Location: Farra d’Isonzo, Province of Gorizia, Friuli, Italy.
Foreign-sounding names are almost the norm in this borderland region wedged between Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The Jermanns have inherited theirs from Austrian-born Anton Jermann. In the late 1800s, Herr Jermann left his native Burgenland wine region and set down roots at Villanova di Farra, where he founded the family winery in 1881.
Silvio Jermann, Anton's great-grandson, does not look like a revolutionary. Yet here is the man who changed Italian wine history and created a new era in white wine vinification. Heir to a traditional Friulian winery dating back 130 years to 1881, Silvio graduated from two renowned wine academies, Conegliano and Istituto di San Michele. His first professional decision was taking an in-depth sabbatical overseas: this voluntary exile to Canada broadened his scope, allowing him a freedom of research that would have been unthinkable at home.
Today, the multi-layered, extract-loaded whites which bear Jermann's labels are landmarks in contemporary viniculture. Their inspired individual style speak volumes about Silvio strong will and an almost mystical view of wine. Silvio personally monitors each of the numerous tiny vineyards, styling an ample range that now includes four delightful reds – an original interplay of Friulian and international varieties, where the region’s ancient native grapes express the character and originality of Silvio’s terroir and vision. The estate has seen impressive development starting with its 110th anniversary, 1991, when Silvio purchased vineyards in Ruttaris, the heart of Collio (next to Capo Martino). Total acreage is now 272, 198 acres of which is under vine.
In September 2002, the foundation stone for the new Jermann cantina was laid; it is here that all barrel-fermented and aged whites, and all reds, will be produced. On this occasion, Silvio Jermann pronounced a speech worth quoting: “This is surely the most important program in our family history. It goes hand-in-hand with a 19th-century respect for the terrain’s natural slopes and cultivation levels; the new winery and cellars are built like a rural village from the 1700s or 1800s, entirely in natural, local material such as stone and solid wood. We shall use barrels in various sizes, and historical native varieties that have grown in the area for centuries. I want the wines to be genuine. I want them to be balanced and elegant but above all, they should move us, prompt our emotions and a sense of authenticity.”
Silvio Jermann is now flanked by son Michele, General Manager Edi Clementin, and agronomist Stefano Amadeo.