QUILA Estate was founded in 2019 as a personal project of Bisso, an acclaimed wine journalist who has also worked as a winemaker around the world (Chile, South Africa, France, Greece, Portugal and the US) and for the previous seven years as a winemaker in chief of a winery in the Barolo area.
The name QUILA derives from the common part of the Italian word “aquila” (eagle) as the estate vineyards in Cossano Belbo (Langhe) have the form of an eagle’s head and “tequila” as a large quantity of agave had been planted there by the previous owners. QUILA’s logo represents an eagle’s head and agave leaves in form of a wing. Also the Golden eagle is the official symbol of Mexico as well as tequila is its most famous drink worldwide. The connection with Mexico comes also through the so called Mexican “Nebbiolo”, one of the top red grapes grown in the country, which actually is another Piedmontese variety, nearly extinct in Italy. One of the main QUILA projects is to discover the potential of this “secondary variety” that has already received numerous accolades under the Mexican flag, in its homeland. The research started in 2015 and involves several producers from Mexico and the Universities of Turin & Piacenza.
In 2019 Bisso found the last existing micro-vineyard of this Mexican “Nebbiolo” in Piedmont, near Tortona and made one barrel of single variety Moretto (the local name of the grape), the first ever produced in Italy. Planting material has also been sourced from this micro-vineyard and the first 0.4 ha of Moretto have been planted at QUILA Estate in 2021.
Apart from Moretto, QUILA cultivates other local varieties such as Favorita, Muscat of Canelli, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. Most of the wines Bisso makes are quite experimental, like an “orange” Favorita with up to 200 day maceration in amphora, a dry Muscat, and a rosé pet-nat made from Muscat and Dolcetto. In the future, red wines will be added to the portfolio.
The research and experiments continue thanks to several varieties found in the oldest QUILA vineyard, planted in 1935: genetic analyses revealed the presence of such varieties as Uvalino, Malvasia di Casorzo and Brunetta di Rivoli, several clones of Freisa & Barbera. Three more varieties are yet to be identified.
In 2021 QUILA took on another small vineyard in the neighboring Canelli with two small plots of Muscat (one of the local Canelli clone and the other – Zibibbo or Muscat of Alexandria). Two new plots have been planted the same year – one with five clones of Barbera and the other with three local white varieties: Baratuciat, Bianver & Rossese Bianco.
QUILA is in organic conversion since 2020. Apart from the vineyards, olives are cultivated at the estate. 60 new olive trees have been planted in 2021 along with the 40 old trees already present there. QUILA's unique, inspiring wines are now available in Ontario.