The project was born at the end of 2014 from the idea of ​​Dr. Roberto Baldovin and Flavio De Santa to try to cultivate, in the mountains of Alto Friuli, Solaris, a new variety of white wine grapes recently introduced in the Italian panorama; since it has already been tested even at much higher altitudes than those of our experimental fields (even at about 1,280 meters above sea level at the Passo della Mendola), we are convinced that this is the ideal cultivar to be cultivated in our Dolomite areas, in particular way in areas such as those of Forni di Sotto (UD) and Forni di Sopra (UD).

The main problem derives from the fact that Solaris is not yet registered in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, so it cannot be grown to produce and market wine derived from its musts; in order to be registered, therefore, it must follow a procedural and bureaucratic process, as it should be: this process is the experimentation in our region.

So we immediately took action to find a partner (required by law) and to submit an application for a “Request for experimentation” to the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. Our Partner is the distinguished Agricultural Institute “E. Mach “of San Michele all’Adige, in the province of Trento. This institute was the only one in Italy to test Solaris in its own laboratories and to submit the request for registration with the Ministry of Agriculture in Rome (registration was successful in 2013). Thanks to their research, as of December 2016, Solaris can be grown to produce wine already in Trentino Alto Adige and in Vento. Now let’s try to bring it to Friuli too …

The aim of the experimentation, in fact, was to be able to submit to the competent Bodies, by 31.12.2020, an exhaustive report where it can be stated without any doubt that Solaris (and also all the other varieties tested and included in the experimentation request ), can also be successfully cultivated in our localities, thus opening up a new local economy, impossible until a few years ago due to the lack of specific varieties for climates and soils similar to ours. Subsequently, to collect further data and results, the trial was extended until 31.12.2024.

From 01.01.2021 only dr. Roberto Baldovin and the “E. Mach “of San Michele all’Adige, together with the two collaborators (Oenologist Paolo Valdesolo and Dr. Nicola Macrì).

In April 2015, 25 cuttings in Forni di Sotto and 50 cuttings in Forni di Sopra were planted for testing purposes, all by Solaris on rootstock S.O.4.

In May 2016, another 400 cuttings were planted in Forni di Sotto (on 125 AA rootstock), again for testing purposes. On 09.28.2016 in Forni di Sotto the first ripe grapes were collected and immediately brought to be analyzed by a certified laboratory in Corno di Rosazzo (UD). The results of the analyzes during all the years of the experimentation are available at the link below:

Together with Dr. Roberto Baldovin and Flavio De Santa also actively collaborates with Dr. Marco Stefanini, researcher at the “Edmund Mach” Agricultural Institute of San Michele all’Adige (TN) and, until 2020, also Dr. Michele Bona, professional pruner.

For all varieties, the pruning system called “Simonit & Sirch” (http://simonitesirch.it) is used, named after the two creators, with double guyot system, single guyot and spurred cordon: we will test, based on the varieties and altitude, which pruning method is best suited to the places and the various species.

As mentioned, we take advantage of the Solaris experimentation also to test other varieties already registered both in the National Register of Vines and in the F.V.G. (Julius (on K5BB rootstock), with black grapes, Soreli (on SO4 rootstock) and Sauvignon Kretos (on K5BB rootstock) with white grapes), all resistant to cold and to the main diseases that afflict the vine. Julius, Soreli and Sauvignon Kretos were created by the University of Udine in collaboration with the Vivai Cooperativi of Rauscedo. Together with these varieties, in May 2018 a row of 50 Merlot Kanthus plants was also planted, again produced and marketed by the Vivai Cooperativi of Rauscedo. Finally, in the same period, again for testing purposes, 75 cuttings of Cabernet Cortis will be planted.

About a hundred cuttings of two experimental prototypes not yet registered (called RES F22 and RES F26, both on SO4 rootstock), one black and one white, were also implanted, being studied at the Research and Innovation Center of Edmund Mach Foundation of San Michele all’Adige (TN).

However, the bureaucratic process of the actual experimentation started on 29 December 2016, with delivery to the F.V.G. of the trial request, signed by Dr. Roberto Baldovin, by Flavio De Santa and the director of the “Research and Innovation Center of the Edmund Mach Foundation”. Below you will find the copy of the application dated, signed, stamped and registered.

A partnership with the oenologist and friend Dr. Paolo Valdesolo and with his friend Dr. Nicola Macrì of the “Enologica Friulana” company in Udine.

With a view to collaboration with the Friulian companies operating in the regional wine sector, from this year (2019), the laboratory of Enologica friulana Srl will begin a research path in collaboration with Dr. Roberto Baldovin and the promoters of the Solaris project.

Enologica Friulana’s interest in the Solaris project stems from the fact that we also firmly believe that the future of the Friulian wine sector passes through the implementation of quality viticulture with a very low environmental impact. We also believe that for a better expression of the vineyard’s resistance to pathogens, the place where the vine is grown is of fundamental importance.

Probably, the pedoclimatic situation in Montana, together with the genetic characteristics that determine the resistance of the Solaris, are integrated to amplify the resistance itself to the pathogens of the Solaris.

These are topics of undoubted interest also for us at Enologica Friulana, who therefore make our skills and resources available to contribute to the development of the “Solaris Project”

In detail, Enologica Friulana will give its contribution by analyzing the grapes and the wine derived from the micro-vinification of Solaris for the 2019 harvest and also the wine obtained from the 2018 harvest.

The main objectives of the collaboration are the following:

  • Define the ripening trend of Solaris grapes by correlating it with the climatic data collected by the local weather stations.

  • Evaluate the possibility of obtaining a characteristic wine linked to the Friulian mountain territory capable of meeting the satisfaction of consumers, and consequently able to increase the development of the agricultural sector and in particular wine-growing in the Friulian mountain environment.

  • Carry out a study on the aromatic characteristics of wine.

  • Isolate indigenous yeasts from Solaris grapes to study their fermentation characteristics and evaluate their suitability for the production of LSA (active dry yeast) suitable for marketing.

The analysis of the ripening parameters of the grapes will be:

  • Total acidity – tartaric acid – malic acid – citric acid – pH

  • Total sugars – glucose + fructose

  • Catechins – Total polyphenols

The analyzes of the aromatic characteristics of the wine will be:

  • Higher alcohols

  • Foreign

The organoleptic evaluation of the wines obtained from the microvinifications will be obtained through targeted tastings, which can be managed in the tasting room of Enologica Friulana which will make the room available.

The isolation of the yeasts and the characterization of the fermentation kinetics of the yeasts themselves will be obtained from grapes sampled in the vineyards under study (at different altitudes). The study protocol will be the same as previously used by Enologica Friulana for the selection of autochthonous Friulian yeast strains, in collaboration with the laboratory of Italiana Biotecnologie Srl.

 dr. Nicola Macrì – Friulian winemaking

Furthermore, from 2020 a new project will be launched, the “Johanniter Project“, in Forni di Sotto (UD), curated exclusively by dr. Roberto Baldovin, with the aim of bringing the F.V.G. also the resistant variety called “Johanniter” .