Welcome back to the Women in Wine series, where we celebrate the hardworking and inspiring women who create wines we love. We started the series with a unique city chic flair that changed how we view wineries today. This time, we take you back to the classic wine heritage of northern Italy that just got a makeover.
It is our pleasure to introduce you to Italian winemaker Claudia Cigliuti from F.lli Cigliuti vineyards in Neive, Italy. Our interview with her is the behind the scenes scoop of vineyard life.
Have you ever dreamed about working a on a vineyard? The sun on your face, wind in your hair, fresh wine on your tongue, and the cool chill of the wine cellar on your back after a long day. Claudia lives that dream everyday, but she warns its much harder than it sounds!
Claudia and her sister Silvia started working for their family vineyard on summer breaks when they were teenagers. Shortly after Claudia graduated, she was faced with the choice to either sell the family property or join the ranks of four generations of winemakers. She thought of the history, love, and hard work that her ancestors used to build the Cigliuti wine reputation around the world. From there, she says the choice was easy.
In an industry mostly dominated by males, her father, Renato, was shocked to see his two daughters take up his business. Today, the vineyard only has four staff members: Claudia, Silvia, and their parents Renato and Dina. In the summer, the work hours are long to make the use of the daylight. The family works from 6am to 12pm, then again from 2:30pm to 8pm. In the winter when the vines are dormant, the upkeep of the farm lasts from 9am to 12pm then the family works in the cellars or in the office from 1pm to 5pm. Claudia tells us her role on the vineyard is ever changing: some days she’s in the fields, others she’s bottling wine, in the winters she travels occasionally showcasing her wine. She even visited Kristen’s workplace at Pamplemousse for a special wine tasting! Stop by in the spring for a chance to meet her in person!
Currently, the Cigliuti family produces seven different wines using oak barrels, months of careful aging, and the native grape varieties of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. The winery is organic by tradition and these four winemakers produce 30,000 bottles of wine a year! They make a range of wines from everyday drinking like the light bodied and fruity Dolcetto D’Alba to the elegant, full bodied, and jammy, Barbaresco Serraboella. To see their full list of wines click here.
Claudia’s advice to fellow women is that vineyard life is wonderful but can be difficult when trying to raise a family on top of it. Her weekends are focused on errands, house cleaning, and taking care of her kids. It sounds like she tries to make the best out of being a full-time winemaker and a full-time mom. However, she enjoys her work in the open vineyard air and says, here, her is mind is truly free!
The Cigliuti sisters get a lot of satisfaction each day proving that a woman in the wine business can definitely do a ‘man’s job.’
“Moreover the elegance of a woman winemaker, you will recognize in the wine!” – Claudia.
With love from Italy, Claudia wishes you all a Merry Christmas
Professional pictures of the Cigliuti family taken from http://cigliuti.it/en/download/