All the tastes and stories of the Rossi winery

You must ask yourself, what is crucial for some wineries to become world known? Is it the soil, the vintner, the sun, or the place?

We believe it’s the story. 

And we have The Story for you. It’s the story about Rossis

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Rossi Winery – to life worth living

Federico Rossi was born in 1865 in a small Friuli town between Udine and Tolmezzo in a family with many children who lived in great poverty. The only escape from hunger that the parents saw was to give the little child to the Trieste Orphanotrofio, an orphanage in Trieste. 

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

In those times of poverty, orphanages were full of abandoned children. At that time, when it was difficult or impossible to get money in the countryside, the then-Austro-Hungarian government decided to encourage adoptive parents with financial benefits. So Federico was adopted by a woman from Bajkini who, becoming a widow, could barely raise her own child, and the financial aid offered for the adoption of Federico was of great help to her.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

In the new family, Federico grew up equally with his new brother. Later, when the stepmother passed away, his brother went to Italy. At the same time, Federico stayed to work for food as a servant of the wealthy family in the neighboring village of Bajkini-Istria.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

At their place, he met their maid, who was herself an orphan, and his first love happened. But the masters didn’t have compassion for their love; after all, they hired them for their labor, not to be lovers and parents. It might become a custom or even tradition, so cruel masters (but all of them were like that at the time) chased the pregnant maid out of their home together with Federico. Federik’s wife gave birth in a field house made of straw and mud while it was snowing outside.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Nearby, in today’s house of the Rossis, lived a married couple of elderly people in poor health who were not cared for by anyone, nor could they maintain their property by themselves. Federico took care of them, and they offered accommodation to his young family. Federico supported them until they died and then inherited the house and some land. According to the official land purchase contract, Federico bought the first vineyard in 1885, and that’s when it all started.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Federico’s family had five children. Still struggling to make ends meet, Federico’s son Marco continued planting vines, among which at that time corn, beans, potatoes, lettuce, radicchio, and everything else that was needed for life, because there was little land and she had to make the most of it. Back then, everything was done by hand, without the help of oxen, cows, or loads they didn’t even have.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Federico’s Brandy

Back in the Austro-Hungarian era, Federico started producing brandy as an activity complementary to winemaking. After World War 1, during the rule of Italy, the production of strong alcoholic beverages was prohibited. Still, as part of the tradition of these areas, it continued to be hidden from the authorities in the forests and along the streams. In short, the Rossi family has been making brandy since they made wine.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

In the time between the two world wars, while the Kingdom of Italy ruled these areas, a bank decided to sell a large piece of land between the village of Bajkini and the river Mirna. No one remembers the price in lira, but it was worth ten adult oxen. Although penniless, Marco Rossi decided to take advantage of the opportunity. With his neighbor and a partner, he took out a large loan from the bank, which was supposed to be enough to buy land on which to plant vines. But his partner suddenly gave up, and Marco fell into unexpected financial difficulties and was under enormous pressure. 

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

There must be a solution

The extent of Marco’s predicament can only be understood if it is known that at the time, he owned only one load, and the market price of just one ox was four to five times that, and the cost of ten oxen was dizzyingly unimaginable. Finally, in failing health, Marco came up with a solution. He found a Venetian timber merchant, and on the land he bought with a loan, he hired many loggers who cleared it along with the stumps. They dragged the mass of wood to the river Mirna, then took it by raft to the port of Antenal at the mouth of the sea and then by boat to Venice. He earned a lira worth sixteen oxen and thus paid off the woodcutters, the raft, and — most importantly — the land on which he immediately planted vines.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Business Development

In the eighties of the 20th century, winemaking became the main commercial activity of the Rossi family. Larger quantities of wine were sold in Slovenia, where the demand for quality wines from Istria increased. In the 1990s, a wholesaler in Trieste bought large amounts of bulk wine. During that period, the Rossi increased the production of domestic brandies and created Biska, Medenica, Eucalyptus, and Orahovac.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

With the change of the millennium and the opening of the new century, under the motto “quantity is not important, but quality,” the Rossi family strategically invest in innovative technologies and branding of their products. Their goal is to create wines and spirits of the highest quality, to position them at the very top of the premium segment of the domestic and foreign markets, and to postulate the Rossi family brand as a concept of wine and spirit quality.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

Back in 1885, when Federico Rossi decided to buy a piece of fertile land on a hill above the Mirna River to plant the first scotch teran and malvasia on it, he had no idea that his fifth-generation descendants would still be engaged in winemaking, moreover, that the autochthonous bring Istrian wine varieties and brandy to professional oenological peaks. 

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

The wines of the Rossi family are produced from their own grapes grown on over 18 hectares of independently planted, modernly arranged, and carefully tended high-quality vineyards. The vineyards are located in nine locations around the village of Bajkini: near the school, Liškovac, Brzomilo, Brianovica, Finida, Konopišće, Babušea Gornji, Babušea Donji, Monte d’Oro, and Santa Lucia.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

At the Rossi family, visitors and guests from the property can enjoy the view of the greenery of Istria, where you can clearly see the jeweled towns of Oprtalj, Kostanjica, Grožnjan, Buje, Nova Vas, Brtonigla and Umag, the Alps, the blue Adriatic, and when the air is clear, even the buildings on the Italian coast. In addition, they are offered an additional offer: a tour of the winery and distillery, guided wine and distillate tastings, and tastings of autochthonous Istrian delicacies.

Rossi Winery photo archives
Rossi Winery photo archives

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