Tucked between the ring of the Julian Alps to the north and the Isonzo and Judrio rivers to the east and west, the Collio was the first wine growing area in Friuli-Venezia Giulia to receive the DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata). The quality of its wines derives from a temperate climate with ideal conditions for viticulture. An almost continuous range of hills offers ample areas of south-facing slopes, the alps protect the vineyards from the cold air of the north and the proximity of the Adriatic coast favours day-night temperature excursions.
It is no surprise that the area has long been famous not only for the high quality of its wines, but also for its fruit and olive oil. The Collio was the scene of violent conflict during the Great War and following the second World War it was confined by the national border with the then Yugoslav Republic, but it has always bounced back from adversity. The first Producers’ Consortium in the region and one of the first in Italy was founded here.
It is on these soils that the Gradis’ciutta vineyards are located, on plots at different altitudes in order to provide optimum conditions for both international white varieties and the local ribolla and friulano as well as red wine cultivars.
The dialect name for the soil of the Collio is “opaca” or “ponca”, a low fertility sand/clay marl in which the local varieties flourish but to which international cultivars such as sauvignon and pinot have adapted with excellent results.
Ponca is the real secret of the wines of the Collio. Its high degree of permeability makes it the ideal soil for a region with high annual rainfall, while in periods of summer drought and high temperatures it supplies the vines with moisture, enriched with the minerals which are another distinctive feature of the terrain. It is for this reason that the DOC norms specify that to obtain certification wines must come from hillside vineyards where these soils are present.
The first Producers’ Consortium in the region and one of the first in Italy was founded here. Robert Princic held the post of President of this historic Consortium for six years, forging an additional bond with his native Collio.