Women in Wine: Claudia Cigliuti

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

Ciao!

Professional pictures of the Cigliuti family taken from http://cigliuti.it/en/download/

Women in Wine: Alie Shaper

When we envision wine drinkers, we think of fashionable ladies on Hallmark birthday cards sharing a glass on an ornate outdoor patio. When we envision wine makers, we think of men in button-ups checking giant oak barrels in some small Italian village. But we know this isn’t the whole image: men drink wine as much as women, and women make wine as well as men. In order to celebrate the diversity of the wine business, Half Past Wine-O-Clock has started a new series called “Women in Wine” to celebrate the great ladies who create the beverages we love.

And we’re starting off the series with an interview from one of our favorite Northeast winemakers, Alie Shaper from Brooklyn Oenology from Williamsburg. 

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To say Shaper loves her state would be a drastic understatement. Everything she creates comes from NY: her grapes, her arts, and her inspiration.

It wasn’t a stretch for her to come up with the idea of a Brooklyn winery. Although some may be surprised by the concept of an urban winery, this is exactly what spurred the idea of BOE in Shaper’s mind.

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“Brooklyn has always been a place where things are created,” Shaper said. She cites the industrial age of Brooklyn, and the neighborhood’s transition into a modern artistic community. She wanted to pay tribute to the area’s history of production through her NY-based wines. With grapes from the five wine regions of NY (most prominently the Finger Lakes and Long Island) accompanied by the label art from local, unlabeled artists, BOE does exactly this.

Shaper sees it as a “miracle” that she is able to work in wine the way she does. Originally an engineer, Shaper developed her vision for BOE while working in the import/export sector of the wine business. Struck by this inspiration, Shaper was “more excited than scared” to embark on what has now been a 10 year journey of wine production in New York and Brooklyn.

BOE started with just two wines and has now blossomed into three entire lines of wine, including Brooklyn Oenology, Shindig, and AsIf. The BOE wines are the largest collection. Shindig is a small line created with one of Shaper’s wine partners as part of an national collection of wines representing state grapes.

13400914_1056193077802077_1381558892_nAsIf, on the other hand, is a high-end collection showcasing Shaper’s skills as a winemaker. Named for her initials, “A.S.,” and the open-ended promise of possibility within the simple term “if,” this line is a testament to her abilities and an experimental push of wine-making boundaries.

All these wines can be tasted at the winery, as well as a collection of local NY beers, whiskeys, meats, cheeses, and more. The tasting room is a hub of NYC’s creative culture, showcasing the work of not only BOE but of its sister companies as well.

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And BOE has caught global attention from wine enthusiasts during this time. The winery appears in many international NYC guidebooks and has become a hot-spot for tourists and locals alike. The atmosphere of BOE is what Shaper defines as “a winery that feels like a living room.” She aims to transition from a world of wine consisting of up-turned noses and stuffy airs. Instead, she wants to share her wines with a broad range of people in NYC and beyond, whether they’re a sommelier or haven’t tasted a drop of wine before in their lives.

“I just want people to enjoy a glass of wine and be happy,” Shaper says. “That, to me, is what wine is about.”

 

Keep an eye out for our upcoming post on a BOE tasting room experience!
To find out more about BOE, check out our first wine review or their website.
Portrait credit goes to BOE and NYSun

Make sure to check out BOE’s 10th year anniversary event:

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