Arneis white wine variety

This elegant Italian white wine grape variety is creating a buzz in Australia. I regard it as being among the top half dozen new white varieties in Australia.

Cosa Nostra Arneis by Santolin from the Yarra ValleyCosa Nostra Arneis made by Santolin of the Yarra Valley

In its native Piedmont, especially in the regions of Roero and Langhe, Arneis produces elegant white wines with powerful aromas of almonds and peaches. The variety was much less popular in the 1970s, but has undergone quite a revival since then.

Interestingly, this variety is not used widely in any country outside Italy except in Australia, which in 2010 has over 13% of the acreage planted globally for Arneis.

A few Australian vineyards were using Arneis in the late 1990s but more recently the variety has gained popularity so that more than 60 wineries now make Arneis.

King Valley Arneis by ChrismontLa Zona Arneis by Chrismont in the King Valley
Quick facts about Arneis white wine varietyQuick facts about Arneis

The variety presents some problems in the vineyard - Its nickname in Italy is "little rascal" but better clones and handling have seen Arneis wines become more popular. One synonym for this variety is Nebbiolo Bianco.

In a similar role to Viognier in Shiraz, small quantities of Arneis have been used traditionally in Piedmont as blending material to soften wines made from the red variety Nebbiolo.

Australian Producers of Arneis

Medal winners

At the 2023 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 11 Arneis wines were judged.  Patch Wines of the Yarra Valley won a gold medal, Three silver and six bronze medals were awarded. 

  • Adelina Wines Clare Valley
  • Adina Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Alejandro Riverland
  • Amadio Adelaide Hills
  • Artwine Adelaide Hills
  • Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley
  • Aylesbury Estate Geographe
  • Beechtree Wines McLaren Vale
  • Billy Button Alpine Valleys
  • Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills
  • Bittern Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Boree Lane Wines Orange
  • Catherine Vale Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Centennial Vineyards Southern Highlands
  • Chalk Hill Winery McLaren Vale
  • Chalou Orange
  • Cherabino Margaret River
  • Chrismont King Valley
  • Cooks Lot Orange
  • Cupitt's Winery Shoalhaven Coast
  • Curlewis Geelong
  • D'Arenberg McLaren Vale
  • Dal Zotto Estate King Valley
  • Dalfarras Nagambie Lakes
  • De Bertolis Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen
  • De Bortoli Riverina
  • Dhiaga Mornington Peninsula
  • Di Lusso Estate Mudgee
  • Dromana Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • First Drop Barossa Valley
  • Fowles Wine Strathbogie Ranges
  • Goon Tycoons Margaret River
  • Helen's Hill Estate Yarra Valley
  • Hesketh Wines Barossa Valley
  • Holm Oak Northern Tasmania
  • Il Cattivo Currency Creek
  • Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley
  • K1 by Geoff Hardy Adelaide Hills
  • Kirrihill Estates Clare Valley
  • La Bise Adelaide Hills
  • La Madrina McLaren Vale
  • Landhaus Estate Adelaide Hills
  • Lazzar Wines Mornington Peninsula
  • Lonely Vineyard Eden Valley
  • Michelini Alpine Valleys
  • Millbrook Winery Perth Hills
  • Nashdale Lane Wines Orange
  • Nepenthe Adelaide Hills
  • Oakridge Yarra Valley
  • Ochota Barrels Adelaide Hills
  • Pankhurst Wines Canberra
  • Patch Yarra Valley
  • Patritti Wines McLaren Vale
  • Paul Nelson Wines Denmark
  • Peter Drayton Wines Hunter Valley
  • Petronio Yarra Valley
  • Pizzini Wines King Valley
  • Poppelvej Adelaide Hills
  • Renzaglia Central Ranges Zone
  • Rokkwell Granite Belt
  • Rowlee Wines Orange
  • Saddlers Creek Wines Hunter Valley
  • Sam Miranda Wines King Valley
  • Santolin Yarra Valley
  • Sassy Wines Orange
  • Stefano di Pieri Murray Darling
  • Symphonia King Valley
  • Tempus Two Hunter Valley
  • Ten Miles East Adelaide Hills
  • Tertini Wines Southern Highlands
  • The Lane Vineyard Adelaide Hills
  • Thick as Theives Yarra Valley
  • Vale Creek Wines Central Ranges Zone
  • Vinaceous Various
  • Vineyard 28 Geographe
  • Wise Wine Margaret River
  • Yacca Paddock Vineyards Adelaide Hills
  • Yarraloch Yarra Valley
  • Zerella (la Gita) McLaren Vale
Last update 4 Dec 2023

The flavours of Arneis

Initially Arneis wines in Australia can be a little neutral, perhaps because most vineyards were relatively young. But now, at their best, these wines can be complex, aromatic and redolent of almonds, pears, peaches and honey.

As aromatic white wines these are best served when young and fresh, but I have enjoyed Crittenden's Arneis with a few years of bottle age.

Some descriptions of Arneis

Perfume, fruity, apples, pears, white grapefruit, floral, citrus, anise, hint of herbs...

De Long's Wine Varietal Table

...subtly fruit-scented, full-bodied and tasting of ripe pears 

Wine Grapes Jancis Robinson 

Arneis and Food

Wines made from the Arneis grape are ideal accompaniments to seafoods, antipasti and salads.  But you can try them on their own as well.

In his book The Winelover Cooks Italian Brian St Pierre suggests pasta with squid or octopus.

Other Italian white Wine varieties in Australia

Arneis | Bianco d'Alessano | Cortese | Fiano | Friulano | Garganega | Greco di Tufo | Grillo | Moscato Giallo | Pecorino | Picolit | Prosecco | Trebbiano | Verduzzo | Vermentino
You can learn about Italian Wine Regions with this digital wine Map of Italy. Instant download.

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