Located in Oslavia, on the border of Italy and Slovenia, this lovely family-run winery has been one of the initiators of orange wines in Italy. Farming biodynamically since 1988, Dario established his winery in 1993 and bottled his first wines. For quite a few years his wines weren’t selling but he kept producing the way he wanted and liked until finally interest grew. Nowadays he is one of the most known names in the natural wine world and he is also an important member of ‘Vini Veri’association.
The Azienda Agricola Dario Princic is situated in the Italian Friuli region, on the Italian-Slovenian border in the village of Oslavia. The area has been quite unfortunate historically and got basically abandoned after the First World War.
Dario and a couple of his fellow neighbouring winemakers started with natural winemaking in the late 1980’s and refused to treat their vines with chemicals. They established “skin contact wines”, as they call it what many understand as “orange wines”, in Italy where the kind had barely any precedent. Although it was hard to sell in the beginning, they’ve slowly gained a great reputation in the region. It’s mostly Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano (Jakot) and Chardonnay white grape varieties that undergo a maceration process, without any filtration or fining.
Dario has started bio-dynamic farming in 1988 and bottled his first wines in 1993. The soil is quite deep under the vineyards and is based on mostly clay and sandstone. The grapes are harvested by hand and get de-stemmed in the cellar. For the time of the maceration they’re placed in open wooden vats without temperature control. Following the pressing, they get transferred to old wooden barrels and barriques. Only a small amount of sulphites are added before bottling.
If it wasn’t already enough of the complications, some more trouble came along regarding the Tocai Friulano grape variety. The Hungarian “Tokaj” wine region, after decades of battle, has claimed and won exclusivity for the word “tokaj/tokaji”tocai/and the like…”. That’s when Dario and again his neighbours started calling their wine made from this grape “jakot”.
Dario also makes remarkable red wines as well out of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon is a late harvest, super complex, and spent 10 (!!!) years in the barrel!
The Princic family has been working together for many years now and the young generation is already strongly involved in the business.