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The red grape variety originates from Portugal. Synonyms are Alvarelho, Allvarellao, Avarilhão, Brancelhão, Brancelho, Locaia, Pilongo, Pirruivo, Serradelo, Serradillo, Uva Gallega, Varancelha, Verancelha (Portugal); Albarello, Alvarello, Alvarello Gallego, Alvarelo, Brancellao, Brancellao Tinto, Brancello, Brencellao, Broncellao, Uva Negra (Spain). According to DNA analyses carried out in 1999, it is related to the variety Sercial (Esgana Cão); however, the exact parentage is unknown. Two somatic mutations are Brancellao Blanco (white berry colour) and Brancellao Rosado (red berry colour). However, the Spanish variety Planta Nova (with synonym Alvarelhão Branco) is an independent grape variety. Direct descendants are the varieties Alvarelhão Ceitão, Moscatel Galego Tinto and Roxo Rei. The early-maturing vine is susceptible to powdery mildew. It is mainly cultivated in Portugal, in the north in the DO areas of Dão, Douro and Vinho Verde, where it occupies a total of 2,860 hectares of vineyards. There are other small areas under vine in Argentina (6 ha), Australia (2 ha), Brazil (2 ha), Spain (28 ha), South Africa (12 ha) and in the USA in California. In 2016, a total of 2,910 hectares of vineyard area were designated. This puts the variety in 147th place in the global grape variety ranking (Kym Anderson statistics).

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