Wine for Normal People Podcast — Ep 182: Marina Marcarino of Punset, Organic Winemaking Pioneer of Barbaresco

Continuing the Women’s History Month winemaker series, I speak with Marina Marcarino of Punset in Barbaresco, Italy. She is one of Italy’s most respected and influential female winemakers. In the late 1980’s, she ignored the norm and converted her family’s estate into a 100% certified organic vineyard. She is a kind, smart, savvy woman in wine and I learned so much from her about Barbaresco and organic farming — you will too!

Here are the show notes:

  • We discuss Marina’s childhood in Piemonte, the town of Alba and what it’s really known for (hint: NUTELLA!) and why being a “bad baby” led her on a path to making organic wine.
  • It’s Women’s History Month so we spend some time discussing her experiences as a woman in the wine industry and what it’s like to raise a child and be a winemaker.
  • We learn all about Barbaresco — the difference with Barolo, the unique geographic features — the Tanaro River, the consistent breezes, the differences between the diverse winemaking areas, and why the wines are so consistently good.
  • We pivot to discuss farming and Marina’s passion for organics. We discuss her philosophies, why she must do organic farming (or else no farming at all!) and why, despite being called “The Crazy”, she has persevered and now has others following her lead.
  • We tackle the importance of certification in organics and the difference between certifying a practice (organic) and a philosophy (biodynamic).
  • Finally we discuss winemaking and Marina’s goals to make her beautiful, wonderful wine. Marina gives advice to future female winemakers and we agree to meet in Italy someday soon (I love this lady!)!

Here’s where you can find the outstanding Punset wines in the US, Canada, and UK markets (use to see if it’s available near you, if you live outside these countries):

The US:
The UK:

And thanks to The Great Courses for sponsoring this episode. Get your free trial subscription at great courses

  • I stopped to listen to this podcast for 2 reasons: My name is also Marina, but more importantly I’m researching organic, biodynamic wines due to a recent medical issue. I loved this! I admire Marina Marcarino’s tenacity and dedication to her principles. I am so glad she is a leader in this area of winemaking!

    • Elizabeth Schneider

      Outstanding. She’s one of the best interviews I’ve ever had, from a personal connection perspective. Her wines are outstanding too. I don’t know if you like Riesling, but if you follow the next few posts here I’m going to mention a bunch of organic producers from Germany too. Notably, PJ Kühn makes some of the best wine in Germany and they are biodynamic! Stay tuned and definitely grab a bottle of Punset.

      Also, you may want to check out the podcast we did on organic and biodynamic (you can click on the category to the right here, but you have a million options. If you live in the US, it’s going to require you to dig a little bit because of the ridiculous labeling laws, but there are SO many options. Just stay away from the big brands, for the most part and do your homework. Organic, especially is big and growing!

      • Thank you, Elizabeth, for the invitation! I’ll listen to as many as I can find. I am so glad I’ve found you! You have a fantastic site.

        Yes, I’m in America, which makes many things a tad more difficult (in the area of wine). For instance, the state in which I reside does not allow me to purchase wine via the internet! How archaic is that? So finding organic wines locally is even more of a challenge!

        • Elizabeth Schneider


          That sucks. I actually did an audioblog on the issue of interstate shipping. I hate that states treat us like children and don’t allow us freedom to buy legal stuff online. I think it will all change in a few years, as it has been steadily, but it’s totally unfair.

          Another tip for organics — look abroad. France, Austria, Germany, and Spain, especially have a lot of vineyards that are farmed organically. If you look at my post on organics/listen to the podcast on it, you’ll know why they don’t put it on the bottle. The US is ridiculous about the laws. But their web sites will tell you if they are farmed organically and that’s the important thing!

          Please let me know if you have other questions!