Lino Maga’s Barbacarlo wine – in the heart of the Oltrepò Pavese

The name Lino Maga is closely linked to the Barbacarlo wine, which is exclusively produced by him and his son Giuseppe, on a hill located in Broni, in the Maga Valley, Pavia – Oltrepò Pavese, an area situated on the opposite side of the Po river.

Their exclusive production of about 9000-10000 bottles per year has being made in Commendator Maga’s farm under the registered mark of Barbacarlo for over a century

The Barbacarlo History

Lino Maga descends from an old family of farmers and while telling us the story of the Barbacarlo wine, he also explains the reason for this particular name:

“Since I was 6, I have lived in the vineyards watching my grandfather Luigi and my father Pietro, working on the Barbacarlo hill. This name originated in 1886 as a tribute to my great-grandfather’s father, whose name was Carlo, and, who, still alive, gave this estate to his grandchildren. ‘Barba’, in the Pavese dialect means ‘uncle’, and the name Barbacarlo was same year registered and deposited at the Broni municipality. ”


Unfortunately, over the years, this historic designation, made available to the territory by the Maga’s family, had began to be more and more recklessly used by the many neighbouring manufacturers. Anyone in the area making good wine, used to bottle and call it Barbacarlo, taking advantage of the its good reputation.

“Everyone, in the Oltrepò, seemed to be allowed to use that name,” says Lino Maga. “So I decided to oppose to all this and I had to fight for many years, all alone, suing the Consortium, the Ministry of Agriculture and other manufacturers, in order to obtain the Barbacarlo Designation to be assigned only to a limited zone.

I managed to win all cases and from 1983 the name Barbacarlo is reserved to my family’s vineyards. All this cost me a lot, and not only financially. Only a few friends supported me, including Gianni Brera and Luigi Veronelli “.

Lino Maga con il suo Barbacarlo
Lino Maga con il suo Barbacarlo

The company

Here in Broni, Lino Maga and his family own 8 hectares of vines: of these, 4 hectares are located on the Porrei hill/Barbacarlo vines and the other 4 hectares in Montebuono. Soil is here steep and tufaceous, facing southwest and getting sunlight all day long. The production is all hand-made and no chemicals are used.

The grapes used for Barbacarlo are mainly the Croatina, the Uva Rara, and the Vespolina (also known as Oltrepò ughetta). The Montebuono has also a 5% of Barbera.

In the center of Broni they have an excellent wine cellar where one can purchase or taste all their wines.

Their philosophy

“Our main commitment is not to disappoint our customers in their expectations. The Lino Maga’s Barbacarlo wine is never the same depending on the season particular climate and other factors.

Now my son Joseph, who joined me in 1987, takes care of everything. Our production is based on the traditional processing and a careful selection of grapes. The yield is low, 35 quintals per hectare and wine is at 50%, and we do almost everything manually, as nature intended”.

Year after year, the Barbacarlo wine expresses different characteristics and may have a more lively or a less intense bubble. It can be dry or sweeter. In any case, it is a wine reflecting the ever-changing seasonal patterns and climatic conditions. The Barbacarlo wine has won numerous awards and prizes from many Italian wine guides and magazines such a Gambero Rosso and Expresso.

Barbacarlo di Maga Lino
Broni (PV)
Strada Bronese 3