The estate of Praducello, a small agricultural place with a villa and game preserve of the Boiani family, was already known in 1500. Then it passed to the de Rubeis family, that built the existing Venetian villa in 1720 and expanded the farming activities.
Domenico Rubini, who was a silk merchant, bought the Spessa estate in 1814. In that period the farm devoted itself to the cultivation of mulberry trees, which were used for the silkworm breeding. The estate was one of the most important silk producers in Friuli and had hundred employees, but high-quality wines were already produced at that time.
After a few years, diseases came from the new world: oidium first, downy mildew and phylloxera then. Oidium has never had disastrous consequences in the territory of Friuli, whereas downy mildew and phylloxera threatened to wipe out viticulture in the whole region.
Silkworm breeding and viticulture were still the main activities of the Spessa estate also when it passed from Domenico to Pietro Rubini. A turning point in the wine production is to be attributed to Pietro's son, whose name was Domenico. He began his agricultural studies at the university of Portici in 1885, when farming was almost despised, and thus helped to urge many other landowners to follow his example. As a full Professor of Agronomy at the university of Udine, Domenico Rubini was the first who carried out some of the most relevant studies into downy mildew in Friuli and into pest control systems. His lecture notes, which are kept in the private family records, are by far the first ones that dealt with the course, the seriousness and nevertheless with all the agronomic activities to control and prevent downy mildew. He got from the government the post as a member of the Consultative Committee for the phylloxera, in which was decided that French vines should be introduced to fight this parasite.
And yet this could cause two major problems: the first was the extinction of local vines; the second was a drop in the wine quality due to an indiscriminate use of varieties and clones that were not suited to soil and climate.
Therefore Domenico Rubini decided to create his own vine nursery in the farm, where he could select those clones of Merlot and Cabernet Franc that best expressed the terroir, but his main object was the propagation of local vines. So in the old farm registers you can find Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Verduzzo Friulano, Picolit, Schioppettino (called Ribolla Nera or Pokelza at the time) and other minor vines, whose cultivation has unfortunately been abandoned over the years.
The newspapers of the time reported the many meetings and conferences that took place in the whole territory of Eastern Friuli; they were followed by a large number of people who wanted to find out about the latest innovations that had been tested by Domenico Rubini in his, as the press of the time called it, model farm. Moreover, studies into the territory of Cividale (published in 1909 in the book "I dintorni di Cividale - Studio geoagronomico"), which contained the classification of the various types of soil and the individuation of the problems related to every different agricultural area, allowed a first industrial approach to agriculture. This was a turning point in farming, that until then had been considered just a livelihood and not a growth possibility for a whole area.
In 1915 he first introduced tobacco growing in the province of Udine: the results were immediately satisfactory and this cultivation spread over a vast area of Friuli in a short time. Domenico worked for the creation of wine growers' cooperatives and cocoon driers' cooperatives, giving a substantial boost to silkworm breeding. He was very active in hill reclamations and in the great reclamation of the southern territories of Friuli. He played a leading role in the execution of an important public work, that is the waterworks of the Poiana, which still nowadays supplies twelve villages in the district of Cividale del Friuli with the precious element and which was providential for the Italian army during the two World Wars. The area was a theatre of war in both occasions and underwent a succession of military occupations: Villa Rubini, a little spot in Europe, was marked on the military maps of all armies that were involved in the conflicts.
The villa still bears the signs of World War II, when the Italian army settled in the estate: the indications of the quarters of officers, non-commissioned officers and ranks are still to be seen on the doors, just like the signatures of soldiers coming from all parts of Italy, who left their thoughts on the white walls of garrets and barns. The pictures of the time, with prince Umberto di Savoia on a visit to the estate, show the backwardness of a territory that had been flagellated by two wars, but also the vine of Tocai Friulano, which is still present outside the entrance of the wine cellar and is witness to this dark chapter in European history. The German army, the transient camps of the partisans and the settling of the allied forces followed one another in the villa.
As he got back from detention in Kenya, Ing. Pietro Rubini drew up a detailed list of all the damages caused by troops to the villa, which were compensated by the American government afterwards. He was the son of the agronomist Domenico and installed telephone lines to South Italy, developed mines in Kenya, created streets in Colombia, which are still used, and then he came back to his estate in Spessa. He brought it back to its past splendour and, just like his forefathers, he contributed to the development of wine-growing in the territory of Cividale. He was the founder and the first president of the Consortium for the protection of quality wines from Colli Orientali del Friuli and sensed that only the development and the identification of the territory could improve our wines, bringing them at the top of world enology. He was a charter member of the Ducato dei vini Friulani, an organisation that awards a prize to the people who excels in the promotion and improvement of Friulian wines.
He was an innovator in the wine production techniques and in the wine marketing, although this certainly had another name at the time. He was a pioneer too, in the sense that the techniques he used at the end of the 70's have been then adopted by other wine-producing firms between the 80's and the 90's, and are almost taken for granted now. Rubini was one of the first Friulian trademarks in the Northamerican and Japanese markets. It was one of the most active firms, when these new wines, which have a long tradition and are produced in a little region of northeast Italy, had to be presented to international markets. It is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Italy and this is a tradition that has been handed down for over 190 years.
With these bases and still with an undiminished passion we grow and produce our wines today.
The accommodation is housed in one part of the historic azienda which has been sympathetically restored, retaining the character of the buildings. It has five modern spacious double en-suite bedrooms, one of which has disabled access. One of the buildings can sleep a total of 10 people. The ground floor consists of 1 double en-suite bedroom with disabled access, an open plan dining and sitting area with open fire, and kitchen. The dining/sitting and kitchen area is shared between the guests. The other 4 spacious and beautifully furnished en-suite double bedrooms are on the first floor.
The second part of the accommodation has 1 double en-suite bedroom, and a sitting area, both of which are on the ground floor.
Utmost care has been taken to ensure and preserve the individuality of each room.