Cantine Garrone hails from the heart of one of the wildest and most secluded Alpine valleys of extreme Northern Piemonte, right near the Semplon Pass on the border with Switzerland, called the VAL D'OSSOLA ('Ossolanum' as the Romans used to call it...from the Celtic 'Osolan', meaning "high ground").
Family owned and operated for generations, Cantine Garrone acts as the only cooperative winemaking and commercializing facility for the myriad of mountain grape growers that are scattered throughout the steep slopes of this rugged and untamed territory. Here the history and uniqueness of wine is more ancient than ancient Rome.
Aside from growing the typical varietals found in this area such as Croatina (Bonarda), Barbera and Merlot, the real claim to fame for this best kept secret of Piemonte is the indigenous and ancient PRUNENT, the true forefather of Nebbiolo and the very same varietal (Prunus Spinosa) Pliny the Elder described as being grown on mountains by the Gauls (Celts) of Piemonte, seemingly "feeding on fog".
DNA analysis confirms it is the most ancient Nebbiolo on Earth. Vineyards are on average hundreds of years old and grow high up the mountain-sides.
The local association of agricultural growers (about 60) teamed with Cantine Garrone in the 90's to begin a recovery and clean-up of these very old local vineyards and restart the production of a hallmark historical wine that spurred the introduction by the Italian government of the 'Valli Ossolane' DOC appellation in 2009, making it the absolute most northern and Alpine denomination of Piemonte.
The vines were originally planted on the southern slopes of the mountainside because the sandy damp soil of the valley floor is not well suited for agriculture, while the mountainous microclimate, mitigated by the nearby lake district, created an ideal wine growing environment with its day and night temperature variance offering a desirably slow maturation of the grapes and enriching the wine with extraordinary aromas. The vineyards are on small terraced plots, the majority of which are still grown in the traditional “toppia” or pergola system supported by ancient stone columns. The inaccessibility and the small dimensions of the vineyards require manual labor only. There is no use of chemical soil fertilizers and chemical plant protection is kept to a minimum. The intensive labor required for wine cultivation has only been carried forward thanks to the local farmers who continued to produce wine for personal use for all of those years, and who now bring the grapes to the Cantine.
The winery, which is located in Bisate di Crevoladossola, is equipped with the latest technology including a 14kW photovoltaic thermal solar plant which produced enough energy to sustain the production. The sun, therefore, not only brings the grapes to ripeness thus creating good wine, but also allows the production process to have no negative effect on the surrounding environment.