The head office of the Consortium for the Protection of Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe and Roero has been situated in Alba’s ‘Ampelion’ since March 2006. Ampelion and the Consortium together form a specialist ‘wine centre’, possessing both private and public elements, and linking the local world of wine production to the wider one of scientific research at a university level.
Within ‘Ampelion’ are organised not only the University of Turin’s three-year degree course in Viticulture and Enology, but also ‘Enocontrol’, the Centre for Food and Wine Analysis (sensorial analysis), the Certification Association ‘Valoritalia’, and the Union of Alba Wine Producers (‘Unione Produttori Vini Albesi’), who all adopt the use of the same traditional bottle, entitled the ‘Albeisa’.
Just down the hill from ‘Ampelion’, Alba’s famous Wine School (‘Scuola Enologica di Alba’), is to be found. This secondary school was founded on 2nd January 1881 by Royal decree with the aim of providing a modern scientific education to the area’s wine producers. Its first Headmaster was the locally renowned Domizio Cavazza, who did so much for the Langa wine world.
‘Ampelion’, apart from its function at the very heart of the world of grape growing and wine making in the Langa, is also symbolically representative of the area. The building which houses Ampelion is a lovely old ‘cascina’ farm house – once so typical of local agricultural activity centred around the family – perched on top of a hill just outside Alba. Renovation work has been made possible thanks to generous grants from the ‘Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo’ local bank, the Ministry of Education and the Province of Cuneo, and ultra-modern offices, lecture halls and seminar rooms have been built within its walls.
In the nearby village of Grinzane Cavour, the Ampelographical collection is to be found, which includes examples of many of the area’s indigenous vines. The vines are cultivated by a team of collaborators from Turin University and the ‘Vignaioli Piemontesi’ Association.