Villa Guelpa

Lessona, Piemonte

Villa Guelpa is Daniele and Sonia. Daniele makes a miniscule amount of Lessona, Erbaluce and Nebbiolo. Sonia runs the lovely agriturismo from their sympathetically restored manor house that lies by the Strona stream on the edge of Lessona. Daniele was once the winemaker for Nervi whilst Sonia’s family owned vineyards in Gattinara. They are a remarkably energetic couple and have built Villa Guelpa from nothing whilst bringing up six children between them.

They own various patches of vineyard, including small plots in the alluvial, shingle-rich soils of Salussola and Dorzano; some vineyard on the volcanic soils of Bramaterra and some within the alluvial and sandy soils of Sizzano. Their Lessona is from a beautiful (rented) vineyard, some land has also been bought and cleared to supplement this, however these vines will not be ready for a few years yet.

The newest addition is an oasis of natural beauty in Mottalciata, a commune with no official (DOC) recognition, which has very similar soils to Lessona: ancient sands over volcanic and alluvial rock. They have just planted new vines here and are also involved in a collaboration to recreate artisan, organic risotto rice. The paddies are separated from the vineyard by ancient woodland.

The diversity of these terroirs has a huge effect on the vines and Daniele has a justified resistance to accepting the ‘Coste della Sesia DOC’. So, alongside the Lessona and Sizzano, he has three wines bottled as Vino da Tavola, celebrating Longitude 8 (eighth meridian east).

At Villa Guelpa, wines are fermented outdoors in cement tanks before being moved into the cellar for aging.