Leading lady in wine: Gaia Gaja

Leading lady in wine: Gaia Gaja

There are an increasing number of ladies 'in wine' who are firmly pulling the strings of their family business. They are young, ambitious, well-educated and determined to lead the family business through turbulent times. WINELIFE sat down with Gaia Gaja for an inside look at the eponymous family business.
Text: Petri Houweling, Image: Gaja

Leading lady in wine: Gaia Gaja

Any lover of Italian wine knows the Gaja wine estate. It was founded in 1859 by Giovanni Gaja in the small town of Barbaresco, in Piedmont to be more precise. He himself started with 2 hectares of vineyard, but each generation of the family expanded the estate. Son Angelo Gaja (fourth generation) was most successful when it came to successful acquisitions in other regions. 'They' now also own a number of domains in Tuscany and Sicily. It is now the fifth generation running the business. One of them is Gaia Gaja, who, together with sister Rossana and brother Giovanni, is ready for the challenges of the coming decades. 

Progressive winemaker

Gaia says: 'Our company is best known for wines from Barbaresco and Barolo. Yet international fame came only after the 1960s. Until then, like everyone else in the region, we made wine using outdated methods. My father was also a progressive winemaker in terms of vinification. He introduced techniques to get the fruit really ripe, he bought inox fermentation vats with temperature control, as well as smaller barrels of new oak. With these changes, and the resulting increased quality, he put the Piedmont wine region on the world wine map. As a result, demand for Barolo and Barbaresco rose, as did prices. Today, the price for some of our wines is over 100 euros a bottle.' 

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