Michele Chiarlo, A Winemaker’s Tale


Michele Chiarlo, A Winemaker’s Tale

14 February 2024

An absolute protagonist for the Nizza denomination, a visionary ambassador of Italian wine culture, and the face of the territorial revolution of identity wines such as Barolo, Moscato, and Barbera d’Asti, but above all, a bearer of profound and courageous humanity, leaving a mark on all those who shared a stretch of road with him.

Born on May 25, 1935, Michele Chiarlo devoted his life to creating high-quality wines and promoting the territory. Son of grape growers, after finishing middle school, he managed to attend the ScuolaEnologica in Alba “as long as he always passed the year”. His fellow students included future protagonists of Italian winemaking such as Pietro Ratti, Ezio Rivella, Franco Ziliani, Giuliano Noè and Giacomo Tachis.

In 1956, at the age of 23, he decided to start his career as a wine entrepreneur, opening a bottling business with his sister while simultaneously taking care of the family farmhouse and vineyards.

A staunch supporter of Piedmontese wine tradition, his pursuit of excellence led to the meticulous selection and acquisition of the most promising crus in Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi. His entrepreneurial journey did not only involve business development but also a strong commitment to further increasing the value of the territory. This included the acquisition in 1988 of Cerequio, a hamlet in La Morra, its subsequentrenovation and the opening of the PalásCerequio resort.

In 1989, he acquiredan hectare on the Cannubi hill, a challenging endeavor due to the steep slope reaching 50%, creating the first terraced vineyard with grass cover in the Langhe and contributing to combatting erosion and hydrogeological instability.

A driving force for the Asti region, Michele Chiarlo always believed in the power of collaboration and teamwork to achieve a greater common goal. After immediately recognizing the potential of the area, he dedicated himself to elevating the Barbera grape's prestige, becoming an advocate for and the first President of the AssociazionedeiProduttori del Nizza DOCG.

From the mid-1960s, he was among the first producers in Piedmont to believe in the success of Italian wine abroad, steadfastly making his way into the Northern European and American markets as well as gaining the trust of importers and consumers worldwide.

In his entrepreneurial career, he also served as the President of the Consorzio della Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato in the 1980s, in addition to being among the historical founders of the Consorzio Grandi Vini — the first supra-regional association of wine producers aimed at promoting the export of high-quality Italian wines — and the Istituto Grandi Marchi, which promotes the culture and tradition of Italian wine abroad.

In 1995, Michele Chiarlo acquired Tenuta La Court in Castelnuovo Calcea, a unique estate stretching for over 20 hectares across two hills.

For Michele Chiarlo, wine has never been just “wine” but the totality of elements that form the foundation of a community: history, culture, art, tradition, conviviality, and, above all, the territory — the true origin of every label.

A courageous and far-sighted vision, which made Michele, like his wines and the entire company concept, a territorial icon, both classic and revolutionary at the same time.


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