Born and raised in Friuli, these high school sweethearts lived eight minutes away from each other. At the age of 24, Enrico moved to Los Angeles and a month later Letizia followed. He found himself working two harvests in Ventura at Sine Qua Non as he paid close attention to Krankl’s unconventional winemaking.
It was in 2005 that Letizia and Enrico got married, moved up to Napa Valley and continued their wine careers. Unable to shake their love of Friulian viticulture, Enrico went on a search for his native grape varieties. Originally searching for Pinot Grigio and Malvasia, he found just what he was looking for in the Russian River Valley on Saralee’s Vineyard. In 2007, Saralee supplied Enrico with enough fruit to make their first vintage. Through the use of partial dehydration, skin fermentation and responsible use of new and used oak, Enrico is known in our family as the Magician. What he touches turns to gold and his wines continue to get better and better.
“We focus on the production of few singular wines whose character is necessarily influenced by our native land. Arbe Garbe is Friulian for the “bad weeds” which are often used as cover crops. Friuli… a region that like the arbe garbe has been there silently growing over the centuries, a border land that quietly and discretely provided fertile ground for the Roman Empire, the Barbarians, the Huns and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all of which invaded it and settled there throughout the centuries, all planting their roots and melting into the blend.
A land of migrants, silent crossroad of cultures where sacred and pagan have been living next door to each other, the people timorously gathering in the village churches while the witches were gathering in the woods. Friuli hides in the Valleys of the Eastern Hills. Its real essence, like its quiet population, is concealed in the arcane valleys carved by the rivers of the Colli Orientali: Natisone and Torre. These valleys are traditionally populated with peculiar wicked creatures that human are not, while the wine has been free flowing on every table of each household in every village, to our day.
Our endeavours are inspired by this history of descretion and endurance, by the dignity and modesty typical of our people, Furlans, hard-working and iron-willed as ever, humble yet proud of the cultural opulence and poignant beauty of this longtime forgotten Land. Working the land, making wine and baking bread were the everyday tasks of our ancestors.
Through crafting these wines we viscerally reconnect to our roots. The choice of grape varietals from vintage to vintage is in part a surprise and the variables of winemaking are determined as vintage calls, through diligent study, keen observation and raw guts. All that we have experienced and envisioned during our past wanderings, we express in every step of the process that brings these wines to life. With a purely hedonistic approach, we create ever-changing blends that embrace the melting pot we live in – California, and the one we’ve left behind.”
A le Salût – Letizia and Enrico Bertoz