Our Story

Nestled between Austria, Slovenia and the rest of Italy, Friuli has been silently growing over the centuries just like the “arbe garbe”, the bad weeds.  But everything is good about this border land that quietly and discretely provided fertile ground for the Roman Empire, the Barbarians, the Huns and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all of which invaded and settled there throughout the ages, all planting their roots and melting into the blend. A land of migrants, silent crossroad of cultures where sacred and pagan have been living next door to each other, the people timorously gathering in the village churches while the witches were gathering in the woods.

Friuli hides in the Valleys of the Eastern Hills. Its essence is concealed in the arcane valleys carved by the rivers of the Colli Orientali – Natisone and Torre. These valleys are traditionally populated with peculiar creatures that human are not and innumerable accounts of their sightings were handed-down by our great-grandparents. Meantime, the wine has been free flowing on every kitchen table in every village, to our day – although we do not ascribe the aforementioned visions to that.

Born and raised in this beautifully mystical scenario, we met at the waning of a torrid Friulian summer. Two philosophy students working harvest in the vineyards nearby to earn some money and follow their dreams. It was the late nineties and nothing seemed to make much sense with Kurt Cobain gone and a generational sense of vague displacement. Quickly our visions fused, our imagery fueled by the same fascination with Beat literature and old American folk and rock music. We packed up a guitar, a few books and little else and crossed the ocean. America was as big and wild as we had pictured it and so beautiful, we knew at once we were destined to stay.

We began crafting Arbe Garbe wines in 2007 as a way to reconnect to our roots. Not much has changed about us: making wine, baking bread, practicing yoga or strumming the guitar, our two boys now tagging along in the adventure.

We make our wines like we raise our children: as Vintage calls. No absolute rules, no recipes. With a purely hedonistic approach, we create ever-changing and unique wines that embrace the melting pot we live in – California, and the one we’ve left behind.

A le Salût,

Letizia Pauletto and Enrico Maria Bertoz