24 September 2016

Slovenia's biggest wine day

Every Slovenian region has its own wine rhythm. Some wine-makers complete their harvests in August, while other harvests are still in full swing. However, Slovenians agree on the celebration of the largest wine holiday; St Martin's Day. Must turns to wine on 11 November, which is when numerous celebrations take place around Slovenia to honour this holiday and the hard labour of the wine-makers. You are warmly invited to visit St Martin's Day celebrations around Slovenia: in Maribor, Ormož, the Brda Hills, or in smaller wine cellars.

The grapevine has a special significance in Slovenia. Throughout the year, it is cared for and admired, and its special day comes on 11 November — St Martin’s Day. According to folk tradition, this is the day when St Martin steals the must and brings back wine.

Slovenia has no less than 14 wine-growing regions and three wine-growing areas. Podravje, Posavje and Primorska. Each of the regions has a distinct variety of wine. The soil, the climate, and wine-making traditions all affect the flavour of the wine. It happens that the same variety of grapevine results in completely different wine flavours.

The largest wine-growing region in Slovenia, the Podravje Region, is located in north-eastern Slovenia. Wine-growing hills roll from the Goričko Hills in Prekmurje in the north-east to Kozjansko and Celje in the south. The region is mainly known for white wine varieties with distinct fruity and floral aromas. A special place in the Slovenian wine-making tradition is held by the Žametna Črnina (Black Velvet), which is made from the fruit of the oldest grapevine in the world. This vine is more than 400 years old and it grows in Lent in Maribor, the second largest Slovenian city. Pay tribute to it at the Old Vine Festival. This wine, culinary, and cultural festival is about the very rich wine-growing tradition and the success stories of wine-makers in the Štajerska Region. The Old Vine Festival comes to an end with the largest outdoor St. Martin’s Day celebration (Martinovanje) in Slovenia. You are warmly invited!

The Primorska wine-growing region is especially romantic. Here, the sun is even stronger and the wind carries the essence of the sea to the vines. For the people of the Brda Hills and everyone who visits these hills, grape harvesting is the most important holiday, followed by St. Martin's Day celebrations (Martinovanje), which brings together wine tasters, connoisseurs, and the lovers of autumn delicacies, wine in particular. Sheltered by the medieval walls of the fortified village of Šmartno v Brdnih, wine tastings of the quality wines of more than 30 wine-makers from the Brda Hills and the wine-makers from the Collia of Gorica take place in the wine cellars of abandoned houses. A cultural and entertainment programme is presented within the village walls and you can visit stands selling produce and local food from the Brda Hills.

Dolenjska is known for its rolling hills. Dolenjska is located in south-eastern Slovenia. This region is well-known for endless rolling hills and zidanice, typical wooden or stone cottages located on the edge of vineyards. Today, you can spend your holiday there. You will certainly find Cviček wine in the cellars of these cottages. Along with the Chianti from Tuscany, this is the only wine in the world composed of both red and white grape varieties. Just as unique as Cviček wine is the St. Martin's Day celebration (Martinovanje) in Dolenjska. Visit Novo Mesto and learn about its 650-year history. Ride Rudolf’s raft down the River Krka and enjoy some Cviček wine. Have some fun with the locals and raise a toast with the best Cviček wine of the season!