Pecorino, a grape variety that probably originated in the Marche, was grown in that Region, Abruzzo, Umbria, Lazio and Puglia in the mid-19th century. Because of its low yields, growers preferred to abandon this variety in favour of other, higher-producing ones. Its revaluation and consequent replanting by a local producer led to its return to the Marche.
The success obtained by vinifying Pecorino as a 100% varietal earned the cultivar, in 2001, D.O.C. status as Pecorino di Offida. Pecorino ripens early, usually in the first half of September, and in spite of a certain adaptability that has facilitated its spread to several Italian Regions, it prefers a cool climate and highish hilly zones. It bears the same name as the cheese and even though there is no definite explanation for this shared name it is believed that it may derive from the seasonal migrations of shepherds and their flocks that take place in the Regions in which cultivation of the grape variety has been developed.
In Abruzzo, Pecorino is also used for the production of sparkling wine (in the D.O.C. zone of Controguerra) and here wineries are starting to experiment with vinifying it as a varietal wine as well as in blends with other grapes. It is called by different names in each Region: in Puglia it is referred to as Uva Piccoletta or Uvina, in Umbria as Uva delle Pecore or Uva Pecorina while in Lazio it is known as Trebbiano Vicio and is used especially as a minor component in dry white wines.
Wines made from Pecorino have good levels of alcohol and acidity, characteristics that allow them to age well.