Passerina is an ancient and traditional grape variety.
The variety differs considerably from region to region in terms of the wine it makes, but a familiar character of ripe citrus fruit unites Passerina wines. In Marche, the wines are sharper with an intense minerality whereas, on Italy's west coast, in Lazio the wines are softer with an almost creamy texture. Some ampelographers have suggested that Passerina is not one grape variety, but several, a hypothesis which is supported by this regional flavor disparity.
Passero is the Italian word for "sparrow", the bird known to Italian vinegrowers for its voracious appetite for ripe Passerina grapes. The Italian "–ina" suffix is a diminutive, and indicates the relatively small size of Passerina grapes.
Passerina also goes by the names Uva Passera, Campolese, and Trebbiano di Teramo, after the Teramo hills (Colli Teramane) in northern Abruzzo. It is even sometimes known as Pagadebit, meaning debt-payer, although this name is given to several high-yielding Italian grape varieties.
Passerina vines have mid-sized, pentagonal leaves and small grapes, which grow in medium-to-large clusters. The berry's skin is quite thick and ripens to a deep golden color. The grapes ripen with a high level of natural sugars, and have correspondingly high acidity, making for balanced wines in all but the hottest sites.