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Turist Information Centre Ajdovščina
Cesta IV. Prekomorske 61 A
5270 Ajdovščina

tel.: +386 5 36 59 140

mon - fri: 8.00 - 16.00
sat: 8.00 - 12.00

mon - fri: 10.00 - 18.00
sat: 8.00 - 12.00


Story about the Zemono manor, the Vipava cognac and about other things ...
Published in the Latnik newspaper, in autumn 2003

30th birthday of the Pilon cognac, celebrated with the occasional exhibition of Pilon's drawings
»In Memory of the 70s with a Strong Aroma of the Pilon Cognac «
At the beginning of the month the wine-producing companay Agroind Vipava and the Pilon Gallery joined together in an interesting project, entitled above. Although the project was actually meant for a smaller audience, it is definitely worth repeating it for a wider one. One of the Vipava cellars was decorated with the collection of the Pilon's café drawings for the occasion of the members meeting of the Vipava Wine Lovers Association, with Dušan Črnigoj as a chairman.
The story has several beginnings. This very year is the 30th anniversary since the Vipava wine cellar made an excellent cognac for the first and for now for the last time.
Jožko Ambrožič, the general manager of the Agroind Vipava Company, does not remember exactly how much of it did they made altogether, but today there are about 5000 liters left. The cognac has never been offered to a bigger market although it became very famous in last 30 years and renowned for its exellence. At first it was called Zemono but 10 years ago it was renamed into the Pilon Cognac.

This name suits the cognac as Veno Pilon used to be a café man and usually spent his time over a glass of red table wine.
For this reason artists and cultural workers from Ajdovščina and Vipava who were invited to the Vipava wine cellar at the end of the exhibition, enjoyed their time next to »Pilon works with a glass of Pilon in hand«. At this social gathering Irene Mislej, the manager of the Pilon Gallery, spoke about the great artist and his cafés in Paris. The artist spent a large part of his life in cafés, from where he drew inspiration for his works of art. Almost all the drawings have a motif of a glass, which together with the company around the table tells a lot about the life and people back then.
The exhibition was moved back to the Pilon permanent collection in the Pilon Gallery in Ajdovščina and what was left of the cognac after 30 years continues to age in oak barrels of the Vipava cellar.

The story about the Vipava cognac ...
The social gathering of artists and cultural workers brought out various interesting stories, including the story about the Zemono cognac, which became well known thanks to the then general manager of the Lipa Company from Ajdovščina. Despite that, we decided to ask Frace Boštjančič, the present owner of the Excel Company, what had really happened.

He explained that the Lipa Company was in the beginning of the '70s a big exporting company. Therefore, he travelled a lot across Europe, especially to Spain, where he was fascinated by their cognac. He says that the taste of the Vipava cognac was great and that the it depends a lot on the supplements, which is of course the secret of its producers. He also says he has chosen a specific 1000 liter barrel for the promotion of the Lipa Company . In cooperation with the Italian architect the Lipa Company designed a wooden model of a bottle, found the producers and blowers of glass in the town of Kozina and finished off the image of the cognac because business gifts of such a company should be. The project was also supposed to prove the Vipava Valley that the first impression or better the outward appearance is of great importance for the promotion of a company. During those years the Lipa Company bought and renovated the Zemono Manor and its surroundings. Soon after the renovation, in 1976, the saloon was opened and the social life revived again. Cognac was served in the fashionable way, in round warm goblets, which was not very common in the restaurants in those days.

Cognac was each time bottled and kept in the warehouses of the Vipava Agroind Company. Some less than 500 of bottles disappeared unknown where and Mr. Boštjančič avoided giving a concrete answer where they had gone. He denied that he was served with a cognac by his business colleagues, whom he had not given it as a present.  However, he said that he is still being reproached because of the Zemono Manor and that the then old-fashioned mentality impeded the Lipa Company , which wanted to introduce positive changes into this area. He had lots of ideas, which could have been achieved at least as much as the mansion that is thanks to him today well known across the world for being the most beautiful site of the Vipava Valley.
Franc Boštjančič worked for the Lipa Company until 1992, when he decided to set up his own company, which designs and produces kitchens and living rooms for home market. Besides that the company exports most of the higher quality products, especially chairs, the Excel Company has apart from the shop in the village of Dobravlje also two shops in the city of Ljubljana.

More about the Vipava Cognac also Silvo Lemut, the Former General Manager of the Vipava Agroind Company:

Vinjak was made from the surplus of the 1972 wine crop and therefore about 40 wagons of grapes have been distilled. First, they intended to sell it together with Tropinovec, which is a strong spirit made from grapes. However, because the Tropinovec came out a high-quality distillate they decided to leave it rest in barrels and later on offered it for sale in their own bottles, in the same ones as Tropinovec was bottled, though it was mainly used for representative purposes. Initially there were about 35 thousand litres of it and the copyrights go to the engineer and a wine connoisseur Plahuta.

The Lipa Company invested in designing of the packaging for the Zemono Cognac, which was intended exclusively for the promotion of the Zemono Manor. The bottles were kept at theVipava Agroind Company and the cognac bought the Lipa Company each time they needed it. Silvo Lemut says he was not fully satisfied with the bottles as they were opened outwards on the top which caused problems in corking them. Even though the Vipava Agroind Company used them for its own representation they decided to offer cognac also to the public, because of a growing demand in the market. However, this upset the Lipa Company that took all the packaging out of the Vipava Agroind Company. More precisely, the secretary Sonja took them away on the Lipa Company’s orders.
In Silvo Lemut’s opinion, the cooperation of both companies was successful. Moreover, the cognac became so well known thanks to the then general manager of the Lipa Company. Moreover, without Mr. Boštjančič the Lipa Company nor the Zemono Manor would have never blossom as much as they did then.

Ms Sanda Hain