Exploring Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) wine country makes a great day trip or weekend getaway! Here’s everything you need to know for a fantastic tasting trip!
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There are two main areas of FVG wine country to focus on: Collio (also known as Collio Goriziano) and Colli Orientali (eastern hills). Wine experts can tell you way more, but it essentially boils down to two small wine regions bordering each other, specializing in similar but not identical wines.
Collio literally means hills, and it suits: the area rolls along sedately, beautiful whether covered in vineyards or woods. Many of the vineyards are framed with snow-capped mountains in the distance, making a visit beautiful year round. Both regions specialize in white wines, but have a few delicious reds as well!
Unique Wines in FVG Wine Country
When you’re trying wines in Collio & Collio Orientali, make sure to try these!
Friuliano: when in doubt start with the one named after the place. This is the most popular wine produced in FVG, and I’d never heard of it before moving here. It can vary in flavor and intensity, but it’s usually a bit dry and has a slight pear taste. You’ll hear locals also refer to it as Tocai, its former name that’s shared with a Hungarian wine. They’re not connected at all, so the Italian wine’s name was changed to Friulano.
Ribolla Gialla: Another super local white. It’s light and a bit friuty, but not very sweet. You can find both sparkling and still versions, though the sparkling is more popular and what I chooose every time.
Schioppettino: A red grown exclusively in Colli Orientali, it’s very rare because it nearly went extinct the in 19th century. It tends to be medium bodied with peppery notes, and one of my favorite Italian reds.
My Favorite FVG Vineyard: Flaibani
I cannot say enough great things about the Flaibani family vineyard! They’re part of the Colli Orientali region, sitting just outside Cividale del Friuli. They make an excellent Schioppetino – make sure to try it here! – and their red blend, Tentazione, is also excellent. The husband and wife team are quick to make you feel welcome and top off your glass!
Flaibani isn’t only my favorite because of the wines. Bruna and Pino embody exactly what you want to picture when you think of old school Italian wine production. They offer tastings out of their home and are incredibly friendly and accommodating, not batting an eye at us bringing along our giant dog. Our tasting hit that perfect balance of learning about the wines and grapes, but also chatting and getting to know the family and life running a winery. The wines were excellent, but the service and experience was even better! If you just do one tasting, do Flaibani
Gigante Wine & Welcome
Another favorite of mine is Gigante, located outside Cormons. We took a COVID-friendly getaway here for a weekend, and it was the perfect spot to hole up and relax! Their B&B offers a fantastic spa and great breakfast, making it a great jumping-off point for a wine vacation.
The family-run winery offers tastings and tours, as well as the option to try wines by the glass or bottle for guests! I learned a lot about the vines themselves on this tour. I think my favorite here was their Prima Nera, a sparkling rose (unusual in this region) made with schioppettino grapes. I’m saving my bottles for warmer months to enjoy on the balcony!
Enoteca di Cormons
While not technically a winery, a great spot to learn about the local wines is Enoteca di Cormons. Located in the piazza of Cormons, they served wine exclusively produced in the Collio area. If you ask, they’ll set you up with a tasting of local options served organized by type instead of producer. It’s a good way to compare how different the various Friulano wines are, or find a favorite vineyard you want to visit in person tomorrow!
If you’re looking for a hotel option outside Cormons, try La Subida – their rustic-elegant hotel is only beat by their Michelin-starred dinner!
Restaurants in FVG wine country
Breaking up all this delicious wine with food is a must, so here are some great places to eat in the area.
We got takeout from Osteria Solder while staying at Gigante and loved every bite! Their menu offers local seasonal dishes and changes regularly, but we loved their venison tortello and the mixed grill plate was really good. Definitely worth a stop.
Osteria al Ribolla
Osteria al Ribolla deserves a mention as well – it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area, and recommended by many of the local vineyards. Its location makes it an easy stop for lunch on a day of wine tasting. But it’s popular, so make a reservation!
We didn’t have a reservation so didn’t get to eat here, but many friends have and everyone has loved it. Definitely on my list for next time!
Other FVG wine country vineyards
Obviously there are a TON of other wineries in the area. They range from family-run small operations to massive resort-style vineyards, but great wine is a common thread. Here are the wineries on my list to try next: