Day 6 - Gancia
Day six of your wine tour takes you to the third and final winery. Gancia is just under 40km west of Alessandria, a drive of about 50 minutes through beautiful lush countryside. It is famed for its Asti Spumante sparkling wines, although Vermouth and Barolo wines are also among the products made here. Gancia has a rich history, which the tour guides explain with much flourish and pride.
It began life as a small family farm and business and has grown into a multinational, supplying wines across the world. Staff also lay claim to creating the first Italian sparkling wine. One of the early landowners, Carlo Gancia, spent time learning the ropes in France’s Champagne region before returning home to create his own version in 1865. The family, and much of northern Italy, hasn’t looked back since. Like Cantina Contratto, Gancia boasts vast underground cathedrals where bottles and barrels have spent years maturing at naturally perfect ambient temperatures.
There are more than 600 square metres of caves with vaulted ceilings, which date back to the beginning of the 18th century. The cellars also house the "Pressa Marmonier", used for gently pressing the grapes ready for fermentation. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Moscato grapes are also pressed in baskets for the Gancia "Classic Method" wines. Photographic archives and a cinema help to add colour to the tour, piecing together the Gancia family’s journey from smallholders to mass wine producers.