Boca is a magical and nearly forgotten place. Nestled against the Alps high in the hills of Piedmont, the best of the best Nebbiolo was grown here for generations! In fact, Boca is the home and birthplace of Niebbiolo (local name is Spanna) - Nebbiolo vines from Boca have been planted all over Piedmont, including in Barolo.
Sadly, two world wars and an industrial revolution decimated the wine industry here in Boca. The few young men who returned from the wars went to the cities to work in the factories, make an easier living and find a wife. Slowly but surely, vineyard by vineyard fell into disrepair and became reclaimed by the forest. Did you know? in the 1930's, there were over 100,000 acres (40,000 hectares) of vines: in 1994, only 25 acres (10 hectares) of vineyards remained. Boca was essentially forgotten.
Paulo de Marchi from Isola e Olena comes from this area; not wanting the vineyards to disappear entirely, he encouraged Christoph Kunzli (vigneron) and Alexander Trolf (enologist) to visit and see for themselves. So, in 1991, they made a trip to Boca to visit this forgotten place and quickly saw the incredible potential. And they fell in love with the region. Fortune smiled on them and they met Antonio Cerri - one of the last remaining active vigneron in Boca.
He was over 80-years old!
Still working in the fields.....still making wine!
Well, at 80, Cerri wanted to retire so after some time and learning trust, he handed over his small vineyard (half a hectare), his cellar and all his back vintages - some still in barrel. Christoph and Alexander jumped on the chance!! Then in a record 90 transactions, they were able to acquire a few hectares to add to the Cerri vineyard. And slowly, they began the arduous process of buying more land and reclaiming old vineyards from the forest.
Le Piane was born!
There are now almost 2000 acres (700 hectares) of active vineyards in Boca. Certainly not the huge swaths of the past, but better than 1994! Some of the vineyards remain from those days - planted in the old Maggiorina style. Some vineyards have been reclaimed from the forest; some were planted have been planted starting in the 1990's and some are being planted now.
The old vintages of Cerri have been bottled and are proving to be incredible beacons showing what is possible in Boca!
Christoph and his team are hard at work,
letting the vines tell of their place - tell their story.
We invite you to taste the magic of Boca as told through the glass!