Ita Eng Deu

Parlano di Noi

Friuli via dei sapori

Marzo 2003

Apple: the grapes of Carnia

I have been shocked – because I didn’t expect this- to enter in a “cellar” in Verzegnis, after walking in a path in the middle of the woods – and not among vineyards – that suddenly stood up, hairpin bend by hairpin bend, with view on Tagliamento river, deeper and deeper. I was surprised to enter in this “vine cellar” where, instead of the vine’s perfume, you can breathe the apple’s one; a long, sweet taste of ripe apple. It was really pleasant to discover the application of enology on the apple juice’s preparation; not the industrial knowledges, but those of refined enology, high quality enology, where the center of the system is the vineyard – year the Appleyard-; the harvest – here the pick-up; the non-intervention – here the same. Since so many years I have said that in our time the vine is healthier and taster: since the mechanical enology has taken over – made of processes’ knowledge, of a non-interventionist philosophy of the product and those few interventions are only and exclusively mechanics, the majority of them attributable to the temperature’s control – the mechanical enology take over, as I was saying, sent away the chemical’s one: very good! So to Elisio Da Pozzo: the master of apple juice and cider obtained from his wine/Appleyard. I started to get curious and our conversation looked like we knew each other since our whole life. I wrote his most important consideration, the rest is told by his apple juices. To the question – from winemaker that spent his whole life looking for friulan autochthon varieties, tells me: “Of course. And do you know how the idea was born? The inhabitants of the village and surroundings came here to bring me their apples, picked-up in the abandoned apple orchards, and there are a lot. I made apple juice for them and I bottled it. The next year they came with more apples and every year more and more: all local. By word of mouth of goodness of “loromio” juice convinced them to expand the harvesting area. Result with more meanings: the rediscovery of an antique drink and the recovering of extraordinary apple plants, the most part older than 40/50 years, not exploited and so not able to give excellent fruit; that means the lawn care, their mowing and finally an environment that turns again into a garden as those of our ancestors”. From these findings and from the possibility to recover this precious heritage of plants otherwise sadly abandoned, was born the apple juice made from autochthon apples from Carnia. This is Elisio: a model company, Ecomela La Carnica, was born thanks to a so sensitive and farsighted person and his brother Franco. They started the first experiments in year 1989. In 2000 the laboratory and the “Cellar”. “In the fruit orchard that i planted here in Verzegnis – for costumer’s needs that confuses an apple with a little spot for a bad quality apple and for size – I had about 20% for waste. I thought: those apples are healthy and excellent, why throw them away. It is a crime. So I made the first 600 bottles of juice. I dusted the local tradition: when I was child I went to help, always in Verzegnis, the one who was considered the master of apple juice’s producers: Rico Zanier who, together with his wife Marina, worked with press – the same used to press the grapes – and we children went to bring him the apples and so, attracted and intrigued by his work, while I was waiting for my juice, I helped him. Then I improved that tradition with knowledge and science, entrusting myself to the University of Udine and so, cooperating with professor Zironi (who, not by case, teaches enology to the faculty of Agriculture of Udine, N. of A.). The result is the one obtained since long time in the wine: we shortened the chain: now from the orchard I transform my apples and I sell directly the product I obtain, without being held to ransom by the large scale distribution: I check all processes, I sell, with the apple juice, my life and environment respect philosophy too”. Then Elisio produced the cider and the apple vinegar too and the juice just petillant. But this is how the story goes one. And it goes on. The important was to start to write it.