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Prowein: Angelo Gaja wins Winemaker’s Winemaker accolade

Published:  18 March, 2019

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) has named Angelo Gaja as the 2019 recipient of the Winemakers’ Winemaker award, which is chosen by a panel of winemaking peers that comprise MWs who are winemakers and the award’s past winners.

Gaja was named as the winner of the award, which recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking, at a ceremony held at Prowein today (18 March).

Having joined his family’s wine business - Gaja Winery, in 1961, Gaja took over its management in 1969, overseeing its estates in Barbaresco (Piedmont), Pieve Santa Restituta winery in Montalcino (Tuscany) and Ca’ Marcanda winery in Castagneto Carducci (Tuscany).

A “traditional winemaker, successful businessman and dedicated member” of ‘la famiglia’, Adrian Garforth MW, chairman of the IMW, said he could not think of anybody “more worthy” of receiving the honour.

“Angelo has never been afraid to challenge conventions and norms, but always with the overwhelming commitment to the highest possible standards of quality in winemaking. Alongside his family, but also through the Istituto Grandi Marchi he continues to promote the highest standards of excellence, culture and tradition in Italian wine,” he said.

Gaja said: “When we welcomed a group of MWs to Barbaresco in 1973, we offered them what we regarded as our best vintages. They spoke highly only about 1961 vintage – their opinions about the other vintages were severe.

"At first, I felt disheartened, but later I realised they were right. It was a useful lesson from which we took inspiration to regain clarity in our wines. Over the years, every time I’ve had a chance to meet an MW, I've always learned something new.”

Gaja joins an impressive list of previous winners of the award – Peter Sisseck  (2011), Peter Gago (2012), Paul Draper (2013), Anne-Claude Leflaive (2014), Egon Müller (2015), Alvaro Palacios (2016), Eben Sadie (2017) and Jean-Claude Berrouet (2018).