During the same period I graduated in Eonomics in Milan and returned to Friuli to fulfill the obligation of civil service. In my spare time I started helping my father in the vineyard, discovering that working the land had a very powerful “grounding” effect on me, digging my hands in the earth after years of abstract studies.
My civil-service year went by fast. Free from other commitments I devoted myself full-time to the vineyard: I learned pruning, bending, spraying, plowing the soil, the management of the harvest …
Ferdinando meanwhile found another old vineyard, a little further west, in Corno di Rosazzo, in the eastern hills, with an adjoining ruined house. Over the years the house
It will be slowly restored, and will be dug an underground cellar.
In the meantime – while awaiting for our own cellar to be completed – we brought our grapes to a local winemaker recommended by another producer we estimated a lot: Gaspare Buscemi, who provided us with the press and the tanks, and taught us how to conduct fermentations on indigenous yeast, always and only in steel vats. We were at the end of the 90’s, indigenous yeasts were not on the hype as they are now, his was a choice of common sense, not ideological nor romantic, we liked his vision and the principle underlying the technique, beautiful in its simplicity.
We decided to adopt it, as steel was ideal for us to understand the quality of the raw material we had in hand without contamination given by the container; indigenous yeasts took away the anxiety of having to choose between thousands of yeasts on the market, to have to think about how to build a wine, at a time when fashion led to banana and passion fruit aromas even on our local, austere grapes. Our idea was instead of leaving the wine as whole and intact as possible.
At that time we produced 4 wines, a white and a red for each of the two vineyards: Galea white and red, Brazan white and red. The whites were field blends, made with all of the grapes of the vineyard (Friulano and Verduzzo in Galea, Friulano and Malvasia in Brazan), while red wines came from the only red grape that we had, Merlot. The choice was perfect, but complicated to explain to a market entirely focused – when it came to Friuli – on single-variety wines.
Over time we began to mature different choices: we began to separate the varieties, noticing that Verduzzo and Malvasia were marking aromatically too much the Friulano; we started making wine all by ourselves – so we could experiment freely and shorten the process, by avoiding clarifications, extracting only the purest juice…in short, we became independent. We bought adequate cellar-equipment so we could express our view to the best of our skills .