Matjaž Četrtič, wines Ferdinand, Goriška Brda, Slovenia

Matjaž Četrtič (Photo: Archive Četrtič)

Matjaž Četrtič, the young winemaker from Brda, who has, together with his collegue from Collio, created a rebula/ribolla based sparkling wine which is uniting Slovenia and Italy – without borders with Rebolium Sinefinis.

What has brought you into the world of wines?

I live in Brda, so I was always living with wines. After I finished the elementary school I continued with agronomy and there was born the decision about my professional future. After the secondary school I studied winemaking at the University and after I finished the studies I started to work at our winery.

How would you describe your company?

Ours is a family business, where most of the works are done by me, my brother Iztok and my father Marjan. Each one has its own responsibilities. I take care of the wines and sales, Iztok takes care of the papers and logistics, father instead works mainly in the vineyard. Our registered brand Ferdinand’s name is name of our grandfather.

What’s your wine philosophy?

To make wines with less possible interventions, wines that express the territory where they have been born. Brda are an excellent territory where also less known wine makers create very interesting wines. Of course is the continuity in the winemaking one of the key points and this makes the difference between the best and the others. We already since quite some years produce wines from the bio grapes and have the bio certificate. We have also a nice advantage that our vineyards lay on nice airy positions in Kojsko, Šmartno and Snežatno on the right altitude (150-300m above the sea level). This airiness is a huge benefit – because of it the need of spraying is much lower. The means we use for protection are natural and soft. That’s why are, even more in difficult vintages, positions of vineyards and selection of varieties very important. We don’t use any mineral fertilisers (we use only bio manure), insecticides, herbicides. All our vineyards are covered with grass. It’s important to be consistent and to know what you’re doing. You have to follow your goal about how do you want your wines.  So for this is important the way of cultivation of the vineyard, the burden, choice of the positions, time of harvest, …  in the cellar instead we continue by selecting the way of production of wine and which can give to the wine a very different character. The best enologists are agronomists who are aware that wine is born in the vineyard and so they are able to create wonderful wines with less possible interventions.

Between your wines, which one do you prefer?

Absolutely one of the Rebula wines. In this moment I prefer MRR – macerated yellow Rebula. We are putting a lot of attention to this variety from which we create 4 different wines. Each of them is made in a different way. We have also a sparkling wine Rebolium, which we produce together with the winemaker Robert Prinčič from Collio in Italy – we are selling it under the brand Sineinis. Then we have also Yellow Rebula (Ribolla gialla), which is made entirely in inox and expresses the main characteristics of this variety  through its freshness. The Rebula barique instead expresses the minerality and longnose and the MRR, created with prolonged maceration – one year on its own grapes – is pretty extreme, specially for people who are not used of such wines.

Rumena Rebula, Ferdinand (Photo: Archive Četrtič)

Are your wines the way you want them?

Of course. It’s true that in our place is  (for european circumstances) pretty big influence of the vintage and weather, so we often depend on nature.

Which wine of some other winemaker would you want to be yours?

There’s no such wine. Every winemaker has his own style and in Slovenia even more. This may in this globalisation trends seem bad, but I see it positive and as opportunity to differ from others. But of course I love good wine, specially I love Champagne – from pure chardonnay -blancs de blancs.

Do you have any realizable or realized dreams?

Many ideas which I had as a teenager or student were already realized. One of the recent projects which I’m doing in collaboration with Robert is also already developing well. With Robert we were doing together the master in wine business in Trieste, where we recognized that we have similar ideas and goals. Also the wish to create a sparkling wine was a common goal – so we wanted to create together something new, unique, historic. Collio and Brda were in history one region. Only after Paris Treaty from 1947 was this region separated by the border and given one part to Italy and one part to the former Yugoslavia. The border has strongly interfered into lives of people, it separated families, properties and vineyards and people had to make different choices. Only after the entrance of Slovenia to the EU everything’s going the right way again. After the both regions were accepted into the C2 zone new possibilities were opened and wines from Collio and Brda are allowed to mix. That’s what we did as the first ones with Robert. Even if we united the Rebula from our wine cellar and Robert’s from his own, which are both DOC, we now sale a table sparkling wine with no origin: Rebula without borders or in latin Rebolium Sinefinis. This is for now the only 100% Rebula sparkling wine in Slovenia (maybe also in Italy), produced using the classic method. We don’t want to be compared with other wines with this one. We just want to be the best Rebula sparkling wine producers.

Do you have also any unrealizable dream?

One of them is following the last one. To unite Brda and Collio to something bigger and better. I don’t know if this will become true, but everything is possible. I have many more ideas, but I prefer to talk about the achievements then about dreams.

If you wouldn’t be involved in wines, what would you do?

I sincerely don’t know because wine is my life. But I know that I would, if I wouldn’t be working in wine business, which is not able to move, search for a profession in the wide world and live there at least a few years.

Where are available your wines?

In the inns and restaurants in Slovenia and some other countries. In this moment we are exporting to Italy, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Serbia.


Marjan Četrtič (Photo: Archive Četrtič)


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