Photo: part of the cover photo of the new book ‘NORTH ADRIATIC’

Imagine a war between France and Spain: Spain has won and took half of the territory of Bordeaux and the new border would cut the Pauillac and Margaux areas into two. Top wineries will have their vineyards in two countries: it would be dramatic news!
Something like this happened in the North Adriatic. In 1947 and 1954 important and prestigious wine regions were divided between Italy and Yugoslavia. The wonderful region of Collio and Brda was cut into two parts, and the Karst too. And Istria was divided: a tiny part became Italy, the rest Yugoslavia. In 1992 that part of Istria was divided between Slovenia and Croatia. All this had consequences for the wines and viticultural developments.

Today, the NORTH ADRIATIC is a very peaceful part of Europe, where the openings of the borders – thanks to the Schengen treaty – have created new development. There is much to see and discover. All that is reason for my new upcoming book: NORTH ADRIATIC (title page above).
MY MISSION is to show that this is one of Europe’s most fascinating wine regions. This is ambitious, but my ambition is even higher: I would like to propose the North Adriatic as a macro-wine region in the same way as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piemonte, and Tuscany. The great wines, the many fascinating winemakers, the interesting diversity, the well-kept wineries, the beauty of the landscapes, the gastronomy, it makes that the region has all the arguments to be a European top destination. There are so many elegant wines that show their unique terroir. And it is not only whites, also red wines are of great diversity and can be of great class. But it is not only the prestigious wines that make a region important.; it is also the originality of the wines, and the North Adriatic has a great number of highly original wines.
            Photo: Roman remains in Aquileia, which has a long wine history

Few European wine regions have such a moving history. It creates a special attraction because the winemakers not only need to explain their wines, soil, terroir, etc. They also can tell about their history which gives a special attraction to the region. Everywhere, there are remains of the First or Second World War. But more important is the fact that the region has remained a fascinating wine region. The regions have much in common, also climate and soils, which don’t stop at the borders.

The famous ‘ponca‘ soil is found along a long ridge of many kilometers, in Italy, Slovenia and Istria. And the climate is fascinating because it is very different from that of other wine regions at the same latitude, made possible by the Alps and the Adriatic. The abundance of indigenous grape varieties and the great skills of the winemakers in Friuli, Slovenia and Istria make that there is a huge diversity of great wines.

Did you ever hear of orange wines? It is here that this trend started. I will explain the wines and give my vision on some topics related to the orange wines.
Photo: vineyards near Oslavia in Collio, with Gorizia and the Vipava valley in the background

Collio is maybe the most well-known part of this region: it has claimed an important status as one of Italy’s top white wine regions. It is correct: there is a huge number of absolutely fantastic wines of great elegance in Collio. On the other side of the border is Goriška Brda, or Brda: once Collio and Brda were the same without any division but in 1947 came the border and Brda became part of Yugoslavia. Is it a setback for Brda? I don’t think so, because Brda, too, is a great wine region that merits the same status as Italian Collio. More you will read in my book. Another important region is Colli Orientali, situated in the eastern hills of Friuli, with an abundance of fantastic wineries. In my book, you will learn more! Also about Isonzo, which is a smaller wine region: it has a large number of high-quality wines and prestigious wineries. And there is much more: Friuli Grave is a large region that is undiscovered by the public, time to discover the wines of Grave! The same for Karst and Aquileia which are smaller regions but have much to offer. And did you ever hear of the Vipava valley? It is such a wonderful wine region: a long valley with many fantastic wines: a particular mosaic of wines. And then Istria: my research learned me many interesting aspects of Istria’s wine history. And, do not forget the Slovenian part of Istria: it makes interesting wines. But the biggest part is Croatian Istria where they make elegant Malvasias. By the way, Istria knows such a huge amount of highly interesting cultural monuments! Everybody loves Istria. And did you know that the Kvarner is a very interesting and original wine region? Read my book!
Photo: vineyards in the beautiful Colli Orientali region

The interesting aspect of the North Adriatic is the multitude of countries and influences: Slavic, Venetian, Italian, Austrian influences are still everywhere.
And the gastronomy? In many restaurants, dishes are offered with Italian, Austrian, and Slavic influences. This is the typical regional cuisine, it is fusion. The gastronomy alone is a reason to discover this region.
Photo: vineyards in Isonzo wine region: it has a lot of high-quality wines.

The NORTH ADRIATIC will be a book with 20 chapters and interesting information about the history, gastronomy, geology, and orange wines. There is rich documentation on the patrimony of indigenous grape varieties. The wine regions in the book are Colli Orientali, Collio & Brda, Isonzo, Grave, Aquileia, Karst, Vipava, Slovenian and Croatian Istria and the Kvarner. There will be 600 full-color photos by 2 professional photographers and maps of all regions. The design will be of high quality. And I had to limit myself to 272 pages…..

Are you interested? I am starting a crowdfunding campaign for this book right now! The final price will be EUR 50,00, but, if you buy the book now you save EUR 10,00 and buy it for EUR 40,00 (ex sending costs). For more information contact me:

Paul Balke
PS: in one wine tour you can visit wineries, places, and restaurants in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia, and Istria, in 3 countries. It makes the region extra interesting!

The region has great beauty and herewith more photo impressions:
Photo: Friuli Grave is a highly interesting but underrated wine region.
Photo: central Istria with the small hilltop town Motovun. It has a lot of interesting wines and.. truffles!
Photo: vineyards near Koper/Capodistria, with view on the Adriatic sea
Photo: Biljana with vineyards in Goriska Brda, a wonderful wine region, right at the border with Italy
Photo: vineyards in Vipava valley, another very interesting wine region!
Photo: Goriska Brda with the Julian Alps in the background