Allegrini 2018

Barolo the values of the vineyards at the top: the outlook of Bruno Ceretto and Pio Boffa

Prices are not proportional to the value of the wines, on which we still have to focus. However, prices in the most prestigious crus will not fall

The prices of the most prestigious vineyards of Barolo, which exceed 2.5 million euros per hectare in the most prestigious crus, are certainly an important and positive fact, but also a warning bell, because the numbers are not in proportion to the actual value, albeit high, of the wines, and because there is the risk of hindering the investments of companies in the wineries of the territory.
However, if prices of the most important crus do not decrease, in the rest of the more than 2,100 hectares of Barolo, prices will stabilize in the future. It is essential to work on the growth of the values of the bottles, which also requires more in-depth work on the old vintages, compared to what has been done until now.
In short, the vision of the future, given to WineNews, of two of the most influential names in the Langhe of wine, entrepreneurs who have significantly contributed to the success of the wines of the UNESCO territory, such as Bruno Ceretto, patriarch of the Ceretto family, now head of one of the most important wineries in the territory, and Pio Boffa, at the head of the historic Pio Cesare, guardian of the memory of Barolo in the heart of Alba, and among the most established brands in the world.

“We should be glad for the values achieved, we get even more than 2.5 million per hectare in the crus. We are like Burgundy - explains Ceretto - , made up of many small owners. I believe that over 1,200hectares in Nebbiolo da Barolo, there are over 1,200 owners of the vineyards. The land was less expensive 40 years ago because people moved to the city.
These values were reached by fifteen great producers, who run around the world. We have improved viticulture, but above all the quality of the wine, and today we have these prices. However, we must remember that the Barolo 50 years ago - underlines Ceretto - was not popular, in 1960 it was a huge effort to sell Barolo, Dolcetto was the leader.
The world has changed in a better way, however, the real value of this area is made by many small farmers who sent their children to the winemaking school and then started their own small business with them. Today there are around 300 labels of Barolo, and they are our strength. Nevertheless, those who would like to expand their business are not able to do so, and this causes great problems. I’m 82 years old, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and I think things will change again. The prices of the 10-15 most important crus such as Brunate, Cannubi, Rocche di Falletto, Bussia and so on will not decrease, but those in the rest of the territory are likely to fall. Also because 60% of the Barolo that is in wine shops and supermarkets, which starts from the winery, costs no more than 9 euros per bottle, therefore everything will calm down. Moreover, I believe that in order to grow further we still have to work on the old vintages and on creating a historical one, something that very few of us have done here, even for economic reasons, until the end of the 90s of the last century, but it is fundamental to deal with larger ones”.“There is a trend of growing values. We consider it risky and without any economic reason - explains, Pio Boffa – and we have the areas of Barolo and Barbaresco, which had incredible performances in the last 10 years, but there is a lack of concrete foundations to support such a large increase in values, and consequently an increase in wine prices. We have to work a lot again, these land prices are currently “paralyzing” the investors.
The estimates of 2.5 million per hectare are also low, there are much higher figures for important positions, numbers that we, who have been here for many years, make our hair stand on end. Also because perhaps - adds Boffa - the climate will lead us to move a little higher in colder areas. However, these great values make me a bit scared, because they tend to raise prices. It’s clear that if we all sold wines at values proportional to those of the vineyards, everyone would be delighted, but that’s not the case. We have not built a secure basis, and we still have to work on it, we have to slow down, maybe even leaving more freedom in growth, even the vineyards, who has market, for those who grow not only on the markets of the world, but also in Italy, which has been overlooked. If good customers come to Italy and do not find our great wines, we cannot sell our wines in the world. The greatness of a wine is compared with the number of people who appreciate it, so on the one hand, it is right to enter international, historical and emerging markets, but on the other hand, we made the mistake of overlooking Italy, which is the market that has made us great and has allowed us to expand.

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