The exact date of when our family settled and began farming in Erzelj is unknown, although we estimate before the 18th century. The original village home was built and enscribed with the date '1836' above the house entrance. This enscribed limestone block is now the entrance to our wine cellar, while our family home has expanded throughout history and the growing generations of our family.
Dora Erzelj is a diversified, sustainable family farm. We currently raise livestock for meat, farm fruits and vegetables, and continue to produce wine and šnopc (grappa). The current owner Mitja Turk manages the estate and has shifted his focus and energy to winegrowing and quality wine production. Mitja and his family look forward to sharing local varieties and giving authentic representations of their land through wine and winegrowing respectively.
Dora was our grandmother, an inspiration to us and to many. We created our label around her and we hope to share with you a piece of her legacy through our family approach to farming and wine.
Dora was born 'Dora Ferjančič' in 1936 in Erzelj. She found her future husband Zdravko Turk and married in the village in 1955. Together they would make a family, run the farm, and build their life together. They had three children, Silvana, Jože, and Aleš. Unfortunately, soon after the youngest child was born her husband suddently died.
Devasted of the unexpected death, Dora quickly became overwhelmed with the duties of raising a family alone and single handedly running a farm. Despite her unfortunate luck, she expanded the farm drastically. She invested and built modern stalls for livestock, increased wine production with a new and improved wine cellar, and rebuilt the village home. During this time she also took in three additional foster children along with the three of her own. Dora was employed solely on the profit of her hardwork and determination. Her children would learn this from an early age and it would be something that would continue for generations to come.
In 1990 Dora handed the family farm to her oldest son Jože and wife Jolanda. They would continue to raise livestock, produce wine, and now care for their two small boys Zdravko and Mitja. Jože further invested in the family estate and bought more land and modern agricultural machinery. He also began to replant old vineyards and experiment in distilling with traditional "šnopc" recipes.
The Dora Erzelj Family Estate is now run by Mitja, Jože's son. Mitja oversees and manages all farming operations and puts a particular attention to winegrowing and winemaking. His brother Zdravko is responsbile for livestock.
We chose to include Erzelj on our label for many of the same reasons as choosing Dora. Erzelj is our village, the place and the hills our family has farmed for generations. It symbolizes our story and we look forward to sharing it with you.
Erzelj is a small hilltop village with a population of 75. We are the only village in Slovenia to begin with the letter 'E' and one of the few who falls between the borderless soils of the Vipava Valley and Karst winegrowing regions. Agriculture was always prevelant and most families continue to grow wine, raise animals, and keep village traditions alive and well.
The village is spread out and our soils are composed of a mixture of carbonate and sedimentary rocks (mudstone, marlstone, sandstone). Geologists call these rocks 'flysch' and it contributes in giving our wine structure, minerality, and a unique wine identity.
The highest point of the village is on Tabor Hill, 423 meters (1390 feet) above sea level. Here you will find our village Church, St. Michaels which was built more than 600 years ago. When the sky is clear you will be able to see past the vast Karst plateau, and on to the Gulf of Trieste.