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Barolo en primeur 2023: ‘wine solidarity knows no boundaries’

Filippo Bartolotta reports on this year’s Barolo en primeur, the largest charity event in the Italian wine calendar, covering some of the most important lots to come from the “complicated” 2022 vintage.

€811,000 is the new record for the Barolo en primeur auction. A few days ago, at Grinzane Cavour Castle, connected live from the Christie’s offices in New York and London, the largest and most important Italian charity wine event saw a new success with plenty of philanthropists and investors donating for good causes.

Promoted and organised by the Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo Foundation, the CRC Donare ETS Foundation in collaboration with the Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe and Dogliani Consortium, in three years, the auction has raised a total of more than €2.3 million.

“In the first three editions, thanks to Barolo en primeur we managed to allocate the sum of more than €2.3m to projects with charitable purposes, in Italy and around the world,” comments Ezio Raviola, president of the CRC Foundation. “An exceptional result for an event that is intertwined with one of the great ambassadors of Made in Italy, Barolo wine, with the values ​​of solidarity, territorial roots and social participation. An extraordinary figure that encourages us on this path in the certainty that Barolo en primeur will be able to continue to grow further.”

Under the gavel of Christie’s Italia director Cristiano De Lorenzo, 11 barrel-lots of Barolo Vigna Gustava barriques from the 2022 harvest, each of which will give 270 bottles. The auction also sold the 550 litre ‘President Barrel’; 10 municipal lots (lotti comunali) made of 1,336 bottles of Barolo and Barbaresco from the 2022 harvest donated by 95 producers who gathered under the name of the “comune” appellation (i.e. Barolo Comune di Serralunga, Barolo Comune di Monforte, etc.) : in total 1,034 0.75l bottles, 242 magnums and 60 Jeroboams, combining for a total of 1318.5l.

“Until a few years ago, I could not have imagined that almost 100 local wineries would collaborate for an initiative that combines the promotion of Barolo and Barbaresco with charitable purposes,” explains Matteo Ascheri, president of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe e Dogliani. “As the positive numbers of the exclusive tasting also demonstrate, Barolo en primeur has become an event with international resonance, which is helping to develop the culture of en primeur in Italy too, an opportunity of great value for the entire national wine sector” .

Records were set for the 500l tonneau, which sold for €280,000, and the barriques lots number 10 and number 11, both of which were won for €50,000 each, in addition to the municipality lot number 20 the Comune di Barolo – consisting of 150 bottles, 35 magnum, 8 Jeroboam – with a winning bid of €20,000.


All proceeds, like previous editions, will go to charity, in favour of various local, national and international projects in the fields of art, culture and social issues. The winners of the lots will be given the relevant bottles, ready in 2026, embellished with the unique and unrepeatable label designed by the famous painter Otobong Nkanga, on which her original work The Journey of a Sip will be imprinted.

Like every year, the barriques are vinified by one of Italy’s most renowned oenolosigst Donato Lanati of ENOSIS Meraviglia Laboratory. Each barrel has the wine notes of Antonio Galloni.

To this result will be added the results of the lot combined with the twelfth barrique, which will be auctioned on 12 November during the World Alba White Truffle Auction, again at the Grinzane Cavour Castle, which will be live streamed with Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Singapore and Vienna. The related donation will be going to international charity Mother’s Choice, which has been working since 1987 to support orphaned children and young mothers in difficulty.

All revenues from the municipal lots will go to finance the Alba Wine School, the rest will go to support, among others:

  • The Next-Level Social Promotion Association, for a project to defend the rights to study of minors
  • La Cascina Aquilone ETS, which supports with adolescents and young adults with psychophysical and behavioural difficulties.
  • The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Italia Foundation, which promotes education on human rights, social justice, solidarity and sustainability.
  • The MondoQui Association, which aims to promoting dialogue between people with different origins and cultures.
  • The China-Italy Philanthropy Forum, for inter-cultural dialogue between European and Chinese philanthropic organisations.

The remaining six barriques will go to support social projects chosen by the philanthropists who won the respective lots.

“Barolo en primeur is a virtuous example of the activity that as a Foundation we have the duty to develop,” concludes Giuliano Viglione, president of the CRC Donare ETS Foundation. “A perfect union between the territory, its excellence, the work of those who live there and the related social environment. The numbers of this edition confirm the quality of this initiative, in which we want to continue investing”.

So, what to expect form these 2022 vintage lots? My answer to that is “let’s wait and see”. I know it could sound a little too politically correct, but the truth of the matter is that it was one of the most complicated vintages in decades, with one of the most severe droughts ever and a very early harvest. In a way, it wasn’t too different from the a vintage of 20 years ago, 2003, a year remembered for extreme heat across Europe.

However, after tasting a few barrel samples I was impressed by how, despite production being 15-20% lower, the grapes brought home must have been healthy as I didn’t perceive any signs of jammy/burnt fruit flavours, as we experienced with some of the 2003 vintage. The acidity seems to be alive and in line with some of the most recent spectacular vintages like 2021, 2020 and 2019. It might be a vintage to enjoy sooner rather then later, but the Langhe producers and their Nebbiolo vines seem to have adapted, or developed a great heat resilient gene!

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