NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 27, 2012) - Less than 60 miles away (around 90 minutes by car) from the camera-laden throngs of Venice lies the charming and nearly undiscovered wine area of Collio, nestled in the northeast corner of Italy between Austria and Slovenia. Here, in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, vineyard slopes run down from the Adriatic Sea to the Giulian Alps, and some of Italy's finest white wines can be found. Follow the Strada del Vino (wine route) and head to the Zuani Winery in the town of San Floriano del Collio.
In Collio, warm currents from the Adriatic, plentiful sunshine and cool mountain breezes create wines with a character all their own, combining ripe, textured fruit, with zesty acidity and crisp minerality. Before viticulture dominated the area, Collio was known for its prized cherries, and in spring, travelers on the "Wine and Cherry Road" that winds through the vineyards of Collio will be treated to bucolic landscapes dotted with perfumed white blossoms.
At almost any time of year, wine and nature lovers can meander through lush green hills planted with vines and olive trees. Intrepid travelers can explore the region's leafy hamlets via Vespa or bike, and some wineries also offer vineyard visits on horseback. Sightseers with a less athletic disposition can visit scenic villages and castles from the comforts of their car. Next spring the Zuani Winery will open its own agriturismo (Zuani Casa) but in the meantime, vineyard tours and tastings can be arranged with a little advance notice. Borrow bikes from the winery and visit Collio on a cycling path. Guests can even pick vegetables and fruits from Zuani's own gardens and have them prepared into a delicious lunch or dinner.
Collio's multi-cultural heritage is reflected in its cuisine -- Italian with a "Mittel Europe" influence. An aperitivo begins with a crisp glass of Collio Bianco, served with frico -- Montasio cheese fried in olive oil until crisp and broken into delicious crisp bites -- and the region's renowned Prosciutto di San Daniele. After a long day of touring, tuck into hearty stews and polenta-based dishes, and if you still have an appetite, sample delicious strucolo (strudel) made from stone fruits, another regional specialty.
The Felluga family has been producing wine in Collio for over a century. Drawing from her family's winemaking heritage, Patrizia Felluga and her children, Caterina and Antonio Zanon, combine sustainable viticulture practices with modern techniques to extract the very best from their vineyards. Zuani produces two Collio Bianco DOC wines: the un-oaked fresh, bright fruit Zuani Vigne and the richer, fuller-bodied and barrel-aged Zuani Zuani. Visit www.zuanivini.it or www.facebook.com/ZuaniWinery for details and to arrange a winery visit, lunch or dinner. To plan a trip to Collio, go to www.collio.it.