Paolo Rodaro is a man of great character.
Proud of his farming heritage, today Paolo is the 6th generation owner and winemaker at the RODARO family estate. Rather than being a mere follower of trends, he is a man who charts his own path. His typically strong Friulian nature, his enduring curiosity and his uncompromising self-criticism, don’t always make for an easy life. Yet his is an endless quest to create identifiable character in his wines. For Paolo, on this less-travelled road, instinct, intuition and self-belief are his trusted companions.
The RODARO Flower label embodies Paolo’s love of simplicity and tradition, while his evolutionary ROMAIN red wines are a flight into a more complex and evolving world. Then there’s his Evoluto whites created ‘sur lie’ and his Classic Method bottled fermented & aged sparkling wines. All are uniquely representative of his inquisitive spirit, a spirit that seeks to find serenity in such unique vinous expressions. The same spirit that equally treasures the company of close friends and shared laughter.
Together with his effervescent partner, the dynamic Lara Boldarino, Paolo continues to invest in the winery’s experimental vineyard and cellar work. With many years of service, by now the winery team have become part of the family. Head cellarman, Ljubo Stibilj, is 26 years with the company, while Francesco Conchione has been handling office administration for the last 16 years. And today, Francesco’s daughter, Claudia has become actively involved in RODARO’s sales and promotions programme.
The Rodaro story is a compelling one. Their origins date back to the 1500’s, when Beniamino El Ruedar, (El Ruedar meaning ‘Wheelmaker’), was the first to pass down the surname that, with the succession of years, would evolve to become “Rodaro”.
Bertolo Rodaro was head of the family that later established itself in the townlands of Cividale del Friuli. At the end of 1700’s, the Rodaro family acquired a more privileged position when it exited the ‘Mezzadria’ sharecropping system . Sharecropping took the form of a contract between a noble landowner, who held title to the land, and the landless and homeless peasant farmers called “sharecroppers”. The sharecropper worked the land and was obliged to give the landowner at least half of the harvest, in exchange for food and lodging. Having seperated themselves from this system, the Rodaro family came to represent a proud example of the first model of ‘a small family business’ in Cividale del Friuli.
Successive generations of the family soon began developing commercial activities related to craft work, the cultivation of mixed crops and vines, in addition to cultural research. The oldest existing official document belonging to the family is dated 23 March 1846.
Bearing the official stamp of the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, the document attests that the Rodaro family were already dedicated to cultivation of the land. The notarial act verifies a donation among members of the family, with stepmother Paola, widow of Antonio Rodaro, gifting a piece of land to her stepson Giacomo Rodaro (born 1801).
At the end of the nineteenth century, Luigi Rodaro (born 1839), great-grandfather of the current winery owner, had become a recognised farmer and administrator of a local agricultural company. At that time the family owned a few hectares of land, where they also cultivated silkworms and managed a quantity of livestock in stables. Luigi lived with his family in the house, which today is home to the Rodaro winery.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, Paolo Rodaro (born 1889), the grandfather of the current owner, together with his wife Caterina Zurco, set up and managed an Inn from the home in Spessa. It was a popular meeting place for local people, who could come to eat simple fare, omelettes and cheese with a little bread, milk and of course to order some of the family wine. During the summer, on the lawn next to the Inn, visitors played bowls and on tables in the yard, groups would play cards, everyone trying to forget the horrors of war that had taken so many young people from the land, never to return.
The next generation to make their mark were brothers Luigi and Edo Rodaro. In the beginning as small entrepreneurs, they traded timber in Venice, but they were also dedicated to livestock management and vineyard cultivation. Luigi Rodaro and his wife Norma Basso had three children, Caterina, Paolo (current owner) and Mirella. His brother Edo and his wife Dina Caporale, didn’t have children. Both families continued to live in the same house and work together in the family business. On Norma’s sad passing, Dina and her husband Edo played a key role in helping Luigi care for his three young children. From that moment on, they had a “new mother” Dina and “two fathers”, Luigi and Edo.
As enterprising people, the RODARO family became known for their tenacity and strong work ethic. Demonstrating both ability and foresight, they became an important reference point for the farmers of the area. The years passed with a youthful Paolo going on to study oenology while still working in the family business … his destiny to become the future of the company. Fast forward to today and the RODARO estate comprises 135 hectares of land, of which 57 hectares are dedicated to vineyards.