Wine Terroirs

Piedmont A kaleidoscope of grape varieties and vineyard sites

Piedmont is a region that has made wine its pride and joy, establishing itself as a renowned producer of high quality wines thanks to its most prominent appellations. And yet, not everyone is aware of the full variety of appellations and grape varieties that are available to Piedmont growers and wineries, akin to the range of colours and tones that Mediterranean artists have at their fingertips.

Piedmont is renowned for its quality – more than 80% of the wine produced there has designation of origin certification. Nineteen wines are classed as DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) while 41 are classed as DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) out of a national total of 73 DOCGs and 332 DOCs. The varietal range is extensive and includes grapes like Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce, Favorita, Moscato Bianco, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, Grignolino, Brachetto, Ruchè, Pelaverga, Vespolina and rare cultivars. These are joined by international varieties that in certain areas have found their ideal soils and climate, including Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir.


Piedmont produces the following DOCG wines: Alta Langa, Asti, Barbaresco, Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato Superiore, Barolo, Brachetto d'Acqui o Acqui, Canelli, Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba o, Diano d'Alba, Dolcetto di Ovada Superiore o Ovada, Dogliani, Erbaluce di Caluso o Caluso, Gattinara, Gavi o Cortese di Gavi, Ghemme, Nizza, Roero, Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato, and Terre Alfieri.

It also produces these DOC wines: Alba, Albugnano, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera del Monferrato, Boca, Bramaterra, Calosso, Canavese, Carema, Cisterna, Colli Tortonesi, Collina Torinese, Colline Novaresi, Colline Saluzzesi, Cortese Alto Monferrato, Coste della Sesia, Dolcetto d'Acqui, Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Asti, Dolcetto di Ovada, Fara, Freisa d'Asti, Freisa di Chieri, Gabiano, Grignolino d'Asti, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Langhe, Lessona, Loazzolo, Malvasia di, Casorzo d'Asti o Casorzo, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Monferrato, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Pinerolese, Rubino di Cantavenna, Sizzano, Strevi, Valli Ossolane, Valsusa, Verduno Pelaverga o Verduno and, of course, Piemonte DOC.


The region does not produce any wines classed as IGT (Typical Geographical Indication), which is considered a lower classification, underscoring the high regard in which the region holds its vines and vineyards. To gain a better understanding of the production dynamics and multifaceted choice of Piedmont wines, we have selected some of the region's leading wineries.



Cordara – Crafting Monferrato

The Cordara winery is located in Castel Boglione in the province of Asti and manages a total of 5 hectares of vineyards, producing DOC and DOCG wines from indigenous grape varieties. The company is not organic but follows a traditional philosophy showing maximum respect for the environment and the production cycle. In the cellar too, the approach is traditional, with minimal use of winemaking inputs, thus allowing the product’s natural qualities to shine through without the need for external aids. The designations produced are Cortese dell'alto Monferrato DOC, Dolcetto d'Asti DOC, Dolcetto d'Asti superiore DOC, Freisa d'Asti DOC, Barbera d'Asti DOCG, and Barbera d'Asti superiore DOCG


The Cordara family

The present-day Cordara family has an agricultural history dating back to 1860.



Piedmont is best known, both in Italy and abroad, for the Barolo and Barbaresco appellations. Monferrato has always been slightly more in the shadows than the Langhe region, but in recent years it has carved out a significant place for itself in the market through wine tourism and typical wines such as Barbera and Moscato. Before Nebbiolo rose to prominence, the wines were among the most important pours in the region and have now garnered international recognition. From the Cordara winery’s perspective, Barbera has enhanced the reputation and positioning of Monferrato wines due to the inception of the Nizza DOCG.


The Cordara vineyards

Cordara’s vineyards boast excellent exposure, low yields and low environmental impact techniques, all of which are prerequisites for producing high quality grapes.



Climate change has been having a significant impact in recent years, creating challenges both for growing grapes and across the production process. The challenges have been amplified for wineries such as Cordara, which do not use technologies such as temperature control and refrigeration systems. Despite these difficulties, the team’s experience and sensitivity is enabling the winery to preserve the balance and identity of the wines.

In the future, the company will launch production of two appellations from a new 1.20 hectare vineyard: a Nizza DOCG and a Monferrato Rosso DOC from Syrah grapes. The company’s overall production is in the range of 20,000 – 25,000 bottles a year and the main export markets are Italy and Northern Europe.


The Cordara vineyards

Over 6 hectares of vineyards, the Cordara winery grows native varieties and complies with sustainable and respectful agricultural traditions.



Bersano – Encapsulating the history of Nizza Monferrato and Piedmont

Founded by Arturo Bersano in 1907, Bersano winery has preserved the best of the winemaking and social culture of the Langhe and Monferrato regions and is now taking it out to the world. The company is run by the four Massimelli sisters who have their sights squarely set on the future Managing director Federica Massimelli’s son, Federico, is in line to take over the winery, which owns 10 farms embracing more than 230 hectares of vineyards. Only the finest fruit is selected to produce wines that encapsulate the identity of the grapes without compromising on flavour or quality.


Bersano produces Barolo DOCG Riserva Cannubi, Barolo DOCG Riserva Badarina, Barolo DOCG Badarina, Nizza DOCG Riserva, Nizza DOCG, Ruché Di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Nebbiolo D'alba DOC, Barbera D'alba DOC, Barbera D'asti DOCG, Barbera D'asti DOCG Superiore, Dolcetto D'alba DOC, Grignolino D'asti DOC, Gavi Di Gavi DOCG, Roero Arneis DOCG, Sauvignon Piemonte DOC, Piemonte Rosato DOC, Brachetto D'acqui DOCG, Pinot Spumante Brut DOC, Moscato Asti DOCG, as well as other VSQ traditional method sparkling wines. This extensive range of wines has helped shape the identity of the different parts of southern Piedmont.


The Bersano winery views Piedmont’s image as very positive, both in Italy and worldwide. The region is famed for producing some of the most prestigious and renowned wines in the world, such as Barolo and Barbera, and over the past 10 years, Piedmont has also ramped up its wine tourism activities. At the same time, wineries have worked hard to improve their winemaking techniques, promote the region, and offer a showcase for native grape varieties. Also, by securing Unesco World Heritage status for Langhe-Roero and Monferrato in 2014, the image of local wines has been enhanced.

Importantly, Piedmont wine producers are tackling climate change head-on by adapting their vineyard management strategies and aiming for greater environmental sustainability through research and innovation. This includes choosing more resistant vines and using water responsibly, as well as developing innovative solutions and sharing best practices. Sustainability and adaptation are growing priorities within the wine industry to address climate challenges.


Nizza Monferrato railway

The history of Bersano is closely linked to the Nizza Monferrato railway, thanks to which Arturo Bersano was able to transport his wines.



Bersano plans to continue its focus on sustainability, innovation and the constant pursuit of excellence, aiming to reduce its environmental impact through sustainable farming practices and the responsible use of resources. Their goal is to do this by developing innovative winemaking techniques with indigenous grape varieties to offer unique, high quality wines which will allow them to continue to be a benchmark in the wine industry, stay ahead of market trends and increasingly promote wine as an experience.


Bersano’s managing director Federica Massimelli and her son Federico

Bersano’s managing director Federica Massimelli and her son Federico, who is due to take over the winery.



Cuvage – Expressing regional identity through traditional method sparkling wines

Cuvage is located in Acqui Terme, in the Monferrato area, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Since its inception in 2011, the aim has been to produce high quality traditional method sparkling wines, with a strong bond to the production area, and deliver a modern, elegant version of Piedmont sparkling wine traditions. Cuvage does not own its own vineyards but oversees around 80 hectares of local vineyards which have been selected based on the appellations produced and the quality of the grapes grown. The wines are labelled Alta Langa DOCG, Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC, Piemonte DOC Chardonnay, and Asti DOCG. 


L'Alta Langa

For Cuvage, traditional method sparkling wines and, in particular, Alta Langa, represent the future of the company and the region. 



Cuvage prioritises the entire region and its appellations, but Alta Langa DOCG is the company's main focus. Using the traditional method enables international grape varieties to convey regional identity and paves the way for them to be experienced around the world. Piedmont is a global wine icon, establishing itself as a brand that is synonymous with long-standing traditions and history. In recent years it has taken further steps to position itself among the great wine regions by continuing to focus on excellence, especially for wine tourism, which is a resource that will be increasingly important to the industry.  Business is going very well, but Cuvage is concerned about the effects of climate change and is therefore taking measures in the vineyard and the winery to reduce waste and save energy. For Cuvage, identity and sustainability are key to the future.


Stefano Ricagno, Cuvage’s manager

Stefano Ricagno, Cuvage’s manager.



Poggio Ridente – Diversity and respect, from the vineyard to the glass

Poggio Ridente is located on Cocconato hill, home to the San Sebastiano and Vallìa vineyards. Due to the particular soil and climate, it is known as the ‘Monferrato Riviera’.  Here, Cecilia Zucca concentrates on farming Barbera and Albarossa vines organically, alongside 3 hectares of recently planted Pinot Noir, Viognier, Riesling and Sauvignon, and the latest addition, Nebbiolo, planted just two years ago. The winery has 11 hectares of organically managed vineyards surrounded by woods and hedges. Sitting at an altitude of over 450 metres above sea level, the land is divided into three main vineyard blocks on the opposite sides of Cocconato. It produces Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Piemonte DOC Albarossa, Ruché Di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG, Piemonte DOC Pinot Nero, Piemonte DOC Viognier, and Monferrato DOC Bianco.


Cecilia Zucca and her daughter Eleonora Dezzani

Cecilia Zucca and her daughter Eleonora Dezzani, the two women at the helm of Poggio Ridente.



Poggio Ridente feels that Piedmont red wines have a good reputation nationally but also internationally, particularly in the USA. In Northern Europe there has been a slight downturn in sales, especially in recent years, with a return to simpler wines with lower alcohol content, but new markets such as China are showing positive signs. Producing organic wines offers marketing advantages but in terms of vineyard management, it is much more complex. It does, though, allow biodiversity to be preserved. The company's latest projects are mainly aimed at harvesting and storing rainwater for winemaking needs and emergency irrigation. Solar panels have also been installed on the roofs to provide power for both the new structure and the storage facilities.

Just six months ago, the winery opened new accommodation facilities called ‘Terrazza Vallìa’, offering wine tastings, guided vineyard tours, picnics in the vineyard, yoga days, wellness treatments and an E-bike experience ending with a wine tasting. The experiences, combined with the high quality wines that Piedmont can offer, form part of the region’s comprehensive wine tourism solutions.



La Scolca – The past, present and future of Gavi

La Scolca, a historic winery in the province of Alessandria on the border with Liguria, boasts 60 hectares of vineyards – some of them over 60 years old – in the heart of Rovereto and Gavi. This family business, founded in 1919, has long been considered an ambassador of Gavi and offers a fusion of history, regional identity and innovation. The winery produces 17 labels and exports 80% of its production to 60 countries, including traditional export destinations such as the USA, Germany and the UK and emerging markets such as Africa, Asia and Central America.


Chiara Soldati, owner of La Scolca winery, and her son Ferdinando,

Chiara Soldati, owner of La Scolca winery, and her son Ferdinando, who represents the sixth generation of the historic Gavi wine family.



Promoting indigenous grape varieties, caring for the region and investing in technology in the vineyard and cellar are the pillars of La Scolca's production philosophy. Hand harvesting, soft pressing, a new bottling plant to reduce water consumption and photovoltaic panels to guarantee energy self-sufficiency are just some of the examples of the winery’s focus on optimising production quality, timing and management of energy resources. It produces Gavi DOCG, Pinot Nero Piemonte DOC, and Sauvignon Piemonte DOC.


According to Chiara Soldati, Piedmont has maintained its reputation both in Italy and abroad as a traditional region with a strong identity and a focus on authenticity. This basis has allowed it to adapt well to both new trends and the continuous challenges of the wine sector, while also maintaining a strong relationship with national and international consumers. Over the last 10 years, this perception has certainly increased, confirming the great appeal of Piedmont both in terms of winemaking quality and the variety of the wines on offer, which range from whites to fine reds and sparkling wines made using the traditional method.


Climate change has had a twofold impact. The first is the new challenges thrown up by the increasingly extreme weather conditions which have impacted the ability to manage the vineyards and maintain the minerality and freshness of the wines which are fundamental to Gavi DOCG. The second is that it has allowed new wine countries to enter the market, thus increasing the number of competitors. Responding to these issues requires an even more cohesive and collaborative approach in terms of promotion, especially at national level, to improve the promotion and protection of quality wines from Piedmont and the rest of Italy.


The state-of-the-art equipment at La Scolca

The state-of-the-art equipment at La Scolca are the result of continuous investments aimed at optimising production in terms of quality, timing and management of energy resources.



Despite recently celebrating its 105th anniversary, La Scolca is firmly focused on the future. In 2023, it gained FSSC 22000 and SNQPI certifications and welcomed the arrival of 4.0 agricultural equipment, a new bottling line and a water purification plant. Another forward-looking initiative is the recent creation of a wine experience catalogue to connect wine enthusiasts to the region and allow them to experience the company’s comprehensive range. All this has been achieved through important collaborations and a constant focus on taste and market trends.



Fontanafredda – Piedmont and the ‘Green Renaissance’

Fontanafredda, producers of Barolo and Langhe wines in Serralunga d'Alba, was born in 1858 from the love between Vittorio Emmanuele II and Rosa Vercellana. Today, with 120 hectares of organic vineyards, it embodies a community that respects the land and aims to showcase the uniqueness of the region. The ethos in the vineyards is to fully enhance the character of each individual wine, while respecting and promoting the reciprocal relationship between the vines, the environment and people who farm the land. Fontanafredda completely avoids the use of synthetic fertilisers and herbicides and has introduced controlled grassing to work to improve the vineyard soils. Fontanafredda's objective is to recount the uniqueness of the area in every MGA (Additional Geographical Statement), and in every single vineyard, enhancing the biodiversity of the Langhe and preserving its history.  Fontanafredda is one of the 181 MGAs named after a group of namesake vineyards at the start of Serralunga d'Alba. At the heart of the Fontanafredda MGA lie four of Fontanafredda's most historic and iconic vineyards: Vigna La Rosa with 70 years of continuous production, Vigna S. Pietro, Vigna Bianca and Vigna Gallareto. Other notable vineyards include Vigna La Delizia in Serralunga, within the Lazzarito MGA, and Vigna La Villa in Barolo, in the Paiagallo MGA, which date back to the royal era and were commissioned by Emanuele Alberto, the son of the first King of Italy.


The Fontanafredda cellar

In the 19th-century cellars of Fontanafredda, as tradition dictates, large French and Croatian oak barrels (Allier and Slavonian) are used to age Barolo and the fine red wines of the Langhe region (Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Barbera).



Fontanafredda produces Barolo DOCG, Barbaresco DOCG, Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC, Barbera d'Alba DOC, Dolcetto Diano d'Alba DOCG, Dolcetto d'Alba DOC, Langhe Rosso DOC, Piemonte DOC Barbera, Piemonte DOC Dolcetto and Langhe DOC Nebbiolo, Alta Langa DOCG, Timorasso Colli Tortonesi DOC, Roero Arneis DOCG, Langhe DOC Arneis, Langhe DOC Chardonnay, Asti Spumante DOCG, Langhe DOC Riesling, and Moscato d'Asti DOCG. Its annual production corners 6% of the entire Barolo appellation. The winery produces 7 million bottles which are exported to over 80 countries.


The entrance to the Fontanafredda estate in Serralunga d'Alba.

The unmistakable sculpture of a bunch of grapes that marks the entrance to the Fontanafredda estate in Serralunga d'Alba.



Fontanafredda views Piedmont as a region defined by its varied terroir and choice of high quality wines, a region that has successfully repositioned itself both nationally and internationally to overcome the challenges of climate change. The Nebbiolo, Barolo and Barbaresco grape varieties play a pivotal role in contributing to Piedmont’s fame around the world. Fontanafredda focuses on sustainable quality and is therefore committed to the 'Green Renaissance', which targets environmental, ethical and social sustainability through measures such as reducing emissions, using eco-sustainable packaging and involving the community in organic production. Fontanafredda manages a 12-hectare forest in the lower Langa region to increase biodiversity and supports organic farming without the use of herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Over the last sixty years, Fontanafredda has created a community of farmers who produce quality varieties including Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, and it is proud of the important social role it plays in the Langhe region, working with farmers to promote cleaner agriculture.


The Fontanafredda vineyards

In 2020, a new Fontanafredda was born with the aim of being even better than before and prioritising greater respect for the planet, under the 'Green Renaissance' banner.



Fontanafredda was certified as a 'Sustainable Winery' in 2021 and has implemented various measures for saving energy including the installation of cogeneration plants and solar panels and relamping. Sustainable mobility is promoted through electric forklift trucks, electric charging stations and a biomethane tractor introduced for the 2021 harvest. This year, a new project will be launched to reduce monoculture and continue to promote biodiversity. While the project details are currently still under wraps, it is likely that Fontanafredda will experiment with new processing systems to reduce the quantity, drift and root uptake, so as to have healthier plants and more vibrant soils.



Something for everyone

Piedmont is a kaleidoscope of grape varieties and vineyard sites with the ability to express individual identities through techniques which are increasingly focused on sustainability and regional recognition. While wines such as Dolcetto and Grignolino were traditionally considered more important than Barolo and Barbaresco, things have now changed. The fine wines of the Langhe have allowed the entire region to experience great success both in terms of wine tourism and positioning. Monferrato seems more inclined to focus on Barbera, but is also home to intriguing offerings such as Ruchè, a semi-aromatic variety showing great intensity and elegance. There is also a strong appeal for the micro-zones such as Carema and the excellence of North Piedmont such as Ghemme and Gattinara. Among the whites, in addition to Roero Arneis and Gavi, there is growing interest in the mineral Timorasso dei Colli Tortonesi and the versatile Erbaluce di Caluso.  Last but not least, the aromatic Moscato and Brachetto are also part and parcel of the region’s history.