I’ll Drink to That: Winemaker Beppe Colla of Prunotto winery

Episode 419 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Beppe Colla, the longtime winemaker for the Prunotto winery in the Piemonte, where he was also at one point a co-owner. He was one of the first to offer single vineyard Barolo for sale to consumers.

Beppe Colla is one of the most significant figures for the development of Barolo in the 20th century. He was one of the first to bottle and sell single-vineyard crus of Barolo (a practice that is now widespread), he and a handful of others set the appellation rules that define what Barolo is today, and he openly shared information with journalists and other producers – a rarity in the region. Colla came of age in the rebuilding period after the war, when opportunities were few: one of his early wishes was to have enough food to eat. He went on to become a sort of father figure for what Barolo is today, taking advantage of his educational and travel opportunities to really effect change in the region that was his home. There are several key pieces of context in this interview, and anyone who is curious about the historical relationship between Burgundy and Barolo will find this discussion of interest. Literally, Colla is discussing firsthand a time that few others could, as many of his contemporaries in the region have passed on. Colla, now in his 80s and blind, lives in a world that he can no longer see, but which he helped create.

Listen to this episode:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine