Stanislao "Stanko" Radikon, an esteemed leader of both the natural and orange wine movements, died after an extended illness in the early hours of Sept. 11. He was 62.
Radikon bottled his first vintage in 1979 with grapes from family vineyards located in northeastern Italy's Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region. In 1995, Radikon began using extended periods of skin contact as part of his white winemaking process, a technique his grandfather employed. Today these wines undergo about three months of skin contact.
The resulting wines were distinctive, taking color and structure from the grape skins. Radikon's deeply-hued versions, along with those of neighbors Josko Gravner and Edi Kante, among others, helped spawn the much-hyped "orange wine" category. As an added benefit, Radikon realized the technique also imparted a preservative effect, allowing him to bottle his wines without added sulfur. This choice, along with his adherence to organic practices and philosophies in the vineyards and cellar, marked him as a forerunner in the natural wine movement.
Radikon is survived by his wife, Suzana, and his son, Saša; Saša worked alongside his father for a number of years and will continue as winemaker at the estate.