Gravner

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The vineyards of the domaine curl over the hills passing seamlessly across the border of Italy into the slopes of Slovenia.  Meticulously maintained, the rows of grapevines settle into terraces that are dotted throughout with trees and bodies of water designed to attract wildlife and assure biodiversity.  Gravner is steadily replanting to assure the primacy of the autochthonous grape varieties of Ribolla and Pignolo.  After determining that stainless steel was not a proper marriage for his wines in the 1990s, Josko Gravner decided to follow the ancient wine-producing techniques used in the Caucasus and has began fermenting his wines in huge amphorae buried in the ground in his cellars in 2001, with a full conversion for all wines as of 2004.  The whites, which make up about 85% of the estate’s production, spend about 10 months total in amphorae, with the reds a shorter 1 to 2 months.  He insists on aging his wines in large barrels for many years so release dates for most wines are from 7 to 10 years and more from the date of harvest.
breg-b-2007-0.75 Bianco Breg 2007: the classic Gravner blend of Riesling Italico, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, fermented separately but blended and aged together. A textbook example of the Gravner approach: long maceration, wild yeasts, no temperature control; after the extended cuvaison and additional five months in amphorae, the wine has been aged for six years in large oak barrels; bottled unfined and unfiltered.
ribolla-2007-0.75 Ribolla Gialla 2007:  exclusively composed of the local Ribolla grape; fermented in Georgian amphorae buried underground; long maceration with wild yeasts and no temperature control; after fermentation, the wine rests again in amphorae for five more months and then is aged in large oak barrels for an additional six years; bottled without fining or filtering.
pinot-grigio-2006 Pinot Grigio Riserva 2006: a special bottling from an exceptional vintage; the prior release of this rare selection was from the 2001 vintage; longer aging, delayed release and single variety.
rosso-breg-2004 Rosso Breg 2004:  produced exclusively from the native Pignolo grape and fermented on the skins for an extensive period in large wood vats; wild yeasts and no temperature control employed; then, aged in oak barrels for an additional five years and given bottle age of five more years before release; bottled without fining or filtration.
Rosso-rujno-2001 Rosso Rujno 2001:  a selection of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon produced only in the finest vintages in very limited quantity (1700 bottles); a five week cuvaison in open oak vats and, as always, only wild yeasts and no temperature control; aged in oak barrels for seven years and then aged in bottle for an additional seven years before release; never fined or filtered.
Download Gravner Tech Sheet
Domaine NameAzienda Agricola Gravner Francesco
Family/Owners NameGravner
How many years has the family owned the domaine?1901
How many generations?4
How many hectares of vines are leased?13
How many hectares of vines are owned?2.5
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? Currently no certification or conversion
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).We cover the soil with grass and we only use copper and sulphur with propolis and fungus Glomus.
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?We constantly monitor the vineyards from April on, with manual defoliation and green harvesting
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning?No fertilizers; cut grass is left in the vineyard.
How do you fertilize?Manual harvesting starting in October
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?We do not purchase grapes; sometimes we sell grapes from young vineyards.
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.No
VINO #1IGT Venezia Giulia
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationIGT Venezia Giulia
Cepage/UvaggioSauvignon blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling Italico
% Alcohol by volume15.4
# of bottles produced10000
Grams of Residual SugarN/A
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsBracnik, Godenca, Njiva, Polje, Pusca
Exposures and slope of vineyardsBracnik: Southeast Southwest ; Godenca: Northeast; Njiva: South; Polje: South; Pusca: Northeast.
Soil Types(s)Ponca (flysch), marl and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)30 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)Between 4,000 and 9,000 vines per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)From the middle to the end of September. Uneventful year, with sunny harvesting and little rain
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
whole cluster, % destemmed, %1
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeAmphoras buried in the ground whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 2,400 liters.
Duration of contact with lees5-6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter harvesting, grapes are quickly pressed and put into amphoras buried in the ground for fermentation. No yeasts are used. During the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down 6 times a day. When the alcoholic fermentation is about to end , the number of times the must is punched dow is reduced and toward the end of the fermentation, the must is punched down only once a day. During the malolactic fermentation (which is natural and non induced), the must is punched down once a day. Once the malolactic fermentation ends, the wine remains in the amphoras until mid-March/mid-April, when the must is racked off and is put back into the containers without the skins. It remains in the amphoras for 5 more months (until September) and then it is put into barrels.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In Slavonian oak barrels whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 7,000 liters.
Duration of elevage6 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketMinimum 6 months in bottles. One single bottling for all the wine. The 2007 vintage was bottled on September 17, 2014
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes, while racking and before bottling. 99 milligrams per liter. It is the first vintage aged 7 years: 1 year in amphoras and 6 in large barrels
VINO #2
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationIGT Venezia Giulia Ribolla
Cepage/UvaggioRibolla
% Alcohol by volume14.34
Numero di bottiglie prodotte18000
Grammi di zucchero residuo /litroN/A
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsRunk, Hum
Exposures and slope of vineyardsRunk: Southeast; Hum: Northwest
Soil Types(s)Ponca (flysch), marl and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)20 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7,000-9,000 vines per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)October. Uneventful year, with sunny harvesting and little rain
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
whole cluster, % destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeAmphoras buried in the ground whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 2,400 liters.
Duration of contact with lees5-6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter harvesting, grapes are quickly pressed and put into amphoras buried in the ground for fermentation. No yeasts are used. During the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down 6 times a day. When the alcoholic fermentation is about to end , the number of times the must is punched dow is reduced and toward the end of the fermentation, the must is punched down only once a day. During the malolactic fermentation (which is natural and non induced), the must is punched down once a day. Once the malolactic fermentation ends, the wine remains in the amphoras until mid-March/mid-April, when the must is racked off and is put back into the amphoras without the skins. It remains in the amphoras for 5 more months (until September) and then it is put into barrels.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In Slavonian oak barrels whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 7,000 liters.
Duration of elevage6 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketMinimum 6 months in bottles. One single bottling for all the wine. The 2007 vintage was bottled on September 17, 2014
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes, while racking and before bottling. 80 milligrams per liter. It is the first vintage aged 7 years: 1 year in amphoras and 6 in large barrels
VINO #3
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationRosso Breg Table Wine 2004
Cepage/UvaggioPignolo
% Alcohol by volume13.65
# of bottles produced3500
Grams of Residual SugarN/A
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsRunk, Hum
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth
Soil Types(s)Ponca (flysch) marl and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)15 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)8,000 vines per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)October. A well-balanced year in Spring and Summer, with moderate precipitation in the Fall
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
whole cluster, % destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeSlavonian oak vats
Duration of contact with leesA few weeks
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter harvesting, grapes are quickly pressed and left to ferment. No yeasts are used. During the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down 6 times a day. During the malolactic fermentation (which is natural and non induced), the must is punched down once a day. The must is then racked off and ageing begins.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In Slavonian oak barrels whose capacity ranges from 1,000 to 1,300 liters.
Duration of elevage5 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketAfter bottling, wine ages at leat 5 years
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes, while racking and before bottling. 45 milligrams per liter
VINO #4
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationIGT Venezia Giulia Rujno 2001
Cepage/UvaggioMerlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
% Alcohol by volume13.5
# of bottles produced1500
Grams of Residual SugarN/A
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsHum
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth
Soil Types(s)Ponca (flysch), marl and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)35 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)4,000 vines per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)At the end of September. Rainy Summer with dry Fall, which resulted in the grapes ripening well.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
whole cluster, % destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeAmphoras buried in the ground whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 2,400 liters.
Duration of contact with lees5-6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter harvesting, grapes are quickly pressed and put into amphoras buried in the ground for fermentation. No yeasts are used. During the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down 6 times a day. When the alcoholic fermentation is about to end , the number of times the must is punched dow is reduced and toward the end of the fermentation, the must is punched down only once a day. During the malolactic fermentation (which is natural and non induced), the must is punched down once a day. Once the malolactic fermentation ends, the wine remains in the amphoras until mid-March/mid-April, when the must is racked off and is put back into the amphoras without the skins. It remains in the amphoras for 5 more months (until September) and then it is put into barrels.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In Slavonian oak barrels whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 7,000 liters
Duration of elevage6 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketMinimum 6 months in bottles. One single bottling for all the wine. The 2007 vintage was bottled on September 17, 2014
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes, while racking and before bottling
VINO #5IGT Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationIGT Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio 2006
Cepage/UvaggioPinot Grigio
% Alcohol by volume14.5
# of bottles produced1400
Grams of Residual SugarN/A
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsBracnik, Godenca
Exposures and slope of vineyardsBracnik: Southeast; Godenca: Northeast
Soil Types(s)Ponca (flysch), marl and sandstone
Average vine age (per vineyard)30 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)4,000 vines per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)Mid-September. A very good year, with little rain, healthy and ripe grapes.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
whole cluster, % destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeAmphoras buried in the ground whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 2,400 liters.
Duration of contact with lees5-6 months
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationAfter harvesting, grapes are quickly pressed and put into amphoras buried in the ground for fermentation. No yeasts are used. During the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down 6 times a day. When the alcoholic fermentation is about to end , the number of times the must is punched dow is reduced and toward the end of the fermentation, the must is punched down only once a day. During the malolactic fermentation (which is natural and non induced), the must is punched down once a day. Once the malolactic fermentation ends, the wine remains in the amphoras until mid-March/mid-April, when the must is racked off and is put back into the amphoras without the skins. It remains in the amphoras for 5 more months (until September) and then it is put into barrels.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In Slavonian oak barrels whose capacity ranges from 1,300 to 7,000 liters
Duration of elevage6 years
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketMinimum 6 months in bottles. One single bottling for all the wine. The 2007 vintage was bottled on September 17, 2014
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes, while racking and before bottling
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Some Thoughts About Our Friulian Trio

The Gravner operation is serene, simple, spotless, and small. The tour of the facility is quick, and each space is intelligently designed and spared of clutter or unnecessary objects. There is a holistic feeling throughout the endeavor. Josko was very cheerful and talkative (Mateja is traveling). The wines are as Neal described, and are totally […]

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The Obamas Drinking Gravner in Italy

I don’t know if you saw the news—I only saw it reported in Italian outlets—but the Obamas were in Italy last weekend and participated in a wine tasting and dinner where they drank the 2008 Gravner Ribolla Gialla.  There was a neat quote about the wine in Corriere della Sera: “Perché questi vini italiani mi […]

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Gravner’s Spellbinding 2008 Vintage

When telling the story of Josko Gravner, it’s tempting to fixate on his use of extended skin-contact and his employment of buried terra-cotta amphorae—after all, he was among the very first growers in Italy to revive these ancient techniques, and he is justly celebrated today as a pioneer and a living legend. A less-emphasized—but no […]

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