The Slovenia Times

Wine Abundant on St Martin's Day


Although the harvest was below average in terms of quantity this year, quality will be reason enough for celebration. Director of the the wine company Vinska družba Slovenije Dušan Brejc says the technological expertise in the production of wine in Slovenian wineries has made immense progress in recent years so it might be sensible to abandon the old idea of vintage years.

"Greater emphasis on the technology of work in the vineyard and wine cellar in the past five years means that we always produce distinctive and interesting wines, except for the vintage year 2010, which was truly exceptional.

"The debate about vintage years has become out of place really, considering that oscillations are much lesser and affect much less what the wines in a given year will be like," Brejc says.

Still, oenologists assess that as a result of drought, the reds, in particular late varieties, will show even more potential than the vintage year 2009.

In terms of quantity, Brejc expect this year's yield to be between 20% and 30% below last year's, which means around 60 million litres of wine.

St Martin's Day remains the birthday of wine for winemakers, even though juice now turns into wine much earlier as harvests are being held earlier every year due to climate change.

The wine festival is celebrated throughout the country, not only in the wine-growing regions. Various events invariably feature the christening of young wine, wine tasting as well as the dishes typically served on the occasion.

These include roasted goose or duck stuffed with chestnuts or apples, with crackers and red cabbage as a side dish.

One of the biggest events is held annually in Maribor, where the 29th Martinovanje attracted several thousand visitors from around the country on Friday.

In Ptuj, Slovenia's oldest city, the wine festival is associated with the carnival known as Kurentovanje. Sunday will see the inauguration of the 14th Carnival Prince, who will be in charge until Ash Wednesday.

In Primorsko in the west, the christening of new wine in Šempeter on Sunday afternoon will be accompanied with the selection of St Martin's couple. A music band and lots of wine will make sure merrymaking continues well into the night.

Koper on the coast will inaugurate the new godmother of Malvasia, a white wine, and the godfather of Refošk, a red, while the outdoor event tomorrow evening will also be visited by the reigning Slovenian wine queen.

Given the large quantities on wine on offer, health authorities have been warning of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption, while traffic police will watch out closely for drink drivers.


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