Speaking of Gianni Gallo is hard for us, in view of our close friendship and his reserved, solitary nature. Without Gianni and his precious suggestions though, our idea of creating a series of artist labels would probably have never come to fruition.

The first sketches and ideas (ears of corn, ladybirds, crickets, wild flowers) in the story of this project were to result in the creation of a label for Moscato naturale in 1974. Thirty years later this label still seems up-to-date and perfectly appropriate..

In the margin of his label, Gianni wrote this thought brimming with poetry: “For the first time, I find myself wondering how it is that a wine – and so little wine all things considered – can be so deeply-rooted in me. I am surprised to discover that nothing rational comes to mind, only sensations such as running through fields bursting with fleeting, strong smells, colours, explosions amidst seas of yellow grain and green meadows.

And I remember parties, with cakes and the white wine that the children were allowed to taste too”.

In 1988, after a long association, he presented us with a designer label. On a piece of pear wood we had received from Japan via some friends he drew and engraved a sepia-coloured xylograph portraying – in a style which was very close to those of the Master Engravers of the XVI century (above-all Durer) – an incredible weave of canes, similar to those that often border embankments in the great vineyards of Barolo.

Canes live in symbiosis with the vine, preventing landslides when they grow on the very steep rocky ground above or below the vineyard. In the past, after they had been cut and stripped they used to be used to support the vines, while the leaves were used to tie the vine to the support..

The 8,900 labels produced from this xylograph dressed the 1982 Barolo Riserva Villero, the first vintage of this particularly highly-prized reserve to which we decided to dedicate all our subsequent special labels.