WINERY LOCATION: Canale (Cuneo province), Piedmont
VINEYARD LOCATION: Barolo, Langhe, Roero, Southern Piedmont
VINEYARD LAND: 62 acres (25 ha) owned and 49 acres (20 ha) contracted
GRAPE VARIETIES: Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Pinot Nero; smaller amounts of Arneis, Chardonnay, and Cortese
WINE STYLES: White and pink sparkling; dry red; dry white
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 400,000 bottles (300,000 liters)
OWNER(S): The Krause Family
WINEMAKER(S): Paolo Giacosa

The story of the Enrico Serafino winery is the story of Roero, one of Piedmont's key winegrowing areas. Roero faces the famous Langhe hills across the Tanaro River in the northeast part of Cuneo Province, and together with Monferrato to the east, Roero and Langhe are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their beauty and their winemaking traditions. Enrico Serafino is the oldest winery in the area, having been established by a gentleman of the same name in Canale d’Alba in 1878. The winery has now been in operation continuously in its original location for 140 years. 

In typical Piemontese fashion, founder Enrico Serafino made a wide array of different wines, using grapes grown in areas that even then were known for their high quality, such as Barolo and Gavi. Under modern laws, the wines of a denomination must normally be made inside the specified winegrowing boundaries, but this was long before the first DOC laws were passed in Italy, and it was not unusual for wineries to bring in fruit from any number of neighboring communes. Due to its very long history of making Barolo in Canale, the Enrico Serafino winery is grandfathered as an exception to the requirement to vinify Barolo inside the limits of the Barolo DOCG. Today the winery owns 25 acres of Barolo vineyards in the renowned areas of Serralunga, Monforte d’Alba, and Castiglione Falletto and also makes traditional red wines of Barbera d'Alba and Nebbiolo d'Alba. 

Less typically, Serafino in 1878 also began making metodo classico sparkling wines. At that time, sparkling wines as we know them today (wines that were clear of yeast sediment and didn’t routinely explode) were a relative novelty. The process had really been mastered in Champagne only a couple of decades earlier, and the procedures and technology were just starting to be available outside Champagne. But sparkling Moscato was beginning to be made in Piedmont, and Serafino was a trailblazer for the nascent industry. 

For the past 140 years, the Enrico Serafino winery remained a devotee of sparkling wine and is focused on the classic Champagne grape varieties rather than the more typical Moscato-based bubblies of the region. Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) was available to Serafino from the start, having been first planted in Italy in Oltrepó Pavese in 1865. Chardonnay was not brought to Italy for another few decades, but it eventually made its way over to Piedmont, too. From that point on, Piedmont wineries—if they could avoid the attractions of Nebbiolo and the region’s other primary grape varieties—could produce some very Champagne-like wines, and Enrico Serafino became renowned for its sparklers. 

In general, the sparkling wine producers of Piedmont were content to ride the coattails of Champagne, but when the EU ruled that wines from outside the actual Champagne region in France could no longer make any reference to Champagne on their labels, the spumante producers in Piedmont needed to establish their own identity. With six other producers, the Enrico Serafino winery spearheaded an ultimately successful process of creating a new denomination specifically for classic-method sparkling wine in the Langhe and Monferrato hills of southern Piedmont. In 2002 the official Alta Langa DOC designation was created and was subsequently elevated to DOCG status in 2011. Enrico Serafino continues to be a specialist in sparkling wine, featuring three styles of Alta Langa. 

The Serafino family remained in charge of the winery for a century, after which it traded hands several times. The current owners, since 2015, are the Krause family, who are committed to reestablishing Enrico Serafino as one of today’s leading wineries in Piedmont. With significant new investment, the winery is undergoing a renaissance with upgrades and advancements in the cellar, vineyard expansion, and a new emphasis on implementing sustainable vineyard and production practices.