The history of the Braida firm is linked to one of the most extraordinary personalities of the world of Italian wine, Giacomo Bologna. Over 220 pounds of exuberance and sheer likeability, a man of overflowing humanity, almost to the point of caricature, ably concealed behind a mask of smiling irony, a force of nature. At 16 years of age, he had inherited, after the premature death of his father, a lovely vineyard in Rocchetta Tanaro and, along with it, the rights to its name, Braida. Thanks to this vineyard he had an unshakeable faith in Piedmont’s most popular and widely planted grape, Barbera, at the time consider a bit vulgar and plebeian. But the wine which he created with the variety, Bricco dell’Uccellone, was a horse of a different color. “A virtual copy of its patriarch Giacomo Bologna”, wrote journalist Burton Anderson, “this Barbera, aged in French barriques, takes its name from a vineyard above Rocchetta Tanaro to the east of Asti, the wine is almost excessive, powerful, warm, generous, full of fantasy and character and, in any case, completely convincing to the taste and certain to pass the test of time”. Giacomo Bologna had studied the creation of the wine after a trip to California and an encounter with André Tschelitscheff, the American oenologist of Russian origin considered the world’s greatest expert in the use of small oak barrels. Experiments had convinced him that even Barbera (which he called with the feminine article, as all true inhabitants of Piedmont do), poor in tannins but rich in acidity, could reach a new level of aristocratic elegance when aged in the barrels of French oak from the Massif Central, something that few were convinced of at the time. And he was entirely right: presented at Italy’s Vinitaly fair in 1985, the 1982 Bricco dell’Uccellone was a resounding success, thanks to which Barbera was able to enter, for the first time, the ranks of the world’s great wines. Just as his father, Giacomo Bologna died at too early an age, but his firm, Braida, has continued to enjoy great success. It is run by his two children, Beppe, a trained oenologist, and Raffaella, as exuberant as her father and with the same marketing talents in her DNA. In 1991 they decided to bottle a new Barbera which Giacomo Bologna had conceived and followed right up to the harvest which preceded his death. And they baptized it with the name which he had exclaimed after tasting the fermenting must: “we’ve got it”, “Ai Suma” in the dialect of Piedmont.