“What have I done that’s so important?”, is the name of an interview with the then 92 year-old Livio Felluga in the book published in 2006 for the 50th Anniversary of his Map Label, the one he will talk about on December 11 when he will address the students of the University of Udine on graduation day talking about “A wine label that speaks of marketing and the story of a region”. By Stefano Cosma - "Il Piccolo" - 24 November, 2009.
Livio Felluga, the patriarch of the Friuli Vineyard, who was forced to abandon High School in Grado after only 3 months after it was closed, will be awarded an honorary degree in Viticulture, enology and wine marketing. The degree will be given to him by the President of the Friulan University, Cristiana Compagno, and the Dean of the School of Agriculture, Roberto Pinton, in a ceremony in the Parliamentary Hall of the Castel of Udine. The introduction will be given to Roberto Zironi.
Livio’s viticultural journey has deep roots, starting in Isola d’Istria where the Fellugas were wine producers and merchants, especially of Refosco. Giovanni Felluga, who attended a viticultural high school, finished his final exam in 1889 with a course on grafting onto American rootstock at the Agrarian High School of Parenzo.
Livio’s father, also Giovanni, moved to Grado at his father’s wish at the end of the First World War. Shortly afterwards, the rest of the family joined him. At the time they were wine merchants specialized in “Refosco from Isola d’Istria and beer” as the old store logo claimed.
At fifteen years old, Livio Felluga started selling wine in Udine and shortly thereafter moved to Friuli and, after falling in love with the Collio (at the time borderless) and selling those excellent hillside wines, the Second World War arrived followed by his POW encampment.
He would have to wait until the Fifties to realize his dream when he bought his first land in Rosazzo and started building his cellar in Brazzano (Cormons). Around these original vineyards there are now another two hundred hectares of land and an entire family: the children Maurizio, Elda, Andrea, Filippo and the numerous grandchildren. In ’56 he wanted to sell his wine also in Milan and Rome and he decided - a precursor to modern marketing - to use a label with an ancient map.
Today everyone talks (sometimes even excessively) about the French concept of “terroir” in wine - the uniqueness given from the land. Livio Felluga, more then half a century ago, had already understood the importance of this concept and chose a distinctive brand and unmistakable label, a map, and making it into an icon of Friuli’s quality in the world.
Last November 3rd, Livio Felluga received from his native city the first edition of the “Isola d’Istria” Prize, an honor given by the local Italian community for “lifetime achievement” in “sustaining and strengthening the value of sense of place and its human, historical and cultural realities”. The prestigious honoring of the degree is yet another milestone of this newly graduated ninety-five year old has achieved; an answer to his initial question.