The Slovenia Times

St. Martin's Day Observed as Grape Juice Turns into Wine


Bojan Kobal, one of the leading oenologists in the country, has told the STA that the traditional holiday allows wine growers to celebrate the harvest, while also bringing together families and friends.

While acknowledging that conditions for growing grapes had been tough this year, he said that the slightly lower sugar levels will make for a fresh and light wine that will allow people to treat themselves to an extra glass or two.

As regards Slovenia's wine production, Kobal highlighted the preserved diversity and Slovenia being recognised as a quality wine-growing country in its own right after it had already been producing the best wines in Austria-Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Since Slovenian wine producers cannot realistically compete with the big when it comes to low-priced wines, they are forced to focus on mid to higher end wines. Kobal highlighted the need for the producers to join forces and for a bigger focus on promoting Slovenia abroad.

St. Martin's Day, which is also known as Martlemass, derives from the pre-Christian, pagan tradition of leaving food and wine on the table after a feast to celebrate the harvest.

The link to wine has grown from the belief that St. Martin, who is depicted on many Slovenian churches, performed the same feat as Jesus Christ by transforming water into wine, making him the patron saint of the celebrations of the fermenting of wine.

The holiday is used by winemakers to stage tastings of new vintages, which they often spice up with cultural events and parties. Traditionally the largest event takes place in Maribor, while smaller events are held in virtually all villages around Slovenia.


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