Wine regions in Slovenia
With over 21,000 hectares of vineyards and 30,000 winemakers, Slovenia is currently one of the most exciting areas of European viticulture. A small country where viticulture has been firmly anchored in tradition and daily life for centuries. It is a paradise for white wine lovers, as approx. 70% of the wines produced are white wines and only 30% are red wines.
Slovenia can be roughly divided into three main regions, in which mainly viticulture is practiced. In the north, bordering the Austrian Styria, the westernmost part of Hungary and the north of Croatia, the Drau region, the Podravje, extends. Part of the Podravje are the Slovenian Styria (Stajerska Slovenija) and the northernmost tip of Slovenia, the Prekmurje. Almost 40% of the total vineyard area in Slovenia falls on the Slovenian Styria alone.
Our winery Vino Kupljen and the winery monastery Dveri-Pax, which is currently one of the most modern wineries in Slovenia, are located in the Slovenian Styria. This beautiful landscape is also home to our pumpkin seed oil producer Gorazd Kocbek.
The most popular white varieties in this region are Welschriesling (Laski Rizling), Furmint (Sipon), classic Riesling (Renski Rizling), Chardonnay, Pinot Gris (Sivi Pinot), but also the aromatic Muscat (Rumeni Muskat) and Traminer (Traminec ). When it comes to red wines, which only make up about 7% of the wine produced here, we mainly find Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch.
The smaller part of the Podravje, the Prekmurje (from the Mur river) is more strongly influenced by Hungarian influences than the rest of Slovenia.
The second major wine region in Slovenia is the Posavje, which is made up of the Bizelsko-Sremic region, the Bela Krajina and the Doljenska (Lower Carniola).
The largest of the three parts is the Doljenska with around 1,500 hectares of vineyards. The most popular grape varieties here include the red grape Zametovka, Blaufränkisch, but also Welschriesling and Kraljevina. A regional specialty that should not be missed and of which the Doljenska residents are particularly proud is cvicek. A cuvée made from red and white grapes from the region. A light wine with a maximum of 10% alcohol, light red, crisp acidity and wonderfully dry. As a rule, up to a maximum of half Zametovka, just under a fifth Blaufränkisch, about as much Kraljevina as Welschriesling and up to 15% other grape varieties from the region flow into it. The Cvicek has the designation PTP of the EU and is one of the few other recognized wine variations made from red and white wine. The cvicek is also very popular in Germany and our cvicek from Kartause Pleterje from Doljenska is one of the top sellers in our online shop year after year.
The third and most famous Slovenian wine region alongside Styria is Primorska.
The Primorska, the Slovenian coastal area, borders Italy in the north and Croatia in the south. It is a diverse wine-growing region and can be roughly divided into four main regions. The Viapava Valley, Goriska Brda, the Karst region and Slovenian Istria.
The region of Goriska Brda, which borders directly on the Italian Collio and is geographically a continuation of the Vipava Valley, has been the hotspot of Slovenian viticulture for years. The Brda is particularly known for its blooming orange and natural wine scene. Our winery Movia von Ales Kristancic is one of the top wineries in the region and one of the most famous Slovenian wineries worldwide.
The regional heroine among the grape varieties in Brda is the Ribolla Gialla grape (Rebula). A lot of Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignonasse (also known as Green Sauvignon) and Pinot Gris are also grown.
Adjacent to the Karst area and the Brda, the Vipava valley meanders along the name-giving river Vipava. With over 2,000 hectares of cultivated land, the Vipava Valley is even larger than the Brda. The climate is continental, but with Mediterranean influences. Hot summers and sometimes strong winds that pull through the valley. The most important grape varieties here are the Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia (Malvazija) and also the Ribolla Gialla. However, very good red wines are also grown here, such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Vipava Valley is home to three of our winemakers. The organic wineries with a focus on excellent orange and natural wines Batic and Burja as well as the small family winery Cultus by Matej Zvanut. Miha Batic and Primoz Lavrencic (Burja) are among the award-winning wineries for orange wine and natural wine in Slovenia and have a central role in shaping the scene.
Anyone looking for exceptional wines will sooner or later find them in the Slovenian Karst region. The rough, rugged and fascinating landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and the Vipava Valley produces its own exciting wines. A special white wine variety from the region is the Vitovska grape, which is also vinified into an excellent orange wine by our organic wine Cotar. Anyone visiting the Karst region or reading about it will not get around THE region's red wine specialty, the Teran. Like the Cvicek, it also has the designation PTP and is made from the Refosco grape (Refosk). Dark red, with a moderate alcohol content of 10-13%, a refreshing acidity and a relatively low tannin content. Also an extraordinary aperitif as sparkling wine.
Whoever approaches the Karst area south of the Mediterranean Sea and Croatia will find Slovenian Istria with its unique coastal towns such as Koper, Izola, Piran and Portoroz. It is the land of refosco and the Vinakoper winery in particular specializes in this regional variety. Among the white varieties, the most popular variety here is Malvasia (Malvazija Istarska). In addition to excellent wines, this region is also home to most of Slovenia's olive oil producers, including the multiple olive oil world champion Vanja Dujc. In the coastal town of Piran are the Secovlje salt pans (Piran salt pans, which are the last salt pans in Europe to gently scoop all sea salts and fleur de sel by hand.
I recommend the book by Robert Gorjak Slovenia - A Winemaking Country to anyone who would like to delve deeper into the Slovenian wine regions and Slovenia as a country of viticulture.