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Last month we heard the sad news of the passing of Beppe Colla – renowned Barolo and Barbaresco winemaker, and beloved member of the Colla family who was approaching his 70th vintage. 

He was instrumental in driving recognition for quality wines in the region, and was a key in the implementation of a ‘cru’ system for Barolo, as recognised just at the start of the year:

I must also mention the name of Beppe Colla… who is one of the living legends of Langhe wine, a forward-thinking person who helped shape the direction of wine in the area for several decades.” (Tom Hyland, Forbes, 10th January ’19)

Beppe was the winemaker at Prunotto from 1956 – 1990, and in 1961 he was the first to print the name of the vineyard on their labels. Prior to this time it was typical to blend grapes from different vineyards and areas to produce Barolo, but Beppe was influenced by what he had seen on his travels to Burgundy in the 1950s:

One day, I started to research areas where Nebbiolo produces grapes of superior quality and different styles. In Barolo and Barbaresco it was already known (…more or less…) which were the best crus… In my opinion, a wine made from a specific cru not only had to be good, but it also needed to possess a structure that would age well with time.” Beppe Colla

Tino (Beppe’s younger brother) and niece Federica founded Poderi Colla in 1993 and continued the family’s winemaking tradition. Visitors to the winery as recent as last year would see Beppe there, a passion for the wine and the land still in his blood. 

 

Beppe taking part in his 70th harvest

Many across the wine world have paid their respects – to read Decanter’s article click here. He’ll be much missed, and our thoughts go out to his family.