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Like many grapes that are widely planted, there is a wide range of quality and variety of Barbera wines from medium bodied, fruity wines to more powerful, intense examples that need cellaring. Some characteristics of the variety are more consistent - namely its deep ruby color, pink rim, noticeable levels of tannins and pronounced acidity. The acidity of Barbera make it a valued plantings in warm climate regions where acidification is usually needed. The color of Barbera makes it a value blending grape and it was historically used in the Barolo & Barberesco region to add color to the naturally light Nebbiolo grape.

The use of oak for fermentation or maturation can have a pronounced influence of the flavor and profile of Barbera. Barrel influenced Barbera tend to be rounder, richer with more plum and spice notes. Wines made with older or more neutral oak tend to have more vibrant aromas and cherry notes. While some producers delay harvest in order to increase sugar levels as a balance to Barbera's acidity, over ripeness can lead to raisiny flavors.

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