Happy belated New Year, everyone! Welcome to the first bi-weekly review of news and notes on the wine scene in Slovenia, aimed at those traveling through –or planning to travel through– the region as well as for those who are simply interested in the viticultural happenings in this part of central Europe. It’s my hope this notebook and summary, which I plan to post every other Wednesday/Thursday, will be useful, informative and entertaining, too.
How much wine do Slovenians produce and drink? The latest numbers
Slovenians produced 660,000 hectoliters of wine in the 2016/2017 marketing year and per capita, drank 39 liters apiece. That’s according to figures released last month by the national Statistical Office. Domestic consumption was just over 810,000 hectoliters, 64% of which, about 515,000 hectoliters, was white wine.
Vinakras opens wine bank opens in Sežana
Local collectors in Slovenia’s Karst/Kras area now have space available to store their special bottles.
The Slovenian Press Agency (STA) reported that Vinakras, one of Slovenia’s largest co-ops, has re-purposed a portion of its cellar as Slovenia’s first “Wine Bank”, offering 33 “safes” to individuals, companies and others looking for a place to lay down their memorable or valuable bottles.
Besides the project’s practicality, Vinakras is also hoping that “safe” renters will invite friends and colleagues to the bank, thus increasing the number of visitors to the winery itself. At the moment, space is available for about 1400 bottles.
There’s little rest for the weary, at least as far as wine events in these parts are concerned. For the record, that’s not a complaint. Some upcoming local and regional events to take note of:
February 2 – Fourth Festival Vin Park Wine Stars, Nova Gorica
The Casino & Hotel Park in the northwestern city of Nova Gorica will host the fourth Festival Vin Park Wine Stars on Friday, February 2, a gathering of 27 winemakers from the Primorje region’s three districts: the Vipava Valley, Slovenska Istra and Goriska Brda. The list is a mini Who’s Who of western Slovenian producers; food and musical entertainment is on the card as well. €25 advance, €30 day of. Tickets are limited. [Facebook]
February 10 – Refuscus Mundi, Izola
Then, on Saturday, February 10, the Adriatic seaside town of Izola will host Refuscus Mundi aka The World of Refosco, or in Slovenian, Svet Refoška, at the 15th century Manzioli Palace, a day-long celebration of the Slovenian Istria district’s most prolific red varietal.
Upwards of 45 winemakers from western Slovenia, eastern Italy and northwestern Croatia –all areas that the varietal calls home– will be pouring some 100 wines, providing an excellent opportunity for visitors to taste and experience the typically powerful and tannic Refošk in a wide variety of styles. That’s what I’m looking forward to most, tasting, side-by-side, these terroir differences in my immediate neighborhood.
Workshops, guided tastings and a poetry reading are on the agenda as well. [Facebook]
February 16 – Sparkling Salon, Zagreb & Ljubljana
And then, on Friday, February 16, the Grand Hotel Union will host the fifth Salon of Sparkling Wines. A complete list of exhibitors isn’t available yet, but recent editions have attracted some 40 winemakers pouring nearly 100 wines. €15 advance, €20 day of. Bargain of the weekend. [Website] [Facebook]
A similar event will also be taking place at the Hotel Dubrovnik in the Croatian capital Zagreb on Friday, February 2. [Facebook]
To keep up to speed, make a habit of checking the Piran Café Wine Event Calendar, which is updated daily and includes events large and small in Slovenia, northern Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. And if you’re hosting an event, send along the details. I’ll be happy to include them.
And while you’re here, take a minute or two to check out the progress on Piran Café’s Wine Hub. If there’s anything you’d like to see there, or in upcoming editions of these bi-weekly notes, let me know. And if we’re not already connected there, stop by and say hi on Piran Café’s Facebook page and new-ish Instagram account. And yes, sure, please spread the word.