Address: Dobrovo Naslov Zadružna cesta 95212 Dobrovo, SLOPhone: +386 5 33 10 100e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: https://klet-brda.si/en/Contact: Ajda MIŠKA 041/642-001, email@example.comOwner/s: Cooperative, so there are 400 members who own the cooperative. Managing director is Silvan Peršolja.Winemaker: Darinko Ribolica firstname.lastname@example.orgVineyards: 1000 hectaresGrapes grown: 27 varieties, 6-7 million bottles produced per year.
It is interesting that many of Slovenia’s cooperatives are both progressive hotbeds of research and depositories of historic information. Klet Brda (est. 1922) is a leader in both respects.
The coop comprises 400 members farming 1000 hectares (70% white, rest red). All are paid by hectare not the weight of grapes which allows for a superb selection of consistent blending material, as well as top wines drawn from very specific vineyard sites. Since 2003 there has been an emphasis on lower yields which have boosted quality across the board.
The central winemaking and growing team have complete control over what growers grow, how, what and when vineyard treatments are applied. When new vineyards are planted the central coop suggests which varieties, roots, exposition, etc. to employ. There is a strong focus on cooperative education and workers are brought in for monthlong classes each year to constantly improve skills and practices with the intent of insuring increased levels of quality across all members.
Brda’s vineyards date back 2,400 years and they received their first ‘official’ classification in 1797. The lower elevation hills were rated best back then and, interestingly, many of the old top ‘cru’ remain consistently good producers today. Other vineyards, classified then as lower quality then have proven to be excellent now that, specifically designated science focused viticulture is matched to their soil types now. Highly detailed scientific analysis going back 20 years allow designated brands to be planned before hand with specific vineyards in mind.
Vines are grown on the hills surrounding Brda between 50 and 350 metres. The lower, flatter vineyard harvest 7 to 14 days before the higher, cooler slopes. Compared to Italy’s Collio region across the border, where most of production is owned by a few large wine companies, Brda’s 400 family farmed vineyards are relatively small (2-3 ha), hand tended vineyards a remnant of Tito’s policy of allowing workers to retain privately owned plots.
One of the advantages in having a such a wide variety of small vineyards is the preservation of a large population of old clonal variations within each grape variety, creating a huge bank of natural biodiversity to draw from. The Coop has an ampelographic collection with 27 varieties of at least 10 vines per type. Facing global warming this has provided ready asset in generating new clones from those varieties.
Klet Brda is the world’s largest producer of Rebula (Ribolla/Savignonasse) a local variety it shares with Collio and Friuli generally. Other old local varieties have survived since ancient time in the collection and vineyards. Blaufrankisch was eventually planted under Austrian domination. Count Bagueri brought French grapes in the late 19th C, but these only took hold after Phylloxera, bringing an end to the ancient field blends of multiple autochthonous grapes.
Brands produced follow up from basic level Goriska Brda and Klet Brda through oak aged Quercus into upper tiered Bagueri Superior, De Baguer, Krasno and Aplus.
The main, Tito era winery was built in 1957 on the edge of town. Recently the main cellar and new tasting room were relocated to the ancient castle on the hill above. Impressively, the oldest bottle of Rebula in their archive collection dates from 1957.
One of many vineyards
A classic Tito-era winery building with form following function
Wine-maker Darinko Ribolica (right)