New generation Barbaresco wines from La Vedetta

Marco and Swantje have taken on the challenge of creating a wine brand in Barbaresco region of Piemonte

There’s a lot of energy in the air at the La Vedetta winery. Lying in the heart of the vine-covered rolling hills of Barbaresco, an extraordinary part of the wine-producing region of the Langhe, the winery is blessed with great soils, magical micro-climates and amazing views. But in the middle of February, the energy is not oozing out of the earth where vines and hazelnut trees lie dormant in the cool air of winter.

The rolling hills of Barbareco, in the Langhe. Today, if the land doesn’t vines, it’s used to grow hazelnuts, the premium harvest of past decades.

No, the energy here comes from Marco Viglino, Swantje Rausch and Dino. Locally born Marco met Swantje in the marketing department of one of the world’s largest confectionery company Ferrero, whose founder Giovanni bought hazelnuts from Marco’s grandfather as he built the food empire of Nutella, Tic Tac and millions of cake bars that have graced the breakfast tables up and down Italy for generations. Ferrero is based in the nearby town of Alba, home of the famous white truffle.

But who is Dino? He’s a bundle of canine enthusiasm. Breed as a truffle hunting hound, one year old Dino is a little too exuberant for his calling and spends his day charging around the vines. He likes nothing better that jumping up to say hello to unsuspecting visitors, to snuffle around the vines and moving so fast that it’s almost impossible to frame him in an in-focus photo.

Fast-forward, and the opportunity arose for Marco to use some of the family’s farm to make wine and leave the corporate world to become part of a new generation of wine makers. Would Swantje like to join him? Yes! He didn’t need to ask twice. While, they face plenty of challenges as newcomers to the industry including climate change, and a conservative Italian wine industry, they are already making headway in a very competitive market. You can see that in their Instagram posts, @lavedettawines – smart, thoughtful and fun.

Farming 3.5 hectares of vineyards, the family’s main business currently remains supplying hazelnuts for products such as Ferrero Rocher chocolates. While the farm has always harvested grapes, they were sold on to other wine makers. It was Marco’s idea to return home and create the winery.

Marco and Swantje are aiming to produce what they describe as naked wines, representing the pure terroir of their land. Guided by oenologist Piero Ballario (who’s worked with Elio Grasso estate in nearby Monforte d’Alba) and Marco’s uncle Michele, the newly bottled and released wines are picking up plaudits. La Vedetta currently has has two vineyards at Sarasino and Cà Grossa. Both have good facing exposures of south and southeastern, at altitudes of around 200 meters above sea level.

La Vedetta currently bottle a dark, fruity Langhe Nebbiolo, and Barbera d’Asti wines with a warming spicy bouquet tinged with summer red fruits and blackberry notes. Other wines include a graceful, well balanced Barbaresco; a full, meaty Barbera d’Asti Superiore, and a Barbera d’Asti offering a light, vibrant drinkable red with some good acidity, and a red table wine known as Swanti. Their Barbera d’Asti Sarasino 2017 received 91 points from Decanter magazine

Keep an eye out for La Vedetta in future vintages, this is a young winery  that has the legs to enjoy a fruitful life.

All images (c) The Lemon Grove 2020

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.

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