In the past, rich land owners used to think that pomace, the solid residue of wine production, was a waste product to get rid of.
Fortunately, the wise farmers taught the aristocratic land owners not to throw anything away and to consider every product of the soil as a gift. This philosophy is at the heart of the creation of the first basic “labs” of the region to work this apparently poor and useless by-product, which accidentally led to the production of a new delicacy for the palate and the soul: grappa.
These are the origins of the first rudimentary still built in 1879 in Castions by the young grappa-pioneer Domenico Campagna (1861-1919) without any technical skills.
It was a typical example of moonshine experiments that had to be hidden from land owners and public servants responsible for taxes.
After the first few uncertain years, his small distillery started bearing fruit, so Campagna opened a small shop that local farmers used to call “Sgnaperie” (“Grappa place” in Friulian dialect).
Every morning at 5am, farmers started working with their cattle before bringing milk to a social cooperative (one of the first cooperatives in the region collecting milk for Montasio cheese production was founded in Castions in 1987).
A short visit to Campagna’s shop to drink a “decimin” (a glass that contained 1/10 litre of grappa) was just what the farmers needed before going to the fields, where they worked until sunset.
This habit made Campagna’s fortune. In 1904 he could afford to build a new and large house with a distillery’s lab inside. It is the same estate where we still produce our grappa.
Domenico Campagna and his wife Luigia Cinat (1865-1932) did not have any children and, by a strange twist of fate, decided to hire a young and promising apprentice called Lindo Pagura, who inherited all of their property.