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“Roots. Ribolla di Oslavia, a family tradition”: the history of Primosic in a monograph

A dedication to WineNews: “to create something new, one must be able to look far with memory to the past and awareness of the present”

“To create something new, one must be able to look far with the memory of the past and the awareness of the present”. This is the dedication, to WineNews, of the Primosic family, accompanying the monograph “Radici. La Ribolla di Oslavia, una tradizione di famiglia” (“Roots. Ribolla di Oslavia, a family tradition”), a personal narrative that highlights a new stage in the company's history, inextricably linked to the land of Collio and to Ribolla Gialla, the native vine that has dwelled for centuries on the Oslavia hillside, embodying the sense of belonging to these places where the border between Italy and Slovenia, between the Goriška Collio and the Goriška Brda, today is only an imaginary line where the universal language of the vine is spoken. And where three generations live together, in a continuous transfer of knowledge: Silvan, his sons Marko and Boris, and grandchildren, Greta, Nicola, Aleksija and Elia.
That of the Primosic family, after all, “as is often the case when talking about land, vineyards and wine, is a story made up of proper names”. Of lands suitable, thanks to Ponca, for the cultivation of vines: Collio, a borderland between West and East, between the Mediterranean and Central Europe, a crossroads of peoples, cultures, languages and traditions, and the quintessence of great Italian whites in the world, and Oslavia, the “hill” on the outskirts of Gorizia without borders or flags, which completes and enriches it but also represents its antithesis, because if Collio wines are a symbol of cleanliness and elegance, Oslavia is a breeding ground for stubborn and unique vines, and its tradition is macerated wines, the Orange Wines. But above all, of names of people whose work made a centuries-old tradition grow. If in the Teresian land registers there remains a trace of the first settlers who, precisely with wine, paid duty to the monks of nearby Mount Sabotino, the first name that tells the story of the family is that of Karlo Primosic who, at the end of the 19th century, when this troubled region was still under the rule of Austria, was already producing Ribolla Gialla fermented on the skins and aged in wooden barrels, with which he supplied wine merchants from the then Southern Austro-Hungarian Empire with the best tables in Vienna.
On the Collio, as in Gorizia, World War I was a catastrophe for men and crops, and Oslavia was razed to the ground. But Jožef Primosic, son of Karlo, knew where to start again: from that “peasant profession” listed on his new Italian identity card. Of the family tragedies and destruction it was only possible to re-emerge with great effort after World War II. In the 1960s, young Silvan Primosic, at the reins of the winery after the untimely death of his father, began bottling wine. Bottle No. 1 of the Doc Collio appellation and the newly formed Consortium comes right out of the Primosic winery. Ten-year milestones, such as the start of quality selections in 1989, mark the family’s more recent history. Thus were born the wines that are an expression of Primosic’s “philosophy”: the Klin and Gmajne are once again names that emerge from oral tradition and recall the plots and land where the grapes grow. With their father Silvan, taking care of the vines and winery today are Marko and Boris, who are Karlo Primosic’s great-grandchildren. However, it is still a story of wine and names: even today, the Primosic family, is recognized in Oslavia, as “those of Karlo”.
The Primosic family’s need to tell its story comes from the desire to want to stop a moment on paper, to know in depth its own history and the evolution of the Ribolla Gialla grape variety, so as to have strong and solid roots, to look to the future with greater awareness and to leave future generations with a fixed point to return to whenever they feel the need. The title “Roots” emphasizes the family’s ancient origins that date back to the 19th century and are the result of the influence of Germanic, Slavic, and Latin culture. They are roots that, as Silvan Primosic says, “resist the Bora and the vicissitudes of history, and have allowed the family to face difficulties, starting again each time from the land and from Ribolla Gialla”. And the monograph "Radici" is the result of a long work of research and introspection that has been taken care of in all its aspects: the texts of this journey into the past, present and future of the company are by journalist Alessio Turazza, a contributor to “Gambero Rosso” and other trade publications; the graphics, essential and elegant, are by the Mumble Design studio of Cormòns; and the photographs and family portraits are by Roberto Pastrovicchio.
“Since Karlo to the present day, many things have changed”, states the preface, “but the passion for the vineyard, the love of the land and the certainty that the best wine is what is yet to come remain the cornerstones of our work”.

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