WINERY LOCATION: Gradisca d’Isonzo (Gorizia province), Friuli–Venezia Giulia
VINEYARD LOCATION: Collio area (Gorizia province), Friuli–Venezia Giulia
VINEYARD LAND: 250 acres (100 ha)
FARMING PRACTICES: Sustainable & Organic
GRAPE VARIETIES: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, Verduzzo, Merlot, Refosco dal Peduncolo
WINE STYLES: Dry white; dry red
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 600,000 bottles (450,000 liters)
OWNER(S): The Felluga Family
WINEMAKER(S): Alessandro Sandrin and Ilaria Felluga

One of the most interesting hotbeds of white-wine production in Italy is Collio Goriziano, a stretch of the hilly border of Friuli with Slovenia. Good growing conditions for white grape varieties, a penchant for experimentation, and talented winemakers combine to put this out-of-the-way area on the wine map. Two of the top producers in Collio are Marco Felluga and Russiz Superiore, both of which are now under the leadership of sixth-generation Ilaria Felluga, who is following in the footsteps of her father, Roberto Felluga, and her grandfather, Marco Felluga.  Both Roberto and Marco are icons for the region and were responsible for holding Collio to extremely high standards of production and viticulture.   

The Felluga family traces its wine industry lineage to the late 1800s, when Ilaria Felluga’s great-great-great-grandfather Michele started a business buying and selling wines in Istria (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Michele’s son Marco added winemaking to the business, growing grapes and making some wine on the family farm just south of Trieste in what is now southwestern Slovenia. After World War I, Marco’s son Giovanni continued the family wine trade, selling Istrian wine in Trieste and in Grado in southern Friuli. He also opened a cellar in Gradisca d’Isonzo in Collio in 1938, but World War II soon broke out, disrupting life for a decade. 

After the war, Istria became part of Soviet-dominated Yugoslavia, the family lost their farm there, and Collio became their home. Two of Giovanni’s seven children ultimately established wineries in the vicinity. Marco Felluga, after graduating from the renowned enology school in Conegliano, worked for his elder brother Livio for a while, before Livio left to open his own winery in Rosazzo. Marco stayed in the walled 15th-century fortress town of Gradisca d’Isonzo and founded his eponymous winery in 1956.

A major milestone for the company came in 1967, when Marco Felluga purchased the Russiz Superiore estate in Capriva del Friuli, some five miles north of Gradisca d’Isonzo. This ancient property added another 125 acres of cru-level vineyards for possible production, and Marco decided to operate it as a separate entity, with its own line of estate-grown wines, rather than combining them with the family’s existing vineyards. 

Marco Felluga and Russiz Superiore are now managed by Marco’s granddaughter Ilaria Felluga, who started working alongside her father, Roberto, in 2017 and took over the leadership role when her father passed away in late 2021. The vineyards are located in four different parts of Collio—Farra d’Isonzo, San Floriano del Collio, Oslavia, and Cormòns—which allows for strategic grape selection for the numerous wines produced. 

Three quarters of the winery’s production is white wines, made from both international and local grape varieties. The Marco Felluga line of white wines are kept mostly in stainless steel to ensure freshness, but are also left on the lees to add richness and complexity. They are designed to improve with age for several years and are considered an incredible value given their pedigree and quality. There are also red varietal wines made from Merlot and the indigenous variety Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso.