For decades, Aldo Vacca has been the Managing Director of the Produttori del Barbaresco, the best and most successful wine co-op in Europe. Through his leadership and guidance, the Produttori has taken its wines, and with it, the wines of Barbaresco beyond Piedmont in northeastern Italy, to world renown. Aldo’s job at the Produttori is not just an occupation, it is his family legacy and a professional choice he made that has benefitted all who love Nebbiolo.
Aldo took a degree in Viticulture at the Torino University and worked at the prestigious University of California at Davis, after which he got one of the most coveted jobs in Piedmont – he got a job working for Gaja in 1986. But after 4 years, he realized that rather than fame and modernism, he wanted to do something that celebrated the land of Barbaresco and all it represented. He followed in the footsteps of his great grandfather and used his infinite knowledge of Nebbiolo and his skills at management and hospitality, to transform the Produttori into one of the best-known brands in Italy.
I have spent time with Aldo. He’s brilliant, cheeky, and passionate, and after two years, I’m so happy to have finally gotten him on the show. Aldo speaks to groups about the Produttori all the time, has been in lots of media, and he is absolute pro. This is a great show!
Here is a general outline of what we discuss:
- We discuss the harvest that just was (2022) – what was hard, what was normal, and the changes that the Barbaresco region has endured as climate change has taken hold here.
- Aldo discusses his family legacy in Barbaresco and how it ties into the region’s development. He tells us about the hard times in the region and how the Cantine Sociali and then the Produttori were formed to address the social and economic challenges of grape farmers in the 1800s and then again in the mid 1900s.
- We learn about the structure of the Produttori and how its quality standards, efficiency, and generosity make it so successful. Aldo tells us how the Produttori has managed to hold its members to such high standards.
Photo: Bottling at the Produttori del Barbaresco in May 2022
(c)Wine For Normal People
- We get into the details on some of the logistics, the management and membership structure, and the winemaking philosophy (to let Barbaresco shine!). We discuss the extras the members get – knowledge sharing, status and prestige by being part of the Produttori, and the incentives to farm for quality not quantity. And why owning great land yields to great results – they own pieces of the best vineyards.
- Aldo tells us about the Barbaresco DOCG – the land, factors that make it different from Barolo, and the overview of the style of wine here. He talks about the MGA system (he refers to it as single vineyard, which is what they are) and what it means for the area.
- Aldo and I talk about the wines the Produttori makes, we discuss the flagship Barbaresco and how it is made, and the very affordable and delicious Langhe Nebbiolo, an important product to show people who are just getting into Nebbiolo what it can do and be. Aldo also helps us understand their single vineyard wines and why each expresses something so unique and individual, based on site
Photo: Aldo Vacca educates Wine For Normal People Patrons
(c)Wine For Normal People
- We end with a conversation of why the new generation of winemakers and land owners in Barbaresco is so great and Aldo’s great hope for a bright future for Barbaresco and the Produttori.
Here are links to all the wines the Produttori makes:
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