Friday, October 2, 2015

the Balbiano winery museum

When it comes to wine Piedmont is the Italian Burgundy and Turin is one of the 3 European cities with a urban vineyard.
Last year we visited this Queen's villa vineyard during the harvest so today we'll tell you about the Balbianos, the winemakers who manage it.

Turin's Villa della Regina aka the Queen's Villa vineyard during the 2014 harvest

The Balbiano family has been producing wine since 1941 when Melchiorre Balbiano founded his winery; in Turin, they are known mainly for their Freisa di Chieri wine that can easily be considered as the Turin wine, being typical of the hills around our city.
Freisa though is just one of their wines as they also produce Bonarda, Barbera, grappa made with Freisa and four other Freisa di Chieri variants:

  • rosé spumante or bubbly, 
  • dry and still which is so unusual they label it surpreisa from the local dialect surprise
  • a superior variant  
  • the urban vineyard one.

Besides the very much appreciated wine tasting, the Balbiano winery visit has an extra perk: the museum! This is actually what really stays in the visitors' hearts because it is first of all totally unexpected, and secondly because it is a real present Mr Balbiano and his family give their guests, admitting them to their most intimate sphere.
Melchiorre's son, Franco moved the winery site to its current location which underwent a full renovation in the 1980s. Yet the original clay and limestone walls are still visible and you can even touch some portions along a corridor that leads to the museum.
Over the years, Franco has developed a real passion for antique country tools and has started collecting them: this is the first part of his impressive museum with the most interesting objects, some dating back to 1700!


Franco has always been a regular at flea markets and country fairs and he's still actively collecting wooden masks to scare the evil spirits of the countryside, butter churners and vintage 19th century photographs. Most objects are from the Piedmont country side and real examples of how the local lifestyle.



However, this is only half of the museum because his first love is toys! Antique toys, vintage toys, toys for boys and toys for girls. His collections stretch over ever growing rooms with talking stuffed animals from the early 1960s, tricycles, board games, tea sets and fully working miniature kitchens!



Room after room, we went through a whole spectrum of emotions that made us feel kids again. It is amazing what toys can do to you and how our grown-up life is so connected with the child within us. 
No matter where we are from, toys are so universal and so bonding which is why international visitors feel immediately involved by the Balbianos and their wines.


To be fair we also need to add that visitors are lovingly guided through Mr Balbiano's collection and production by his son Luca and Chiara, Luca's fiancée; this is no minor detail because both Chiara and Luca enhance the family atmosphere and maximize the visitors' experience, answering any possible question and showing the toys!

Luca Balbiano conducting the wine tasting

Read about our quick 3 hour long wine tasting here :D







No comments:

Post a Comment