The origins of the I Clivi vineyard are unexpected. Indeed, Ferdinando Zanusso, the founder of the estate, started his professional career in West Africa and, during his many trips, he developed a true passion for wine and its production. In the 90s, he bought a small vineyard of two hectares in the heart of his wife's birthplace, Brazzano di Cormons. The first vintages were humble and produced at a neighbouring cellar, Gaspare Buscemi, who only used natural yeast and stainless steel vats for alcoholic fermentation. Ferdinando and his son Mario admired this authentic technique and applied it in their own cellar in order to produce a wine as whole and intact as possible.
After the failure of the 2008 harvest due to a severe mildew attack, the estate rethought its winemaking techniques by producing more single variety wines and by introducing the Ribolla grape, that is according to them the future of the region. The vineyard cultivates as well the Friulano, the Verduzzo and the Malvasia varieties. They have always favoured local grape varieties because they believe they express the best from their precious terroir.
The wine region of Friuli, located in North-East Italy, experiences a mild Mediterranean to harsh continental climate. The vineyards are planted on the south and south-east facing slopes of the Dolomites, amid sinuous valleys. Here, we find a wide variety of grapes producing rich, ripe white and red wines. Wines from the plain are labelled Friuli Grave DOC and tend to be white, and made in a simple, fruity style. The regions of Collio DOC and Colli Orientali DOC, both located in the hills, are known for premium, more concentrated white wines with Colli Orientali also noted for its reds.
The troubled history of the region affected the local viticulture. Indeed, the area changed hands a few times. The German, Slovenian and Italian influences combine to create a riche terroir. The wines of Friuli started to gain commercial success in the beginning of the 70s and was one of the first regions in Italy to produce fresh, crisp and pure white wines.