The first citation of Grignolino dates to the end of the 18th century but it is quite probable that it was already well known in previous periods, for it seems to have been used in making the "chiaretti" or light red wines. Its original area has been identified as the district between Asti and Casale, which is still today the principal center of production. However, cultivation has expanded westward through the province of Alessandria toward Tortona.
Some experts say the name Grignoline is derived from "grignole", a word that refers to the large number of seeds of the variety’s grapes. Other say the name was derived from the verb "grignare", which means "to laugh" in the dialect of Asti.
With the passage of time and the accumulation of experience and with the improvement of vinification techniques, Grignolino d'Asti has come to occupy an important place in total Piedmontese wine production. It was therefore accorded Denominazione di Origine Controllata recognition in 1974.