Schiopetto | Friuli-Venezia Giulia

The Schiopetto Winery illuminated at dusk

Mario Schiopetto founded his eponymous estate in the 1960s and today the wines bearing his name are an absolute guarantee of quality. Mario was part of a group of wine producers who worked from the end of the 1960s and through the 1970s to improve and modernise the methods of Italian wine production. This famous group included the iconic names of Piero Antinori, Giacomo Bologna, Maurizio Zanella, Biondi Santi Franco and Biondi Santi Jacopo, Niccolò Incisa della Rocchetta and Angelo Gaja.

Travelling extensively Mario visited the best wineries in Europe and combined German technology with French finesse, bringing to Friuli winemaking techniques that, today, are taken for granted. These included stainless fermentation tanks for the whites and French oak barrels for the reds. He was one of the first to bring French vine clones into the Friuli vineyards, work with high-density plantings, and pick according to ripeness instead of tradition. He was also the first producer of significance in Friuli to bottle his own wines rather than sell in bulk to the local co operative, as well as being one of the first to vinify each parcel of grapes separately to really capture the individual nuances of terroir.

During the 1970s and 1980s Schiopetto became an inspiration and training ground for many of today’s great names of Friuli. Nestling in the hills running along the border with Slovenia, and sheltered to the north by high alpine summits, the vineyard has a unique microclimate which allows grapes to reach peak ripeness with an appealing acidity. Today, the estate numbers 30 hectares across four of the finest 'Crus' of Collio. The individual parcels of fruit are still vinified separately with specific yeasts drawn from each respective parcel of wines, and the whites only see stainless steel.

Mario passed away in 2003 and the state was run by his children until it was sold to Emilio Rotolo, owner of another leading estate Volpe Pasini, in 2014. Emilio’s approach was to change virtually nothing, in an effort to preserve the quality, soul and reputation of the estate. He was successful as these are still some of the finest white wines being produced in Italy today.