Notebooks from a trampfest. Travel tips, tales and images, online since 2006.

Want to explore Slovenian wines?

If so, you’ve picked a very good place to start.

Several winemakers from Slovenia have been making significant inroads internationally in recent years, yet wines from this small central European nation, tucked neatly between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, remain largely unknown to all but the most astute wine observers or curious sipping travelers. A primary mission of Piran Café is to help shed light on some of what’s veiled in that viticultural mystery, one whose tradition pre-dates the Romans, going back more than 2,500 years.

Slovenian wine regions

But before we begin lifting that veil, just a little bit about me and this site:

I’ve been tasting wines from Slovenia for more than 25 years, first as a US-based importer and distributor, but also as a journalist, blogger and unapologetic wine geek. Now, having been based in Slovenia for nearly 15 years and with no financial interests in or commercial ties to the trade, I’m setting out to re-explore the country’s wines, wineries and winemakers and share those discoveries here. You can expect to see reports from winery visits, interviews and features with wine makers and others involved in the industry here, as well as objective tasting notes, reviews and recommendations for paths to explore.

That missions’s working theme? Wine stories from the heart of Europe. And with that theme in mind…

While Piran Café’s wine interests will focus largely on Slovenia’s contribution to the world of wine, I also plan to explore, whenever time allows, the greater region as well: northern Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and elsewhere in the Balkans. Vines after all, don’t really respect political borders.

That said, let’s begin pulling back that veil.

Near Svečina. (c) Slovenia.info

Between 80 and 90 million liters (22-24 million gallons) of wine is produced in Slovenia each year by nearly 30,000 registered grape growers. In this country of 2.2 million, that’s one winemaker for every 79 people. Slovenians drink much of it, too, just under 40 liters per person per year to rank among the top five wine-guzzling nations in the European Union. Only a fraction of those producers bottle what they make, with nearly a third meant for personal consumption.

At the moment, just over 19,000 hectares of vineyards cover Slovenia, 65 percent producing white grapes, 35 percent red. (One of those vines, by the way, is the oldest continually producing grapevines on the planet.) That’s 3.3 percent of the total national territory, among the highest percentiles in Europe. By law, Slovenian winemakers can choose from 52 varietals to make wine, 37 white and 15 red. Not all are allowed to be grown in all regions and districts.

For wine-producing purposes, Slovenia is divided into three regions: Podravje to the northeast, bordering Austria and Hungary; Posavje to the southeast, sharing a border with Croatia; and Primorska to the west, where it borders Italy, the Adriatic Sea and shares a small portion of the Istrian peninsula with Croatia.

The regions are further divided into nine districts which in general terms is how wines are most often described. Podravje, the largest region, has two districts: Štajerska Slovenija (Styrian Slovenia) and Prekmurje. Posavje has three: Bizeljsko-Sremič, Bela Krajina and Dolenjska. And Primorska has four: Goriška BrdaVipavaKras and Slovenska Istra (Slovenian Istria). More.

Hello & Welcome!

I’m Bob Ramsak, a Ljubljana, Slovenia-based reporter, photographer and blogger driven by a lust for travel, wine, culture and justice. I have a goal to visit all 195 countries recognized by the UN and then open a small cafe and wine bar in a quiet seaside setting.

Piran Café is that destination.

In the meantime, Piran Café, occupying this space on the web since 2006, is my notebook, an ever-evolving collection of experiences, moments, images, reactions and vignettes, both long-form and short, connected and propelled by those primary passions and published here to inform, inspire, entertain and engage.

Thank you for visiting. Hope to see you tomorrow, too.


December

  • 1 – Food & Wine event with chef Aleš Grašič featuring wines from Klet Brda (Goriška Brda) and Vinakoper, Grand Hotel Bernardin – Portorož, Slovenia [Facebook]
  • 1-2 – WineOS – Osijek Wine Fest – Osijek, Croatia [Website] [Facebook]
  • 2 – Karakterre – Salon of Central & Eastern European organic, biodynamic and natural wines – Vienna [Website]
  • 2 – Map of Flavours 2017, Thessaloniki, Greece [Website] [Facebook]
  • 7 – Night of Sparkling Wines, Zlati Gric Winery – Slovenske Konjice, Slovenia [Facebook]
  • 7 – Wine with Vision, Mödling, Austria [Website]
  • 8 – Wine & (acoustic) Song, Doppler Winery – Kozjak nad Pesnico, Slovenia [Facebook]
  • 8 – 14th Belgrade Wine Salon [Website] [Facebook]
  • 9 – 1st Sparkling Wine Festival and Tasting, 20 producers, hosted by Vila Istenič – Bizeljsko, Slovenia [Facebook]
  • 20 – Vinski Univerzum – Wine Adventure, Grand Hotel Union – Ljubljana, Slovenia [Facebook]
  • 20 – Živijo! – Secondo Memorial Stanko Radikon – Gorizia, Italy [Facebook]
  • 26 – Sixth Sparkling Wine Festival – Portorož, Slovenia. [Website]

More from the Piran Café Wine Events Calendar.

Organizing or attending an event in Central Europe or the Balkans? Send along the details and I’ll be happy to include it in the listing.

Slovenia Wine Notes

Tasting Notes

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