The Levi family originates from the Campodolcino area in the Lombardy region, an area where many distillers have been operating since the 17th century. Over more than two hundred years, some of them migrated to Piedmont during the harvest periods, equipped with portable alembic boilers, and produced grappa there.
The best grappas were produced from grapes from the Barolo and Barbaresco regions. Beginning at the 19th century, some of the distillers decided to relocate and set up permanent distilleries near good wine producers, mainly in the Piedmont and Veneto regions.
Serafino Levi settled in the village of Neive in Piedmont and started the family's grappa tradition as we know it to this day. In 1937, Serafino passed away, leaving the distillery to his wife, Teresina, and his two children - Lydia and Romano. Romano, then 17 years old, managed the production area at the distillery until his death in 2008. Other than family tradition and the family members’ extensive field knowledge, there are several other reasons that make Levi's grappa so popular and distinguished:
The quality of the Nebbiolo grapes - over the years, the Levi family studied grapes, and limited its suppliers to some of the best wine producers in the world. Among them are names such as Bruno Giacosa, Gaja, and Giorgio Rivetti. All pomace suppliers deliver the raw material to the Levi distillery immediately after pressing in order to preserve the freshness and richness of the fruit.
The methods for preserving and treating the raw material have not changed much since the beginning of the family's journey, although some of the tools have been refurbished over the years. Storage in a single silo tank and the quick pressing of the pomace to prevent oxidation create an aromatic and rich distillate.
The alembic boiler - the distillery established by Serafino was equipped with a single distillation boiler heated by direct fire, which is used by the distillery to this day. This old boiler limits the distillery’s production capacity - in each distillation, the boiler can hold only 300 kg of pomace and 300 kg of water. This amount yields about 20 liters at 80 percent alcohol, in a process that takes about 5-6 hours. This is the last distillation boiler of its kind in Italy and the only one in the world that is still used by a continuously operating distillery.
For more than 60 years, Romano has produced his grappa in the same methods used by his parents. The tradition of making Levi's grappa is also maintained in the longer than usual aging process - at least 4 years. One of the reasons for Levi's long aging is that Levi never added sugar or aroma-enhancing substances to his grappa, therefore requiring a stronger expression of the wood in the liquid.