Nadia Verrua

Nadia Verrua

Cascina 'Tavijn (Asti) (Enologa/Winemaker and Owner)

“Winemakers are viewed as more elite [than farmers] and thus more able to start changes for more sustainable farming.”

The artistic, personable, and determined Nadia Verrua of Cascina ‘Tavijn is now its owner and winemaker. Indeed, had it not been for her determination and strength of character, Cascina ‘Tavjin, located in the Asti province of the Piedmonte region, would not exist today.

Twenty years ago, the Verrua family, which had worked the Cascina ‘Tavjin vineyards since 1908, seriously considered selling their land. Nadia’s parents were farmers and had traditionally sold their grapes to a cooperative; her parents were tired, and their three children, all daughters, were grown and had studied in areas unrelated to agriculture. Moreover, it was not part of the culture and tradition to pass the management of vineyards and the production of wine to females.

Nadia, the middle daughter, studied art, but she also had a strong connection to the land and wanted to work with her parents to continue the estate. Not unlike other wine families of the Piemonte region that had only daughters, her father, Ottavio, was reluctant to let her participate in winemaking. However, her mother, Teresa, with whom Nadia had worked in the cellar over the years, persisted in her support of Nadia’s involvement. Her father ultimately agreed to let Nadia start with a production of 1000 bottles, all of which quickly sold. Her first independently bottled vintage was in 2001.

To make a long story short, Nadia now runs the small family cellar of Cascina ‘Tavjin, and she and her father jointly care for the six hectares of vineyards and four hectares of hazelnut trees that are planted on the property. Vines are cultivated using bioorganic methods, grapes are harvested by hand, and only large botti (barrels) of Slovenian oak are used for aging the wines. Nadia favors spontaneous fermentations with native yeasts and performs this stage of vinifying in either fiberglass or concrete tanks.

Being with Nadia is somewhat like being caught in a whirlwind. She is in constant motion! Within only two short hours we met her father, visited the cellar, talked with her two school-aged children and her mother, all while Nadia was engaged in putting her own beautifully designed labels on some wine bottles, handling phone orders, and carrying on a thoughtful conversation with us. Her husband is not involved with the winery and manages his own restaurant, Consorzio, in Torino (Turin). It features her wines among other notable wines of Italy, of course.

Advice. We asked Nadia for her advice for those wanting to become winemakers. Her response was that one needed to study and get experience in the vineyards and with vinification. Particularly important from her perspective is to “crush wines with your feet, to use your elbows, get dirty, and involve yourself fully.”

The Wines. Nadia crafts wines from three varietals: Barbera, Ruchè, and Grignolino, and produces 1000 bottles of each. Her Cascina 'Tavijn Bandita Barbera d’Asti receives consistently high praise and is described as refreshing and lean with focused flavors. Her Cascina 'Tavijn Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato, also well reviewed, is noted for its vibrancy under its deep purple color, intense flavors, and an aroma of rose petals. We greatly enjoyed her elegant and approachable Vino Rosso "Teresa" 2017 - Cascina ‘Tavijn, a Ruchè named for her mother, whom she greatly admires. The Cascina 'Tavijn Grignolino d'Asti, made from the less-known indigenous Grignolino grape is a fun, light wine.