Perseverance, unity and courage: These are the principles that Stefano Moccagatta, owner of Villa Sparina, says contributes to his winery’s formula for success.
“But at the end of the day, the real ‘secret,’ the thing that is at the foundation of everything, is always the family,” he says.
Moccagatta and his siblings, Massimo and Tiziana, are Gavi producers who operate a family business purchased by their parents, Mario and Bruna, in the mid-1970s.
Villa Sparina is situated in the picturesque Alessandria province of Italy’s Piedmont region. Members of the Moccagatta family dedicate their lives to shining a spotlight on the Gavi territory. Intertwined within growing areas notable for famous reds such as Nebbiolo and Barbera, Gavi, a white wine made from the Cortese grape, has increasingly become a wine of conversation and desire.
The three siblings have created a welcoming estate. While each has a different role and varied responsibilities within the business, there is great synergy among them. Decisions are discussed as a group and made for the greatest success of the company.
“The real key is putting aside all our personal egos to create a company ego,” says Stefano. “The concept of Villa Sparina is il vino come principio creative [the wine as a creative principle]. Everything we do starts from wine.”
Villa Sparina’s vineyards span nearly 250 acres, primarily located in the Monterotondo district in the heart of the Gavi Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) region. The area, about an hour’s drive to the seaport of Genoa, benefits from the maritime influences of the Mediterranean.
The wines are notable for their distinctively shaped bottles, which showcase an inimitable silhouette inspired by an old vessel discovered in the estate’s historic cellar. Wine styles range from a lighter expression to a richer, ageworthy, single-vineyard Gavi Monterotondo from 40-year-old vines, and a metodo classico sparkling wine aged on its lees for 48 months. They also produce Barbera in a few different styles.
Over the years, the family’s belief in the potential of the Gavi region inspired them to transform the property into a place of hospitality. In 2004, they opened the doors of the Ostelliere, a four-star hotel, and La Gallina, a gourmet restaurant. A visit to the eco-friendly estate delivers an experience deep in history and culture and lasting inspiration by the family’s dedication to the land.
“The greatest thing we love to hear from our guests is, ‘We would love to come back,’ ” says Stefano. It is for their deep-rooted family values, quality offerings and ambassadorship of the Gavi appellation that Villa Sparina is named European Winery of the Year.