Prologue

1866

No great story exists on its own: it is preceded by another story, which originates from another one, and so on, right back to the moment where everything began. Ours begins with a birth, that of Francesco Berta, our forefather, a landowner and winegrower.

1889

The years go by and the son becomes a father. First of Giovanni and then, a few years later, of Michele. Two brothers, two different paths: the first, a winegrower like his father, in Casalotto di Mombaruzzo, the second, a pharmacist in the big city of Milan. ere was no Internet, distances seemed greater, but even then, where there was a will there was a way: Giovanni sent Michele the raw materials and he transformed them in liqueurs with mysterious curative properties.

Chapter 1

the birth
of a dream

1945

Paolo Berta, Giovanni’s son, still had no idea that he would establish the Distillery. Paolo was just a young man who had attended wine-making school and was an apprentice at a winery in Canelli. One day he decided to stop and grab something to eat in a delicatessen, and this was to be the encounter that changed his life. The girl who was serving at the counter, the shopkeepers’ daughter, was so beautiful that Paolo came back every day for the next few months to buy all kinds of cold meats and salami just so that he could talk to her. He was already in love with her, despite the fact that the only thing he knew about her was her name: Lidia.

1947

Lidia and Paolo wasted no time: shortly after meeting each other, they got married and decided to make their home in Nizza Monferrato, and to build the first Distillery, on the ground floor of their home, in the name of radical, tenacious, uncompromising work. Work based on a maniacal and tireless quest for perfection, for the ultimate synthesis of the good and the beautiful, for the best raw materials, processed with a level of care bordering on devotion. The stills began to heat up right here where, when you look up, you can see the Barbera hills.

Chapter 2

From generation
to generation

1986

Those who dream big and aren’t afraid to sweat in order to make their dreams come true are often rewarded, and our family is no exception: Paolo’s sons, Gianfranco and Enrico, who grew up surrounded by spicy aromas and gleaming bottles, decided to follow in their father’s footsteps. A decision that immediately distances us from the logic of mass distribution in favour of handshakes, lunches in good company, customers who become friends. And, while the living room at home filled up with people from all over Italy, Paolo began setting aside some grappa, in small wine barrels…

1998

The moment of truth. Watched by his sons, Paolo opened one of his barrels of grappa. That deep, amber-coloured, fragrant liquid looked nothing like other grappas; it had become something else. Something revolutionary. Something characterised by the scent of years and of care. This was Roccanivo, the first Selezione Riserva, to be followed by others in the years to come.

Chapter 3

Bottles
have wings

2002

Gianfranco, a man with a passion for fragrances and flavours, a man who spent much of his time in the cellar, poured the deepest love into every drop of the grappa he produced; Enrico travelled the world, from Northern Europe to South America via the Orient, accompanied by the bottles his brother created. Gian’s wife Simonetta took care of the company’s administration. All that was missing was the space to house a dream that was growing bigger and bigger: from Nizza Monferrato we returned to Casalotto, to the very hill where we had come from and where part of us had always been.

2006

This land had given us its fruits; we decided to give something back. We purchased Moriondo Carlo, the historical name of the Piedmontese Amaretto, we began renovating Villa Prato, we bought Monteu Roero Castle and gave the local people the chance to visit it again. Everything seemed possible, everything was within reach, the big question mark hanging over the future gave us no cause for concern whatsoever.

Chapter 4

a new beginning

2015

Stories are never all good; unless you fall, you can’t get back up. Some falls, however, really hurt you deeply. Some falls leave an indelible mark. Gian left us; but his commitment to others, his love for the land, his desire to never settle for anything less than the best and never stop searching for the good and the beautiful will be with us forever.

It is in his name that we created the SoloPerGian project, a cellar, a grappa, a Foundation that helps the young and the not-so-young find their way into the labour market. It is in his name that we raise our glasses. SoloPerGian. SoloPerGian.

2022

It’s always been this way. We love houses full of people, welcoming friends, creating meetings. Relais Villa Prato and Villa Castelletto are living proof of this. We love doing things on a grand scale. And for grand evenings, weddings with lots of friends, shows that linger in the heart, Borgo Roccanivo is ready to open its doors. Another thing we love? The unknown, gambling on the future, always raising the bar that little bit higher.

Castelletto dell’Annunziata is our latest project; what it will become, we will discover together.

Paolo and Lidia no longer work at the Distillery, but their dream lives on, growing and being passed on from one generation to the next: that dream continues to travel and take the story of a love so great that it defies time to every corner of the world.