When ripe, the cluster is medium-sparse to compact and conic in shape, more-developed clusters are winged.
At maturity, the grapes are medium-sized, of a regular spherical shape with persistent pedicel attachment, not very visible, circular transversal section, glaucus skin, evenly-distributed blue-black color; the skin is thick and strong, juice ranges from clear to very light pink and the pulp is sweet and juicy.
The Franconia varietal is also known by the name Blaufrankisch.
It is of Austrian origin, specifically from Nieder-Osterreich or southern Austria. It is common in some wine-growing areas in France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Italy.
In Italy it is present in Friuli (in the provinces of Pordenone, Udine and Gorizia), in Lombardy (province of Bergamo) and in Veneto (province of Treviso).
It spread in Italy thanks to its early ripening, yields, resistance to disease and poor conditions, especially weather conditions, such as cold winters.
Starting in 1870, thanks to the influence of the Hapsburg rule, the Blaufrankish variety was exported to those countries bordering the Austrian empire and was cultivated in Alsace (where it is known as as Limberger, Limberger Schwartz, Blauer francischer or Blaufrankische) and in Germany (where the preferred names were Lemberg, Limberger or Blauer Limberger). In France, starting in the years 1875-1900 it was cultivated in the central regions (department of Cher) and central south (department of Puy de Dome) and was known by the name Limberger or Limberger noir. In Moravia and Slovakia it is known as Frankovka, Francon blau or Moravka. In Hungary it is known as Kelifrankis (Franconia blu). In Croatia as SgarzeFrankische or Frankinja crna.
In Italy, the cultivation of Blaufrankisch, which Rovasenda (1887) cites as Blaufranchieser, extends towards the east of North Italy, especially following the appearance of phylloxera.
In Italy, up until the 1950s, it was more commonly known as Blaufrankisch or Limberger, later to be replaced by Franconia.
The name Franconia certainly arrives from frankisch, a medieval term used to designate German-speaking foreigners.
In Friuli, there exists confirmation that Franconia was cultivated as early as 1879, a year earlier than in the province of Venice at Caorle (1877), while there are records of its spread to the province of Bergamo only after the year 1929.
It is not a very common variety in Italy. Currently (2009), cultivation in the province of Bergamo is about 40 hectares, mostly on hillsides; in Friuli, where it began to spread starting in 1920, it is cultivated around Udine, Gorizia and in the areas of Cervignano and Palmanova.
In the Treviso area it is cultivated in Motta di Livenza at the Moletto winery on a surface area of nine hectares.
The Franconia variety was definitely introduced to Motta di Livenza in the area known as "Moletto" between the two world wars, finding there the soil suited to fully meeting our expectations as producers.
In 1960, the year in which the Moletto winery was founded and Commendatore Mario Stival purchased the land for it, there was one vineyard whose variety was unknown. The grapes were known as Areoplaz and the excellent wine produced from them was called, at the time, Rosso Moletto.
Given the unusual and distinctive characteristics of this vine (very large leaves, vigorous plant growth, low sensitivity to attacks of Plasmopara viticola, good yields and a different anthocyanic profile) and a desire to get to know more about it, in the late 1960s, collaboration began between the Moletto winery and the Istituto per la Ricerca in Viticoltura (Viticulture and Wine-making Research Institute) in Conegliano (province of Treviso). Research was initiated to identify the characteristics of the vine that made it possible, in the 1990s, to understand that the variety being studied was the Franconia and the Moletto winery became the owner of the mother vines.
In addition, the Moletto winery's sponsorization led to the clonal selection of the variety, making it possible, today, to draw on the Franconia mother vines cultivated at the Moletto winery to propagate the species.
A further development in the history of Moletto Franconia was further testing conducted at the winery over the two-year period 2007-2008 by Dr. Nicoletta Destro in preparation of her doctoral research thesis in Vine and Wine-making Science and Technology, entitled "Clonal selection applied to two presumed biotypes of the CV Franconia" (faculty advisor Dr. Tomasi), which was presented to the Agricultural Department of the University of Padua at Conegliano on December 2009.