).

By the early 20th century, it was already used to denote vines that were trained using a vertical trellis system as opposed to a wall or a pergola. And the terms controspalliera and spalliera were used and are still used today interchangeably.

This morning I rang up my good friend, Maurizio Gily, one of Italy’s most in-demand vineyard managers, and widely read author and editor, publisher of Mille Vigne.

He told me that today the term is used to distinguish the systems Guyot and cordon (mainly although not exclusively) from pergola or tendone training.

The terms controspalliera and spalliera have (false) cognate in espalier, a term borrowed from French. But as Maurizio pointed out, the Italian terms denote a vine trained using a vertical trellis. Not a “free” trellis where the shoots can point down. That’s the key point.

As always, I’m open to suggestions that can improve my work so far. So please feel free to reach out if you have thoughts, questions, or comments.

Check out my translation here.

Thanks for being here and thanks for speaking and loving Italian wine!

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