The region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the North East of Italy, is one of Italy’s most prestigious but little known regions in the UK. Historically the most important wine estates are mainly found in the regions of the Collie Goriziano and the Coli Orientali del Friuli, although the small region of Isonzo is now home to a wealth of superb estates. Although the regions found fame mainly for its white wines – here Sauvignon and Chardonnay can reflect the superb minerality of the terroir and have good aging potential – there is also some outstanding reds being produced, in particular from Merlot.

One of the most traditional grape varieties of the region has had to have be renamed- after 1st April 2007, the words Tocai Friulano can not longer appear on the wine labels (result of a legal battle with the Hungarians over ownership of the name Tocai) and this grape variety has now been renamed simply Friulano. Another variety native to the region is the Ribolla Gialla, which can be a complex wine with a fascinating nose when made from older vines.

The geographical complexity of Friuli-Venezia Giulia – alps, limestone plateau, alluvial plain and shelving coastlands – is mirrored in its social diversity.

This area has always been a bridge between the Mediterranean world and central Europe.

It has been invaded from every direction, by Romans, Huns, Goths, Lombards, Nazis and even the Cossacks. The result is a variety of local flavors: An Alpine, mountainous north; the old peasant culture of Friuli; Venetian Udine; Adriatic Grado; Aquileia, still redolent of its Roman past; and Trieste, the regional capital, shares more with Slovenia than with Italy.

There's no doubt that the people of Friuli have their own ways, traditions, and a strong sense of identity.

The local dialect, friulano, is undergoing something of an official revival.  Many road signs are bilingual in Italian and friulano, and studies of the dialect's history and variants are published by the Society Filologica Friulana in Udine.

Tourism is growing. Trieste is convenient to the cave-riven landscape of the Carso; Udine boasts excellent art collections; Cividale del Friuli preserves an historic center and some fascinating Lombard remains.

Aquileia has some of the most important Roman and early Christian remains in Italy, and is fifteen minutes from the lagoon resort of Grado, which conceals a tiny early Christian center amid the beach hotels.