Slovenia should become wine-shopping destination, winemakers say
Slovenian wines are recognised as high-quality and the country should use this to help build its recognition, Dušan Brejc, the head of Vinska družba, an organisation connecting leading winemakers, has told the STA.
Brejc believes that despite numerous opinions to the contrary, Slovenia has enough wine to be of interest to wholesale buyers. "Big, acclaimed buyers know exactly what Slovenia can do and would not ask for things we cannot deliver," he stressed for the STA.
What is more, the country would need a single institution that would draft and implement a strategy for the winemaking industry as a whole, noted secretary of the Family Winemakers Association Bruno Gaberšek.
However, a force majeure would be required to get all winemakers, big and small, at the same table, acknowledged Gaberšek.
"Advertising Slovenia as a wine destination cannot be done individually. We need someone above the sector, but at the same time they should know it - its opportunities and which direction the sector should take."
Silvan Peršolja, the director of winemaker Vinska klet Goriška Brda, agrees that Slovenia, which produces about 0.4% of wine in Europe, should invest in becoming recognised as a wine-producing country.
"The country... is ranked among top producers. We must work towards becoming recognised under a single trademark, as Slovenia," Peršolja said, adding that it was time for Slovenian winemakers "to join forces to put Slovenia on the world wine map."
Apart from getting the winemakers at the same table, the industry is facing another issue - a drop has been registered in grape-growing over the past ten years and, at the same time, an increase in imported wines has been recorded.
"Slovenian wine is loosing market share to imported wines as well as to other comparable drinks. This is a worrying trend, as it shows that Slovenian wine lovers are getting less loyal," stressed Brejc.
However, this is not the last of winemakers' troubles, as for decades the wine market in Slovenia has been undermined by grey market produce.
A study has shown that this year as much as 27 million litres of wine, a third of Slovenian production, has come from the grey market. "It is a destructive mess. Wines that practically don't exist are featured on the Slovenian market," Brejc explained.
On the positive side, winemakers, especially those making red wines, can expect this year an excellent vintage due to the sunny autumn, oenologists believe.
While data forecast a 25% drop in production due to spring frost and rain, 2016 is an excellent year for red wines, such as Refosco, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, head oenologist of the vineyard owner Vinakoper Boštjan Zidar explained.