Seven artisans of wine from Collio/Brda, where the most profound examples of skin-on wine can be found.
ORANGE WINE IS DIFFERENT
The fathers of these wines are from Oslavia, a village of 641 inhabitants on the easternmost foothills of the Collio, in the deep North-East of Italy. The leaders of the group of winemakers who change the rules of the game and started vinifying white grapes in a similar way to making red wine, are Josko Gravner, Radikon, Dario Princic, from Oslavia, the slovenian Valter Mlečnik and the friulian Stefano Novello.
The first two producers who bottled orange wines were Josko Gravner and Stanko Radikon between 1995 and 1996.
Looking for new ways, these pioneers turned their backs on the traditional oenology, which proposed, 30 years ago, a full package with ready-made solutions prepared for all scenarios. A globalised philosophy rejected by these wine-growers who chose to return to the origins.
The vinification changes, going back to 5000 years ago: selected yeast are not used and the white wines are macerated on the skins from 15 days up to few months, depending on the producer. Subsequently, the wine is refined from 2 up to 5 years in barrels or in earthenware vessels. After the refining process, the wine is transferred into barrels for settling and lastly bottled, without being filtered.
It would be misleading to say that orange wines are better than the others, but it is incontestable to say that they are different. Different because result of an organic and biodynamic farming and a total absence of chemical fertilisation. Different also for the work in the wine cellar, where all the wine making processes happen naturally, relying solely on the quality of the grapes which must be extremely high.
The Collio/Brda is a breeding ground for brilliant winemakers bent on innovation.
There are many producers of orange wine in this region, some agreed to be interviewed, others, for lack of time, didn't.
The seven artisans of the wine interviewed shared an innate love for nature and the territory, which result in the production of unique and unrepeatable wines. Five of them are from Dobrovo area, in the Brda region. Two are Italians: Radikon from San Floriano del Collio and Ronco Severo from Prepotto, in the Colli Orientali del Friuli region.