Virna Borgogno on the Wines of Barolo

One of several blessings from the COVID pandemic slowing down is that we’ve been able to get back to tasting events (such as this one in 2013). We attended one in March of this year, and in April, went to a tasting of wines from the Barolo region in Northern Italy, and talked to Virna Borgogno, who has her own label.

Virna Borgogno, who makes wine in the Barolo region
Virna Borgogno

“I studied enology,” she said when we asked her how common women winemakers are in her area. “I am the first woman with a degree in enology in Italy.”

She started making wines with her father, first, then eventually took over the family operation, making wine under the Virna label.

“Today, I work with my sister in the winery,” she said. “We are two females. We have 12 hectares and we produce 70,000 bottles.”

Understanding Barolo wines

While the wine she produces are all Barolos, a deep red wine, not every one is the same style. She has a classic style, and two single vineyard wines.

“A classic Barolo is a blend of different vineyards,” Borgogno explained. “We make a separate vinification from different areas, aging in a big casket, and after the two years in evolution, we make our blend between the different terroir… to make Barolo with the balance between the power of the region of the north and the elegance of the other region.”

But while blending from different regions can make some lovely wines, Borgogno said that making a wine from a single vineyard has its virtues, too.

“It’s the character of the terroir of this particluar location,” she said. “In general, we have a few different terroir in the same area.”

It was a theme that was repeated several times throughout the day, but we will be sharing as we feature some of the other women we spoke with.

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