Friulian grape grower, winemaker, and founder of the Ronchi di Cialla winery, Paolo Rapuzzi (above, center) has died.
He passed away in his sleep on August 13, said his son Ivan.
Rapuzzi was a much beloved figure in Friuli, where his legacy as a pioneer in reviving indigenous grape varieties continues to shape local viticulture.
He was among the first in a wave of growers who embraced native grapes in the late 1970s.
And his superb wines — especially his coveted Picolit — are treasured by Italian wine insiders.
Please see this profile of Rapuzzi that I wrote for the Colli Orientali del Friuli consortium a few years back.
Google him and you will find that many of my peers and colleagues were inspired by him as well. He was a sweet and gentle man and he shared a little bit of his magic with everyone he touched.
His contribution to Friulian — and Italian — viticulture played a fundamental role in the current Italian wine renaissance.
I am so sorry to hear this. I was fortunate to meet mr Rapuzzi and his family twice, last time two years ago. Visits that made a lasting impression and not just for the great wines.
Although I had never had the pleasure to meet Mr. Rapuzzi, I felt like I knew him through his wines. His Cialla Bianco is one of my all-time favorites, and was the wine that got me hooked on all things Friulian. I’ve been holding on to the Picolit…perhaps now is the time to open it in his honor.
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