You know all those stereotypes about Italians? Forget them if you want to understand Friuli. The land, the language, the regional character, even the names are different in this northeastern sliver of the peninsula wedged between Veneto, Austria and Slovenia. If we were to pick just one native who stands for Friulian uniqueness, it would be Silvio Jermann. His great-great-grandfather, Anton Jermann, came to Farra d’Isonzo from the Austrian winemaking region of Burgenland, via Slovenia — where he’d also grown grapes. In the tiny Friulian village of Villanova di Farra, Anton founded the family winery in 1881. Less than a century later, in the 1970s, Silvio revolutionized his forebear’s winery and the entire world of Italian whites when he created Vintage Tunina. First released in 1975, this blend of Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit launched Silvio’s fame as a winemaking virtuoso with a magic touch in combining diverse white grapes, both native and international, and getting them to perform together as they had never performed before. On 7/7/07, Silvio inaugurated a second Jermann winery, eight miles from Villanova and very close to the Slovenian border. This second location, in Ruttars, is every bit as spectacular as the first. Both cantinas are fully active and the newer site is exclusively devoted to such iconic Jermann wines as Vintage Tunina and Dreams. Today, the range also includes two delightful reds. Total surface is 150 hectares (370 acres); 130 hectares (321 acres) under vine while around 18 hectares (44 acres) are organically cultivated and devoted to grains, beans, corn and more. This exciting new project is called BJO (bio means organic in Italian; the J is for Jermann) and is the logical result of Silvio’s philosophy of authenticity and respect for the soil. Silvio Jermann works side by side with son Michele, general manager Edi Clementin and agronomist Stefano Amadeo. Total production is 900,000 bottles per year.
321 acres (130 hectares)
Farra d’Isonzo and Ruttars