• Animals in the vineyard

    There is no doubt that the estate’s vineyards are the beating heart of my work.Everything begins in the vineyards.


    The first fruits of my labours and the labours of my co-workers come into being there. And the vineyards need my constant care throughout the year.

    I have to keep an eye on what they need and when they need it, not only to bring home healthy grapes to make into wine, but also because they are part of a delicately-balanced habitat.

    In Monforte d’Alba, in the subzone of Castelletto, where my cellar is located, there is a great variety of biodiversity.

    The area’s many vineyards are offset by forests, fruit trees, hazelnut trees and meadows.


    I am personally committed to leaving my surrounding environment untouched: 30% of the estate’s area has been maintained or replanted as forest. Within this uncultivated, there is an educational area dedicated to truffles, an orchard, a hazelnut grove and also beehives.

    Areas such as these are ever more rare, despite their importance to the ecosystem and the local fauna which still take refuge in them.

    Each season, I’m lucky enough to meet up with some of these inhabitants, even if it is often for the very briefest of  moments.

    For example, this past spring I often exchanged morning greetings with a hare frolicking in the courtyard; it became almost a daily occurrence to see it dash out and then disappear into a hedge.

    During the harvest, when the grape clusters are nearly ripe and ready for picking yet another visitor confirms how good they are. Roe deer find them delicious–it would seem I’m not the only one who adores these sweet grapes!

    Even badgers like a stroll among the vines. And how do I know this? Because they always leave very tangible ‘evidence’ that they’ve been there.

    Sometimes in the evening, a fox steals out from the edge of a path, with its fluffy rust-red tail. It’s a rare treat to see one.

    Ladybugs, butterflies, bees and earthworms are a signs of a lively, silent nature hard at work.


    Over the days spent among the vines, I often come across a bird’s nest among the leaves. Robins and blue tits are the most usual, but they are becoming ever more difficult to spot. It is exactly for this reason that we have placed birdhouses in the small wood below the cellar, to help the birds build nests. We add balls of fat and seeds in winter to provide them with food during the cold season.


    Shortly we’ll start on a new project which I’m especially enthusiastic about: a circuit with various stops for families with small children. Its purpose is to get to know the vineyard and the different types of environment around it, as well as offering a chance to enjoy a day out in the fresh air.

    I would like to share what is closest to my heart: these vineyards that are home, but not just home to me.

    They are also a refuge and a safe haven for other living creatures that I feel a great responsibility for looking after.







  • The legend of “Masche”, or Piedmontese witches – tempestuous women like me

    I remember being little on cold winter afternoons with my grandmother recounting stories of the Piedmontese witches or


    (pronounced mas-keh).

    I was half-afraid and half-charmed by these stories that had women as heroines with magical powers. My grandmother told me about these women who lived alone, and had black cats and nocturnal animals accompanying them out at dusk to mutter curses and spells.

    These women and their rites could influence the harvest of crops and grapes and even the health of people in the village.

    They were blamed for drought, sick farm animals or unfortunate accidents in the fields. They could make things disappear and reappear in strange locations; how often did I hear “aj sun le masche!!”, or ‘it must have been the witches’! whenever my granny couldn’t find her glasses. And I laughed, ‘but Granny, they’re on top of your head!’I don’t want to recount the stories people told here, but rather how I looked at it, growing up. As I said before, most of the women who were considered ‘Masche’, were solitary women who had had a misadventure in life, or simply preferred to live as they pleased, without giving importance to what people around them thought.

    These women, who frightened “normal” people, I would consider anticonformist, free and courageous.

    Independence and choices that go against the grain often scare people who are afraid of the unfamiliar. All the more so if the anti-conformist was a woman. Irrepressible women who made bold choices, choosing to ignore the dictates of fathers, husbands or whomever else to keep them happy.

    And instead, who followed their own desires even at the price of being viewed as a malevolent witch. I’m inclined to think that the legend of the witches came about because of limited knowledge in the areas of medicine, veterinary medicine and agronomy. Without a rational explanation of events, someone to blame was needed to explain the ‘why’ of each misfortune. The easiest and most efficient solution was to find a scapegoat, so much the better if it was a solitary woman with an unusual, if not wholly outlandish lifestyle.

    Women have always had to work twice as hard to obtain freedoms that we take for granted today: choosing which clothes to wear, who to marry or if to marry at all, which job to do–in short to make choices regarding their own lives. Perhaps it is in some way thanks to these ‘Masche’ that we can now live our lives as we wish, and make alternative choices that in the time of the witches would have been looked at askance.

    So hurray for the women with superpowers like courage, tenacity and a revolutionary spirit, ready to challenge any prejudice or superstition!






  • Adopt a row: at the origins of Barolo

    We are in the Langhe, a land where vineyards stretch out on the hills and where the scent of grapes blends together that of the ground. A land that gives you really exciting glimpses!

    So, it seems quite natural that one the most precious wines, famous all over the world, has its origins in this unique land: I’m talking about Barolo DOCG wine, the symbol of our country.

    This wine comes from a long production process that starts in the vineyard, goes through the harvesting, the ageing and, finally, finishes with the bottling.

    Are you aware of all the work that lies behind every Barolo bottle?

    Imagine doing this experience directly: Now you’re coming with me in our vineyard and you’re going to take part in a unique experience, passed down from generation to generation. An experience made of dexterity, passion and patience.

    Imagine tasting Nebbiolo grapes straight from the vines, while you learn the culture of wine and discover everything about the wine making, from the vineyard to the cellar.

    Imagine yourself tasting a real, high quality Barolo DOCG. And you are the one who helped make that same Barolo, following step by step all its life, all the works in the vineyard till the harvesting, such an important moment!

    What you are imagining it’s already reality: It’s the “Adopt a row” project.

    Why I have so strongly wanted the “Adopt a row” project become a reality

    I strongly wanted the “Adopt a row in the Langhe” project because it’s a very good way to make you – and all the other wine lovers like you – more aware of the work that lies behind a bottle of Barolo. By joining this project you’ll become for real a protagonist of what happens in the backstage of my winery: You’ll be with me in every step, throughout the works in the vineyard and the harvesting, and we’ll wait together during the ageing, till the bottling.

    And… You’ll experience the real final product of your row: you’ll receive a case of wine, your wine! In fact, if you become an adopter of a row, this row will be dedicated to you and it will have your own name. Then, I’ll write you an email with monthly updates on what is going on in your row.

    “Wherever you live, adopt a row in the Langhe and experience directly the farming, the growing up and the making of an excellent wine, such as Barolo DOCG.”

    Sara Vezza

    Adopt a row is safeguarding this land

    Adopting a Josetta Saffirio’s row is not only about giving yourself some good bottles of wine. No, it’s much more. For me, it’s a challenge and I have gladly taken it up: it’s about becoming part of a more wide project of safeguarding of this unique land, in which we take care of our traditions and of the skillful work necessary for the creation of an excellent Barolo DOCG. When you’ll join this project, you’ll become a member of the adopters community, too. A community of people that take care of a precious row like you do.

    I have always promoted actions that have a positive effect on this region and I think the “Adopt a row” project is one of them: it involves people that love wine, it brings them beyond the tasting wine moment, it creates a real community of people who have the same values of respect and take care of the land, values that are mine, too.

    I think I’ve already won this challenge: It’s only 2 years since “Adopt a row” has started and more than 50 people all over the world have joined it, and are closed to me every month of the year during my work.

    Adopt a row: how to join the project

    If you want to join the project and live this exciting experience, you can click here or you can write an email to info@josettasaffirio.com: I’m pleased to give you more informations!

    What does the “Contract of adoption” include?

    • Your name and surname will be written on the row adopted by you and on the “Adoption certificate”.
    • 6 bottles of Barolo DOCG wine made from your adopted row and 6 bottles of other wines produced in my winery.
    • You can visit our cellar whenever you want (advance notice required) and I’ll be pleased to offer you a free tasting of our best wines, combined with a selection of local products.
    • There’s a 10% discount on the purchase of our wine bottles, reserved for you when you’ll visit my winery.
    • You‘ll receive in your email box regular updates on the different stages of your wine production.
    • Special events only for the adopters like you. And much more!

    I wait for you to become part of my adopters community: you’ll live a wonderful adventure and we’ll be the main actors of it, tight by our passion and our love for this wine, the Barolo, symbol of the Langhe.

  • Grape harvest: what does it mean?

    The time has arrived, it’s September again. This is a very important month because it takes with it the core activity of my winery: the grape harvest. And now, I reap the rewards of a year’s work: all the cares given to my vines turn into the long-awaited crop and, finally, into the vintage 2018 wine.

    The meaning of harvesting: my point of view

    In this piece I won’t focus on how this new vintage will be. Rather I’d like to explain you what harvesting means to me. Its meaning has been passed on to me by my grandfather, Ernesto Saffirio. I’ve always lived the harvesting as a kind of ritual, with a deep impact not only on the land but also on our society. The grape picking days were always the most awaited by the farmers. In my heart I still remind of me as a child, looking at all the countryside around me moving in a big ferment. It was at the first sunrise that the harvest started: great passion and strong resolve were our only working tools. A first bunch in the basket, then another one and so on, till the basket was full and ready to be moved to the cellar. Every ripe bunch was the outcome of the hard work and the ongoing commitment of all the farmers: they treated each grape as a son. Nowadays we use modern tools and we make specific analysis on sugar and acidity levels in order to identify the best time to start harvesting. But we don’t use any technology in our countryside. So, me and my assistants live the harvesting days always with the same mood, coming from the past.

    Harvesting: a liaison between land and Community

    The ritual of harvesting is the final step of all the work made in the wineyard throughout the year, a ritual in wich are involved all the vine workers. It’s a kind of relay that joins the grape vine to the bottle. For me harvesting is exactly this: a meeting between our Community and our land. As I told you some time ago, in my opinion, wine is something alive, with a vital force of its own. I don’t feel myself as a “wine producer”. I feel more like an actress playing in the game of Nature, instead: I help the plants so that they can grow up in the best way possible. For this reason I’ve decided to produce wine with a more and more sustainable approach, with a deep respect for land, vine and all the surroundings.

    “The care of our land from the vineyard to the bottle, in wich all your cheers become a tribute to our community and to our countryside. Think of that when you’ll taste one of my wines!”

    Sara Vezza

    Next events “Harvesting 2018”

    In order to share with all of you – beloved followers of my winery – the key moment of the harvest, I’ve planned two events in October.

    • The harvest of the gnome:

    an event for both young and old. You will pick the grapes with us and then experience the grapes pressing! It will be not only an amazing day but also an education moment, to pass on to the children the value of a so important period for this company. If you want to participate click here

    • The harvest party:

    the harvest party has always been a very important event in which all the Community was involved. In the same spirit of the bygone days, we wait for you: you can enjoy the guided tour of our winery. You will breathe the fermenting wine and have the “Farmer’s lunch”: a platter of cold cuts, three starters, dessert and a tasting of our wines, of course.

    Come with us! For your reservation click here

  • Why we have chosen the path of sustainable production and organic production

    Why we have chosen the path of sustainable production and organic production

    The road to sustainability is a direction that we have chosen to adopt in the company for over 10 years, not only for practices related to winemaking processes, from the field to the winery, but also in all the initiatives to which I participate or promote in person.

    A choice that was born from two main principles:

    • The very strong connection with the territory:
      • we are pieces of a puzzle, it is fundamental to understand this. We are not the authors of a wine, but actors of nature: we help plants to grow, like children and we are in contact with something alive: the Earth, the wine and all that surrounds them. Wine is a vital force: rich in micro-organisms without which it could not evolve. This is why we have chosen to orient ourselves towards sustainability based on a strong sense of responsibility towards the earth and the coming generations.
    • Sustainability has to start from within:
      • we can not use it like a dress to make ourselves more beautiful: there must be a soul, a heart that beats, we must believe in it even if sometimes it is about making choices that apparently seem anti-economic in the logic of an immediate profit.

    Today, Josetta Saffirio is proudly a certified organic CCPB company, whose sustainable processes are approved by Ecoprowine.

    In a period in which the demand and consumption of healthy and natural food, obtained with a low environmental impact, grows every day, I reinforce an important choice that I made many years ago with the aim of respecting our territory.

    We have been growing vineyards in Monforte d’Alba for over two centuries and five generations, trying to express the territory through our wines. Harvest after harvest, we sink our roots in this land of Langa

    What it means to produce wine in a sustainable way

    I believe that producing wine means treating the vineyards with respect for the land and the responsibility to leave to our children the precious heritage I received from my parents: a unique and generous territory that produces wines of exquisite elegance and exceptional longevity, famous all over the world.
    The vineyard and its work must not be an element detached from the landscape, an instrument for exploiting the land but, on the contrary, something through which to start a virtuous process of enrichment of the territory itself. The plant symbol par excellence for those who produce wine, the vineyard, becomes the main vehicle of care of the territory on which it is located. This change of vision allows us to produce better wines and at the same time do good to our environment. The challenge is this: the production of high quality wines must be linked to sustainable processes in the field and in the cellar.

    How I put this in practice

    Starting from these assumptions, I decided to put this concepts into everyday activities. Our wine comes from a care of vineyards that does not include chemicals. Any type of product that may have a negative impact on our land has been banned. We only use organic fertilizers that, unlike the first ones, allow to enrich the soil and to nourish our grapes in a “natural” way. Also in our vineyards we use grassing, letting the grass grow to combat soil erosion and make the vineyard more liveable and passable. We use special prototypes of tractors that, with their reduced weight, contribute to not press excessively on the ground, avoiding its crush.

    Fieldwork is just one aspect of my business, which is why I have supported a sustainable renewal process that involves the entire company.

    • In 2006 we started designing the new winery, a structure designed to be integrated into the rural landscape and reduce heat exchange, isolating the perimeter with natural cork. The building has been designed to optimize work and resources. On the ground floor we find the whole part concerning the first processing of the grapes: from the harvest to the fermentations. At that point the wine for fall is transferred underground, where it will silently age in the barrels.
    • In 2009 we designed and created the Biopark and every year we increase the area of managed forest and this allows us, on one hand to protect the local flora and fauna, on the other to reduce our carbon impact.
    • In 2010 we inaugurated the new photovoltaic system that allows us to reduce CO2 emissions by 13,000 kg every year.
    • We use 90% recycled glass for our bottles, shorter corks and a thinner cardboard for packaging.

    Not only in the company: my sustainable initiatives

    In order to promote and raise awareness for the environment, the company organizes social and educational activities that also involve children, to promote the idea that the land is an asset and as such it deserves respect and attention. We focus very much on these activities that aim to raise awareness of the new generations on the beauty of nature.

    For the IED students of Turin I created a contest on the theme of sustainability starting from the waste materials of our cellar. This is how the ReWineD project was born: converting what is no longer useful for our production purposes into new functional design objects for other industries or fields.

    Another important initiative undertaken is that of Adopt a Row, that allows all those who wish to be responsible for their own row to see it grow day by day. A way to involve wine lovers in the care of the territory as well

    Now it is on you

    One thing that I often say to all those who visit our cellars is that sustainability processes require the intervention of the final consumer as well! Yes, you! Every time you buy a wine, try to read the label and understand if the wine you are drinking is good for the environment. Sipping an ethical and sustainable product gives a double satisfaction and allows you to contribute to a virtuous wine culture. The future of our planet also passes from here.