About Stefano Occhetti
In 2019, Stefano Occhetti, a young Piemontese engineer-turned-vigneron, returned to his homeland in Monteu Roero to take over 1.8 hectares of vineyards planted by his grandfather in the 1960s. Roero, separated from Barolo and Barbaresco by the Tanaro River, has a high proportion of sandy soils which results in a pure, bouncy, and perfumed style of Nebbiolo. Standing out from its better-known counterparts around the Langhe, Stefano’s natural ability yields a distinct and beautiful expression of what this region can achieve.
In a converted garage beneath his family home, where the tight space demands frequent reordering of the cellar, Stefano is producing an impressive range of Nebbiolo, along with Barbera, Arneis, and a sparkling Nebbiolo. Stefano initially borrowed equipment from nearby relatives and farmed the land around his home solo. The vineyard work is almost entirely manual because of the extreme steepness of Stefano’s amphitheater-style vineyards. In the winery, Stefano’s work is artisanal, thoughtful, and exploratory. It’s one of the great benefits of having less appellation restriction. The fermentations are spontaneous in varying vessels: concrete, French oak, and steel. Nebbiolo élevage can change depending on the cuvée, maceration times differ, and aging vessels and duration are mixed. There is no set recipe, however, as Stefano makes decisions based on intuition and familiarity with his home turf. He is clearly making the right ones. His wines are pure, expressive, and elegant in so many ways.
For anyone who has the fortune of visiting Stefano and experiencing a truck ride into the Mosel-like, terraced vineyards, there is a mix of excitement, laughter, and fear that will stick with you forever. Dust envelopes the car, high banks tower over the roof, and with extremely tight turns—Stefano manages it all with a cool, calm, and collected confidence. No surprise his wines mimic this innate ability.