Introduction to Slovenian viticulture
Slovenia is a country in Central Europe, lying in the crossland of four geographical units. Three of its geographical units have a rich winemaking tradition.
The winemaking dates back to 3rd century BC in the time of the Celts and Illyrian tribes and it flourished in Roman times. Later in the 8th century AD, the Franks encouraged the viticulture that continued in the 11th century when the Church has owned most of the vineyards. After the Second World War, the wine production was taken over the agricultural cooperatives all around Slovenia. In the early ’70s, the rise of the private winegrowers began and with it also the transition from massive production to boutique wine production. The rise of private, family-owned wine cellars and bottling wines under their labels changed the wine culture in Slovenia. In the ’90s many winemakers started its artistic approach in winemaking. With their enthusiasm and stamina, Slovenia was slowly gaining its wine reputation across the wine world as a top-quality boutique wine producer.
Today Slovenia annually produces around 0,7 million hl of wine. 70 % of the wine produced is white wine. When traveling across Slovenia, which extends on 20,273 km2 you can find quite a diversity of wine types and styles.
From the East to the West
East Slovenia – Pannonian valley
On the East there is Pannonian valley with This, the biggest wine region in Slovenia (Slovenian Styria and Prekmurje wine sub-regions) is recognized for its high-quality white wines, some red wines and predicate wines: late harvest, selections, strawberry selections, ice wines and wines of dry grapes selection. The wines from the Pannonian valley are distinguished by its variety of flowers, pleasant aromas, and refreshing acids.
In the wine cellars of the Podravska wine region, you will find Rhine Riesling, Italian Riesling, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Blue Franconian, Chipon, Yellow Muscat, Muscat Otonel, Kerner, Traminer, Ranfol, Green Silvanec, Portuguese, Zweigelt, Gamay.
Winemakers: Sanctum, Gaube
South Slovenia – Podravje wine region
Going south of Ljubljana (the capital and the center of Slovenia) is the Posavje wine region. It was the Romans who brought the wine to this region, while the first documents about the wine-growing tradition date back to the 16th century. Here the French monks brought chocolate, you can enjoy premium Slovenian wines matured in the wine cellars dug in the millions year old sand bedrocks. In this continental area with more than … sunny days per year you are the most important grape varieties Blaufrankish, Welschiresling, Muscat. The area gives also very nice Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Traminer and others.
Notable boutique wine producers are Istenic, producing sparkling wines and wine cellar Vino Graben, Kozinc, Kunej.
West Slovenia – Primorska Slovenia
West Slovenia has four wine sub regions, all of them with its own caracteristics and excellent wine producers.
When traveling West of Ljubljana, towards the Italian border you can enjoy the wines of Primorska wine region. Primorska has four sub-regions, each of them recognized by its wine and style.
Wines from the Vipava valley sub-region hides freshness and nice acidity as a consequence of strong Bora wind and heavy rainfall. From our online shop, you can enjoy great wines of Stokelj wine cellar in Vipava valley.
Second on the way is Karst wine sub-region with its Teran red wine that was already in the Austro-Hungarian empire and before in Roman empire well apreciated for its medicinal features due to its numerous mineral substances, mostly bivalent iron and lactic acids. It is believed that the moderate and regular consumption of Teran wine maintains the flexibility of blood vessels and inhibits the progression of atherosclerosis as well as the aging process itself with its very high level of antioxidants.
The Karst limestone gives besides good Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay also old local white variety, Vitovska. Vitovska is an ancient varietal giving an appealing wine with pronounced mineral notes. It is an elegant and attractive wine with a slight taste of almonds and vanilla that fills us with curiosity.
The prominent winemakers from Karst is Renčel, a wine artist.
Going further north is Goriska Brda wine sub-region, the most famous wine sub-region in Slovenia with many prominent winemakers. Brda is a charming hilly piece of land that was divided between Italy and Slovenia after the WW2.
It was winemakers from Brda who first put Slovenia on the world wine map. The Mediterranean climate, great winemakers and „low-intervention“ winemaking give excellent results with local wine variety Ribolla Fialla, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignonasse, Pinot Gris and others.
Last but not least is Slovenian Istria, the southernmost wine sub-region and the only region with access to the Mediterranean sea. The most important wine varieties are red Refosco and white Malvazija Istarska. This typical sub-Mediterranean climate is perfect for Merlot and Syrah as well as other international wine varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon….
Most planted wine varieties in Slovenia are Welschriesling, Refosco, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Žametovka. Several indigenous wine varietals are gaining importance in the last few years. They are Teran, Rebula, Pinela, Zelen, Vitovska, Šipon, Malvazija, Klarnica and others. It is said that there is 1 vineyard per 70 inhabitants in Slovenia. While the statistics show Slovenia to be a country with one of the highest wine consumptions in the world, Slovenia is not about the numbers. Slovenian wine is about quality!
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