The wine business, where all of our senses are stimulated, seems to be a charming detour from the oh-so-boring business arena. At first sight! Despite all of its obvious charms, it is a business as all others. The world of wine is no less cruel and competitive, and the way to the very top is just as hard to reach. For example, this year close to 17,000 wines competed for Decanter World Wine Awards, and only 148 wines were awarded with a Platinum medal and 480 with Gold! Thanks to Robert Gorjak, owner of the Belvin wine school, wine lovers from Slovenia had a great opportunity to ‘enter the room of medals, where each and every wine got a Decanter medal’.
“The goal of the Salon was to show the importance of achieving a Decanter medal around the world and how this can positively affect tourism and the eno tourism of Slovenia,” stressed Michela Nassiz, Account Manager at Decanter Media Brand for Italy, South Africa, Slovenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, who opened the ceremony. Decanter is the market leader, known as the worlds ‘best magazine’ available in 99 countries, with total circulation of 41,000 hard copies, and also a wine-authority that runs the world’s largest wine competition – the so-called Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) with over 280 judges. One of them is also Gorjak, the first Slovenian, who took over this respected function in 2005. Gorjak comments that he is truly happy to gather an impressive number of wineries (42!) from North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosna and Hercegovina, Croatia and Slovenia for the occasion of the 6th Salon. “We have further augmented the value of the Decanter awards and awarded wines. Wineries can be really confident to display their awarded wines as the quality was recognised be highly competent judges, some of the best in the industry.”
Wine tourism is growing on a global scale
The well-organised event highlighted the established quality of the awarded wines. The presence of local authorities was fundamental as well. Dr. Aleksandra Pivec, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, stressed that winemakers are ambassadors of quality. “Slovenia has all the conditions for wine business on a high level, and our Ministry offers a hand in order to improve the future position in the global wine industry.” Michela Nassiz, who has been in the wine and spirit industry for 23 years, is convinced that wine tourism is vital for the winery business. “Slovenia has potential in this industry because is a beautiful country. It is known for the high quality wines and the great respect for the territory with the distinct and exciting wine production areas, stunningly beautiful hilly vineyards envied by many.”
The right marketing campaigns through the right marketing tools will improve massively the Eno Tourism. For example, 81% of Decanter readers are wine-travellers and they appreciate our Travel Guide inserts. “They know Slovenia for its white wines: like the well-known Rebula from Brda, for its versatile styles (maceration, amfora,) Furmint from Stajerska, and are also aware of the Chardonnay, Malvazija and for the tradition to blend white wines. But we know, as well, the Teran (Refošk) in Carso area and the Cabernet Franc blends,” says Nassiz. And what is her advice for Slovenian winemakers? “ Travelling and investing to promote a single brand around the world is very expensive and mostly impossible for small wine producers, but if you have the right support of the local authorities and the government, and the most important element, the possibility to invest together to highlight the same territory, that is the key of the success.“
Wines from the Balkans are heaven for open-minded wine lovers
The special part of the 6th Salon was a workshop titled Pearls of Balkan – Surprises or Reality, led by Igor Luković from Serbia. Gorjak stressed that, “the wines of the Balkans, no matter the definition, is a rather vast area with huge geographic and climatic versatility.” If we add several dozens indigenous grape varieties and very importantly, ever improving winemaking practices, what more would you ask for? “I firmly believe that most wine-lovers start with local wines (if they exist), and then go to the classics. Would you stop there? If one is really curious, the Balkans has many truly exciting wines to offer.”