Ermacora is a family affair in the Friuli region in Italy's far north-eastern corner, with patriarch Marino watching over his nephews Dario and Luciano as they in turn run the company. The estate was first begun in 1922 when Marino’s father Antonio bought four hectares and a manor house and set about building up a polycultural farm that included grapes. It was Marino who took the decision in the 1970s to begin focussing solely on winemaking and they have gone from strength to strength ever since.
The family now owns 47 hectares, accumulated gradually over the years, and they have taken care in planting varieties that best suit each plot while ensuring that the local environment is respected. To that end they have retained wooded areas and left some fields to grass to encourage diversity, and only acquire land close to their home in Ipplis. Here, close to the border with Slovenia and just east of the city of Udine, their vineyards are protected from northerly winds by mountains and warmed by the air that drifts up from the Adriatic.
Very local varieties like ribolla giallo, friulano, schioppetino and refosco are planted alongside sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. There are three major vineyard areas: the first close to the family’s house at Ipplis, the second close by at Bostonat which they acquired in 2003, and the recently purchased Montsclapade cru a few kilometres away in Orsaria. While tradition and respect for the land and the established way of doing things is important, it has not stood in the way of investment in the kind of modern technology that enables them to make the most of their excellent fruit, and the family has installed a roof full of solar panels to power the winery.