Named for his grandfather, the son of winery founder Giovanni Gaja, Angelo Gaja began working at the family winery in 1961 after completing studies in enology at Alba and Montpellier. (He would later earn a degree in economics at the University of Turin.) An indefatigable traveler, Angelo often credits his importing business — which gave him unprecedented access in his visits to wineries — for his expansive knowledge of the world of winemaking. Inspired by contemporary and traditional winemaking approaches in France, in the 1960s he began to apply his experiences to the family winery. He introduced barrique aging, hybrid French bottle formats and longer corks, and clonal and massal selection in the vineyard. Gaja also was the first to bottle a single-vineyard Barbaresco to highlight the extraordinary quality of his vineyards; previously producers had blended grapes from different vineyards. He was also the first to bring international grapes, like cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, to the Piedmont, a move opposed by his father. Moreover, he introduced the practice of cutting unripe bunches from vines to increase concentration in the remaining grapes. In the process, he single-handedly established Barbaresco as one of the great appellations of the world. His electric, charismatic presence and often poetical ruminations on the nature of fine wine make him one of the most respected and beloved figures in the wine industry to.