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In Alto Piemonte for over two centuries: our family tradition

First Generation: Gaetano Perrucconi and Boca

The first available account of a winemaker dates back to 1787, with a priest (or «Canonico») called Gaetano Perrucconi di Montalbano. Back then, he was appointed «Bottigliere del Vescovo di Novara», in other words he was in charge of the local vineyards belonging to the Diocese of
His duties were similar to those of a négotiant (dealer and agronomist) in the wine trade, monitoring the growers during the season, establishing the regional prices for the grapes and most importantly understanding the potential of the best villages and vineyards to produce the top wines for the most important occasions. When the chance came, he purchased some land in the subregion of Montalbano, in Boca, as he thought that was one of the areas with the highest winemaking potential.

Invecchiamento vini in bottiglia Vallana Wines

Second Generation: Bernardo Vallana «The Elder» and the ancient tradition 

In 1859, Bernardo Vallana «The Elder» inherited the vineyards that had belonged to Uncle Gaetano and, most importantly, he developed on his know-how: the fine art of aging wine in bottle (separating the bottlings by provenance) in order to bring out the specific features of the best vineyards and to understand the different aging potential of the wines. Each handblown bottle had a card tied to it with a piece of string, simply stating the vintage and the name of the vineyard. You can still admire some of these bottles in our cellar.

Third Generation: Antonio Vallana establishing a Winery

In those days viticulture was very common: virtually everybody had a vineyard and produced home-made wine for the family. Wine was a very tough market, with huge competition, and only a very few of the best producers managed to make a living just from selling wine.
After the opening of the Simplon Railway Tunnel (1905) Bernardo and his son Antonio were the first to seize the opportunity to export Spanna to Switzerland and Germany.
Antonio kept expanding the business. The local demand for table wine was growing as people increasingly abandoned farming to work in the newly emerging factories.
In 1937, Antonio Vallana and his 17-years-old son Bernardo eventually turned a small family business into a formal company establishing the Antonio Vallana e Figlio.


Fourth Generation: Bernardo Vallana «The Younger». The Legendary Winemaker

Bernardo «The Younger» had an extraordinary palate and his wines are still legendary: he set the trend for the style and quality of Alto Piemonte wines and history proved him to be a real pioneer.
He developed his own winemaking techniques in the endless search of the perfect wine: no matter how good a wine was, the next one had to be better. The labels he created in the 1950’s anticipated already anticipated the subregions that the appellation rules created many years later and if today Alto Piemonte is on the world map of the top regions for aging potential and fine wines, it is
chiefly because we can line up bottles which are several decades old to prove it. His contribution to this is unique.
Over the years, Bernardo Vallana created legendary crus and cuvées of Spanna such as Spanna dei Cinque Castelli, Spanna di Montalbano, Spanna dei Campi Raudii, Spanna Riserva Catuli Ara, Spanna Riserva Castello di San Lorenzo di Gattinara, Spanna Tre Torri di Traversagna and more.
Bernardo’s passion for wine was supported by his wife, Marina, who always had the final word when it came to bottling a batch of wine, and he transmitted it in turn to his daughter, Giuseppina.

Fifth Generation: Giuseppina Vallana and Guy Fogarty

In 1980 Giuseppina Vallana married Guy Fogarty, whom Bernardo Vallana himself trained to become the winemaker of the estate.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s the market was very difficult for Alto Piemonte: the New World started to attract increasing interest, consumers tended to prefer fuller bodied, higher alcohol, less acidic wines, the use of brand new oak became a common trend. Guy and Giuseppina chose to follow the family’s tradition and maintain the historical identity of the wines.
Moreover, the couple faced the task of bringing viticulture and wine making through a whole new set of paperwork and regulations. As a result, some of the “old” labels were lost or changed their names as the new geographical indications were established.
Considering such big challenges, Guy and Giuseppina did a terrific job and consolidated the premium placement of their wines in fine restaurants, bars and retail stores across the world. The couple’s last vintage is a superb 1996, produced just before Guy suddenly passed away. Giuseppina, kept running the business, with some help from her mother and her children. While the quantity of
bottles decreased, the wines remained true to tradition. 


Sixth Generation: the Fogarty-Vallanas 

Since the beginning of the 2000’s, the legacy has passed fully to Giuseppina and Guy’s children: Francis and Marina Fogarty. With passion and research, their mission can be summarized as: being loyal to the style and know-how of Nonno Bernardo and promoting Alto Piemonte. They consider it the best compliment when someone tells them that their Spanna is like their grandad’s. Francis holds a PhD in Viticulture and Winemaking. He carried out research into the geology of Alto Piemonte and his production focuses on enhancing the differences within the terroirs of the subregions. Each single village appellation of Alto Piemonte must be expressive of its sitespecific features. As well as her PhD in Philosophy, Marina holds the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma and is a WSET Certified Wine Educator. At the moment, she is also a stage 2 student of the Masters of Wines Study Programme. Thanks to her international experience, she works on improving understanding of Alto Piemonte in the global wine market, promoting the knowledge of the region and trying to «make room» for its superb vintages on the wine lists and shelfs across the world. Together Francis and Marina have also extended the range with a white wine, a rosato, a traditional method rosato sparkling wine and a special label of Spanna, dedicated to Bernardo Vallana. They conceive their winemaking ti be an interpretation of the terroir through the local grape varieties, in order to tell a story that will transcend space and time. Unum, verum, bonum.

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