Successful European experiments have shown how prestigious wine production is closely linked to the image and origins of castles located in the heart of important wine-growing areas.
In these European regions, castles, viticulture and associated wine production are inseparably linked. The lordly income from the production and sale of wine in medieval times enabled numerous castles to be built and maintained in these territories. Once their defensive functions had ceased, wine-growing activities represented the economic basis of most of the castles in such areas, and this can be the function of farms that are still linked to a castle in Friuli. These activities are to be encouraged and developed, bearing in mind that the owner of a castle has an undeniable advantage over any ordinary wine-grower, because he can put to good use a historical experience of undeniable importance, as well as an image of history, culture and quality that only a castle can offer.
Projects aimed at reconverting farms that are still linked to a castle should therefore be encouraged, or typical farms around the castle should be re-established in order to develop or create wine-growing estates which enhance its full potential and guarantee the income needed for castle maintenance. The economic foundations of the castle must be re-established, and the wine-growing sector is the most natural and authentic of these foundations.
When managing such activities, great attention must be paid to the quality of the wine produced, with particular consideration for the finest indigenous vines, in order to further distinguish the site. Wine is a product that is very closely associated with cultural expressions: the type of vine, area of origin, method of production, vintage and cellar are all elements that should be promoted to the maximum, especially if production is linked to the castle. Enhancing the quality of the place, together with the landscape which is always of great value, and the architectural complex in which, or close to which, production takes place, is one of the success factors of projects requiring high-profile forms of use and promotion.
For the Consortium’s promotional activities and a few examples of activities, please see the volume Cantine nei castelli (Wineries in castles) published by the Consortium as part of its “Itinerari castellani” (Castle itineraries) Series.