"Grappa or Berta?" Rightly so, attentive service staff ask their guests this question. After all, Berta Grappa is considered the "noble forge" among distilleries. Grappas for every taste are produced at this distillery in the Monferrato region of Piedmont. They are bottled in specially created designer bottles. The noble brandies bear resounding names such as Mito delle Ore, Tre Soli Tre or La Musa and display an almost unbelievable variety of aromas.
To welcome us, the brothers Gianfranco (†) and Enrico Berta hand us a Monprà, which is also enjoyed in renowned Zurich restaurants. Berta Grappa enjoys such great popularity north of the Alps that Switzerland has become the second most important market for the traditional family business from Piedmont. Gianfranco wants to show us the inner sanctum of Berta Grappa. We follow him into a cathedral-like vault deep underground. The air is cool and permeated with a delightful grapey scent. A fascinating light show makes the vaults glow alternately green, blue, magenta and in delicate pastel colors, accompanied by soft classical music. Enchanting! We gladly let ourselves be captured by this atmosphere, gliding as if weightlessly past the 7,000 neatly stacked barrels. You can literally feel how the noblest and most precious grappas are maturing inside. Gianfranco Berta, who just a moment ago greeted us outside in a sonorous, loud voice, now speaks quietly, reverently, as if he did not want to disturb the harmony down here unnecessarily. "Without the factors of silence and time, grappa does not find its character!" The bearded expert strikes me as an alchemist who refines the grape marc - the waste product of grape pressing - into liquid gold.
"Without the factors of tranquility and time, grappa does not find its character."
Gianfranco "Gian" Berta
We taste a blend of Barbera and Moscato, the Riserva Di Lidia. It recalls Gianfranco's mother Lidia, who in the 1950s and 1960s bought wooden barrels that once held Marsala or local red wines. Her intuition told her that unimagined aromas would develop in them. How right the lady was! There is also history in Grappa Marisa: Berta created it especially for Marisa Vergani, Reto's mother. A unique expression of the friendship and intergenerational collaboration between the two families.
A sense of tradition plays an important role in this profession anyway: Grappa alchemist Gianfranco Berta has therefore founded the guild of the "Acquavitieri Italiani" according to the medieval model.
"Acquavitieri Italiani, of which he is the grand master. Master of Ceremonies Samantha Panza designs colorful historical robes for the illustrious knights and ladies of the guild. Foreigners are only admitted if they have made a special contribution as representatives of Italian noble spirits: Reto Vergani is the only Swiss whom the Acquavitieri have ever knighted. By his own admission, however, he does not attach any importance to the title "Cavalliere," which is appropriate to his rank.
Berta distillery is one of the largest and most prestigious distilleries in Italy. Paolo Berta had laid the foundation for the success story of Berta Grappa in the middle of the 20th century. Berta Grappa is distilled exclusively from marcs of high quality wine producers. Berta purchases the best grape marcs from wine producers in Piedmont and throughout Italy. Not only in Italy Berta has a big name. Also in Switzerland the Grappa Berta Tre Soli Tre, paolo Berta or Solo Per Gian are drunk. The Grappa Berta Solo per Gian is very popular especially in Japan. Berta Grappa has managed to make its name known beyond Piedmont and Italy. On your next trip to Piedmont or Italy, take a detour to Berta and enjoy a glass of Paolo Berta.