Barbara Widmer

Years of Participation

Barbara’s parents, who established Brancaia in 1981, found their way into the wine business by chance. After a visit to Chianti more than 30 years ago, Swiss couple Brigitte and Bruno Widmer became enchanted with the Italian way of life and fell in love with a house in the Tuscan countryside. When they purchased Brancaia, the hillside—and 17 acres of grapevines—came with the estate, marking the family’s first foray into viticulture and winemaking.

Despite helping out in the Brancaia wine shop from time to time, Barbara initially pursued a degree in architecture, as a way to combine her love for painting and studying. But, two years into the program, a creative crisis brought her back to her family’s Tuscan estate. It was there that Barbara found her calling. Barbara earned her wine merchant’s diploma in Zurich in 1993 and trained at Domaine des Balisiers in Geneva, Switzerland’s largest organic wine producer. She later studied enology at the Swiss Institute for Life Sciences in Wädenswil. She took the reins as winemaker at Brancaia in 1998.

Since then, Barbara has instituted a terroir-first mindset through the lens of sustainability. In 2014 she began monitoring their carbon footprint. In 2015 she banned the use of pesticides and herbicides. And in 2019, Brancaia was certified organic in the EU.