Giornale online di enogastronomia • Direttore Fabrizio Carrera
Vini e territori

EXCLUSIVE. Gaja buys vineyards on Mount Etna. And founds a new company with Graci

29 Aprile 2017
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The Piedmontese producer among the most famous in the world bets on the Vulcan. And invests with Alberto Graci. All the details on the operation of the year can be found in this article

(Angelo Gaja and Alberto Graci)

Angelo Gaja points to Sicily and bets on Etna. And he does it by buying vineyards together with Alberto Graci, one of the most acclaimed and talented winegrowers in Sicily. 

The arrival of Angelo Gaja will make noise in the entire world of Italian wine and consecrates Etna as one of the great reference territories. A news that Cronache di Gusto is able to anticipate. Gaja and Graci founded a company through which twenty-one hectares of land were purchased, divided into two districts, of which a total of fifteen were already cultivated in the territory of Biancavilla, south-west slope, as Doc Etna. This is the second time Gaja establishes a company with someone else. He and Graci holds 50 percent each. But there is another new aspect in this affair: the choice of pointing to the southwest slope, the one that today is less popular but nonetheless not least. This is the sign that something is changing on Mount Etna. And that now Gaja's arrival would completely mess up.

The name of the company has not been chosen yet, both are thinking about it these days, but we already know that the 2017 vintage will come out with the first wines. Almost all the 15 hectares of vines are cultivated with Nerello Mascalese. No cellar is actually present but will be built, as well as other vineyards or other land are expected to be acquired according to the schedule. Wines will be marketed through the Gaja Distribuzione. Graci ones with his cellar placed in Passopisciaro instead will be distributed by Pellegrini. How many bottles will be produced the first year is not known yet. Neither the amount of investment was announced, much in progress in these frantic startling weeks.

We have interviewed Angelo Gaja and Alberto Graci and in both we get the enthusiasm for the new challenge that awaits them.

Gaja says: “We will do things without hurry, step by step. I come to Etna to learn. And to harvest fruits that I have not cultivated. Why Etna? It was something that I have been feeling under the skin for some time. Giacomo Tachis was the first one who talked to me about it in a suggestive way. His descriptions hit me about the sleeping mountain, that sometimes wakes up and is often overwhelmed. And then with the snow it takes on a royal figure like the fur of an ermine over the shoulders of influential people. Etna is also a place for elegant wines that are difficult to understand and that I also produce here in Langa for a fate. All this fascinates me very much. I swear, my wife Lucia and my children, Gaia, Rossana and Giovanni look forward for this new adventure”.

Graci says: “Our joint venture starts because we both share a great curiosity. We ardently desire to produce big cru and to understand if the southwest side can satisfy our bet. Of course, history tells us something already: if some of the wines of this area of Etna have won prestigious awards in the mid-nineteenth-century universal exhibitions, this means so much. For me and my sister Elena, also involved in this operation, it is also a great honor to be alongside a great master like Angelo Gaja.  His family's link to the earth and his experience on the longevity of wines that can be put to the service of Etna is a great reference to our eyes. It is not a trivial matter.”

Gaja resumes: “I do not have the skills nor the knowledge to go to Etna. I am willing to go because I met Alberto Graci. I have a common feeling with him, that of the craftsman first”. Graci adds: “We are thinking of making a very good and well done wine, that gives identity to this new company with us being protagonists”.

Outside Piedmont Gaja has invested twice, both in Tuscany. The first in Montalcino in 1994, acquiring Pieve Santa Restituta for a little more than three billion Italian lire with eleven hectares of vines (now 27) and real estate with cellar and four wine years. Afterwards in '96 in Bolgheri with Ca 'Marcanda, another investment of one and a half billion lire and a property of 110 hectares. More recently he acquired in Langa a hazel grove in the municipality of Trezzo Tinella, about ten kilometers from Barbaresco, about 35 hectares and an investment of one and a half million euros. Lands suitable for the production of white grapes.

Alberto Graci, with a past experience in the world of finance and a great fan of wine, has been producing for about ten years. Coming from Catania on Mount Etna with the approach of a wandering winegrower willing to learn, today its company is an indisputable reference: it counts on twenty hectares of vineyards and about 90 thousand produced bottles.


This article was published on April 29 at 8.15 am