In 1520 the Formentini family, Venetian counts, purchased the castle in the town of San Floriano del Collio, the highest hilltop village in northeastern Friuli, which sits in the heart of the modern day Collio appellation.
In fact, the Castello Formentini and its vineyards have quite a colorful history. Occupying a strategic location at the highest point in the region, which overlooks present day Slovenia, and once constituting an integral part of 16th century Venetian land holdings, a castle was built as a bulwark, first against the Ottomans and, subsequently, the Hapsburg empire. In 1615-1617, during the Wars of Gradisca, the nearby town of St. Florian (near the castle and its vineyards) was conquered by the Venetians, who found in the cellars of Castello Formentini “three hundred casks of wine exquisite,” according to a an account recorded by the Formentini family. So it is safe to say that wine from the vineyards surrounding the Castello Formentini and the hills of San Floriano has been made here ever since and the Formentini cellar is in fact, considered one of the oldest in Collio.
Today, there is a modern winery located opposite the castle, which is still owned by the Formentini family. At Conti Formentini, Winemaker Cristian Scrinzi manages 30 growers who have been supplying the winery for decades. The focus of the winery is on varietal-driven, aromatic whites typical of the area, including Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.