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The red grape variety comes from Greece. Synonyms are Balsamina Nera, Barsami, Deykaditiko, Lefcas, Lefkada, Lefkaditiko, Lefkas, Leukaditiko, Martzami, Marzavi, Varsami, Vartzami, Varzami and Versami. There is a presumption that there is a common ancestor with the Italian variety Marzemino. Allegedly Vertzami is said to have been imported from Italy during the Venetian rule in the 14th century. However, genetic and historical evidence for this is missing. The ancestry (parentage) is unknown. There is also a white variety called Vertzami Lefko (Asprovertzamo, Vertzami Aspro). It is not known if it is a colour mutation or if there is a genetic connection.

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