Grandfather was joint owner of a cellar in Brtonigla; he had 3 or 4 hectares of vineyard. The tradition was continued by my father, and then by me. I started dealing with wine full time in about 1985, although I had even earlier taken part in farming and wine production. I was among the pioneers, for, if you remember, Malvazia came into fashion a full ten years after that. In 1985, we planted two hectares every year, and so we had a whole new product in the vineyard. Before all the trends, we realised that Malvazia was the future, since we knew its history. The old guys on the whole lived off Malvazia and Teran (Terrano), the best-selling items of the time in Austria and Italy. Four or five years ago, in Brtonigla, we started off a project to investigate the four types of soil (the grey, the red, white and black). Anyway, the Brtonigla trademark is divided into the four parts of the soil. I think this is really crucial and interesting. Our cellar puts out four Malvazias, from the four kinds of substrate.
Vineyards and assortments
We have about 55 hectares of vineyards, comprising about 55% Malvazia, 20% of Teran, Muškat Rose and Momjan Muškat, and about 20% of Cabernet, Chardonnay and Merlot. Seven varieties all told. We have sparkling wines out of Malvazia and Chardonnay. We are gradually accommodating to world trends.
We use only our own grapes because we think that wine quality starts in the vineyard. If our requirements change, we will plant what we need. I precisely know the areas on which I am producing, what variety I shall plant, what rootstocks are good for a given area… This is natural selection based on experience, and, in my view, the way to go.
Cellar, technology, wines
Today, you just can’t produce wine without modern technology, and our plant is state of the art. Just now we are getting a whole line for sparkling wine with all the necessary machinery, and a new isobaric bottling machine. We make Malvazia in a closed system, without racking, without air. This lets us use a very small amount of bisulphite. We got into the eco-production system almost three years ago, and soon we’ll get an eco label. For me, this is essential for this area.
The reds on the whole age in wooden barrels, especially the Teran. Few of the whites are aged, and then in big wooden barrels. The 2011 Malvazia got a prize at the Vinistra fair for the best aged Malvazia in Istria. A line I shall perfect is a line of Malvazias aged on wood, oak in particular.
My production comes to about 500,000 bottles a year, depending. But then you have to sell it all. Not all of it is sold in bottles, only what I think is good enough quality.