In 1972, Aldo Vaira (Vaira is the family name, Vajra the winery name) made a controversial decision to leave Turin to found the G.D. Vajra winery in the hamlet of Vergne, in the hills above the village of Barolo. At the time, most Piedmontese were leaving the countryside for the city in search of a better life; but he, born in Turin, had fallen in love with the profession of winegrower a few years earlier when his father sent him to spend the summer in the country, after he had shown a passing interest in the protest movements that were gaining momentum in Turin at the end of the 1960s. Thus one temporary rebellion led to a more permanent one; and although the family had owned vineyards in the area for several generations, wines were first bottled under the Vajra name in the 1970s. The initials "G.D." stand for Giuseppe Domenico, Aldo Vajra's father, who signed the founding papers of the estate in 1972, Aldo himself being a minor at the time.
In the beginning, Aldo and his wife Milena ran the winery on nights and weekends, while Aldo taught viticulture at the University of Alba. Over time, they expanded the estate to about 40 hectares, which is now cultivated in a sustainable manner. From the beginning, G.D. Vajra has been a family business, with the couple playing a leading role in the winery and vineyard operations. This love and enthusiasm for the land and the family's (new) tradition has clearly taken root in the next generation, as they have been joined by their daughter Francesca and their two sons Giuseppe, the wise elder, and Isidoro, the boisterous younger.
A major recent development has been the acquisition of the Luigi Baudana estate in Serralunga d'Alba. For several years the Vaira family worked alongside the Baudana family before buying the 4.5 ha estate in 2008. Azienda Baudana is run separately from G.D. Vajra and is overseen directly by Giuseppe, Francesca and Isodoro, allowing them, as the family winery did for their parents in 1972, to establish themselves. Antonio Galloni wrote of this development in the Wine Advocate: "I remain totally amazed at the total transformation that has taken place under the Vajra family's hands in what was once the old, run-down Baudana estate, and the best is yet to come... Luigi Baudana is one of Piedmont's great recent success stories."
Returning to the G.D. Vajra estate, the main grape varieties grown here are nebbiolo, dolcetto and barbera, but also the once important freisa, the delicious moscato, the discreet pinot noir, and even riesling grapes, in strict compliance with the ethical and fundamental values of tradition. The level of the wines is quite impressive for such a large estate, but Aldo and his children seem to have mastered all the Piedmontese grape varieties and specialities, without forgetting any!