Barbera is the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy as of 2000. Its major characteristics include deep colour, low tannins and high levels of acid which has to be dealt with while producing wine. It is believed that during the 13th century, Barbera originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy. There is a wide range of quality and variety of Barbera wines from medium bodied, fruity wines to more powerful, intense examples that need cellaring. With the help of reduced yield viticulture methods, wines with better balance between fruit and acid, often with the addition of oak and having a high alcohol content are more capable of cellaring.
Recent DNA evidence suggests that the French-Spanish vine Mourvedre may be related to Barbera.
Barbera is the third most widely planted red grape variety in Italy as of 2000, it covers over 70,000 acres (28,000 ha) of Barbera plantations.