The Slovenia Times

Cross-border wine project launches in Celje


Celje - An exhibition and catalogue on cross-boarder cooperation between Slovenian and Croatian winegrowers will open Tuesday evening at the Celje Historical Archives. Part of the Wine at the Border project, in which three Slovenian and three Croatian archives have joined forces, it aims to present unique regional cooperation.

The project partners, archives from Croatia's Varaždin, Zagreb and Štrigova and from Slovenia's Maribor, Ptuj and Celje, have formed a work group named SIHeR and hope to continue the good work they have already done in the 2012 project Towns And Squares Along the Croatia-Styria Border, and the 2015 project Take a Train Across the Border

Their innovative approach shines through in the project's concept where archives show a unified approach to the cross-border area. Their mission is for the projects to show there really is no border, although this is in stark contrast to the current situation where borders are once again becoming very tangible.

"The space and the people on both sides of the border have always acted as a unity in the past, and were very intertwined and friendly towards each other. Crossing the border was a daily thing, and the border did not majorly affect everyday life or interpersonal relationships," said Borut Batagelj, director of the Celje Historical Archives.

This year's SIHeR project is dedicated to wine, which has a strong cultural link to the people and the land in the border area. Batagelj says Slovenians and Croatians make and drink very similar wines, which, in his opinion, is a direct result of joint historical tradition and also modern trends.

"When promoting specific wine varieties and regions, wine production materials and knowledge rarely cross the border, although there are some exceptions. Usually, it is quite contrary: an average visitor will quite quickly pick up on what separates modern Slovene and Croatian wines, even though they are made just across the border," Batagelj said.

That is why the Wine at the Border project presents the area as a unified wine-growing space - a fictional wine region. Although there is a lot of variety, the region is very closely-knit and many parallels can be drawn.


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