G.D. Vajra - Piedmont, Italy
In 1968 Aldo Vaira, while still at university, essentially took over the family farm in Vergne, a village in the western part of the Barolo commune. One story is that he was sent there as punishment for having contrary views; instead, he found he loved the farm and working with the grapes. He decided to stay. Ahead of his time in the early 70's, he acquired the first organic certification in the region. He made his first vintage with his wife Milena. Since then, he and Milena increased their holdings in and around Barolo and are joined by their sons and daughter Giuseppe, Francesca, and Isidoro. The two generations work side by side but don't always see eye to eye, yet they come together with a passionate determination to make extraordinairy wines year after year. In these times when the majority of wines are produced by enormous corporations with recipes to please wine critics and focus groups, I am drawn to the wineries run by small families who respect the land, tradition, and make glorious wines that tell the story of the vintage.