Lush green grapevines around Eugenio Collavini’s vineyard estateLush green grapevines around Eugenio Collavini’s vineyard estate

White finery

Eugenio Collavini

Hilly countryside around Eugenio Collavini’s estate in Friuli-GiuliaHilly countryside around Eugenio Collavini’s estate in Friuli-Giulia

A region, a family, a castle – and a wonderful success story.


The Nonino grappa distillery in Friuli-GiuliaThe Nonino grappa distillery in Friuli-Giulia

Female power: the renowned Nonino grappa distillery is firmly in the hands of women.

Torre Rosazza

View from above of the Torre Rosazza vineyardsView from above of the Torre Rosazza vineyards

Distinctive wines of character, produced using time-honoured and scientifically proven methods.

Winemaking between the Alps and Adriatic: The best white wine in Italy comes from Friuli.

Friuli Venezia Giulia – wine lovers generally just call it Friuli – is a crossroads of different cultures. The region is located in the north-western corner of Italy, between Austria, Slovenia and Veneto. For many years the Habsburg monarchy ruled the capital city, Trieste, which is just a few kilometres from the Slovenian border. It is a place where Italian, Slavic and Germanic influences meet.

Friuli is considered the best wine region in Italy, and with good reason. It was here in the late 1960s that the winemaker Mario Schiopetto first experimented with temperature-controlled fermentation. Other winemakers followed his lead and it wasn’t long until Friuli vastly improved the quality of its wine. Today, this wine region comprises around 20,000 hectares of vineyards. There are only a few large producers; most of the wine comes from family estates.

A mix-up in names

Friulano is the premier grape variety in Friuli. This is an old French variety, which has not been cultivated for a long time in France. At the start of the 19th century, it found its way to Italy, where it was called Tocai or Tocai Friulano. Hungary eventually lodged a complaint with the EU. They were afraid that the grape could be confused with the legendary Hungarian sweet wine Tokaji (Tokay in English). For that reason, ever since 2008, the variety can only be called Friulano. Floral and herbal-spicy, it yields distinctive, high-quality white wine. Sauvignon blancPinot bianco and Chardonnay also do well in Friuli. Ribolla Gialla is a long-forgotten variety that is coming back into fashion now.

A borderless winegrowing region

The best-known growing region is Collio Goriziano, called Collio for short. It owes its name to the town of Gorizia, located right on the Slovenian border. The appellation actually includes a few Slovenian vineyards. The winemakers do not see anything unusual about this, as they operate on both sides of the border. Other top white wine comes from the Colli Orientali del Friuli and Isonzo growing areas.

Of course red wine also flourishes in Friuli. Merlot and Carmenère (which for a long time was mistaken for Cabernet franc here) yield good results. The Carso growing area on the Gulf of Trieste also stands out thanks to the local Refosco. Winemakers in Friuli were also pioneers of the so-called «orange wines». These are white wines that are fermented on the skins the way that red wines are. For fans of this kind of wine, Josko Gravner and the Radikon vineyard enjoy almost iconic status. Finally, Friuli is supposedly where Grappa was invented. It is referenced in a document from the 16th century. Even today, Friuli is home to world-famous Grappa producers like Nonino.

Diverse cuisine

At one time, the historic city of Trieste was an important trading port in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So it should come as no surprise that Friulian cuisine has a lot of diversity. Here you will find such specialities as Vienna sausagesstrudel and goulash. The town of San Daniele is legendary among fans of Italian ham, while the Montasio Plateau produces a sought-after cheese of the same name. A sweet tradition lives on in Schiacciata di uva. This is a leavened cake with grapes, only baked during the wine harvest.

docg areas in Friuli

Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit, Lison, Ramandolo, Rosazz

doc areas in Friuli

Carso, Collio Goriziano, Friuli-Annia, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, Lison Pramaggiore, Prosecco

Key producers

Eugenio Collavini, Gravner, Jermann, Livio Felluga, Nonino (Grappa), Radikon, Schiopetto, Torre Rosazza

Wines from Friuli Venezia Giulia
  1. - +
    Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia
    100 % Merlot

    75 cl
    Altromerlot – Friuli Colli Orientali doc, Torre Rosazza
  2. - +
    Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia
    100 % Ribolla Gialla

    75 cl
    Turian – Colli Orientali del Friuli doc, Eugenio Collavini
  3. - +
    Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia
    100 % Pinot grigio / Pinot gris / Grauburgunder

    75 cl
    Pinot grigio – Friuli Colli Orientali doc, Torre Rosazza
    Special Price CHF13.90 Regular Price CHF16.50