Versoaln

Versoaln (or Versailler) is a white Italian winegrape variety that is grown in the South Tyrol wine region of northeast Italy. In the commune of Tisens, in South Tyrol, one of the world’s oldest vines is a Versoaln vine planted at Katzenzungen Castle that has been dated to be at least 350 years old by the viticulturists at the University of Göttingen.[1]

Variety of grape
A segment of the 350+ year old, 350m2 long Versoaln vine planted outside Katzenzungen Castle in South Tyrol.

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According to one legend, the Versoaln vine was once planted at Versailles and brought to Italy by the owner of Katzenzungen Castle

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According to legend, the Versoaln vine is named after the French royal Palace of Versailles that was home to King Louis XIV from where the vine was reportedly brought to Katzenzungen Castle by Grafen Schlandesberg. However, ampelographers doubt the validity of this origin theory due to lack of historical evidence as well as DNA evidence showing a connection between Versoaln and any known French wine grape variety.[1]

Ampelographers note that the root of Versoaln’s name in the local dialect of South Tyrol means “to secure with a rope” and could be a reference to the viticultural practice of trellising where the canopy of the vine is secured by rope or wires to a trellis. Another theory is that the name is derived from verdolen, which means “green” in the local language, and describes the deep green color of the berries before veraison.[1]

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