When you enter the village of Radovani you’ll be «welcomed» by tall stone walls that surround family houses. Impressive metal gates in colored in dark red and white guard the entrance to the yards while numbers placed at the very top proudly mark these gates were made around 1880. At first sight, this small village near Višnjan does not spread the atmosphere of hospitality.
This feeling will completely disappear as soon as you get to know Franko Radovan, a quiet and modest winemaker whose sale philosophy is based exactly on establishing friendly relationship with his customers and whose doors are always open. We ask him, why were these huge walls and gates built for?
“At the end of 19th century in Istria there were many skilled and perfectly organized cattle thieves. The same night they managed to transport the animals to Lim Bay where they were boarded to ship for Venice. Those poor peasants who didn’t have money to put the cattle under lock lost everything in one day. ”
Franko doesn’t like media exposure. The bulk of his wine, sourced from his 4.5 hectares of vineyards located on vivid red Istrian soil, is sold either here in the winery or, through distributors, in fine Croatian restaurants. Practically every day Franko’s door are open for the winery visit. But prior booking is essential, especially if you wish to taste some traditional Istrian cured meats in his cosy konoba equipped with a nice fireplace. “It is a lot of work to welcome all these people”, he says, “but at the end it pays off. I don’t need to spend on conventional marketing. The people come back every year and bring their friends.”