The tradition of Slovenian wine extends far back in history, even before the Romans introduced winemaking to France, Germany, and Spain. Production has continued throughout the centuries, and today Slovenia wines are 75 percent white, and almost all the production is consumed within the country. There are more than 40,000 wineries in Slovenia today, and they produce more than 25 million gallons of wine annually. Some of the wines are exported to the United States, Italy, Germany, or Croatia; but the majority is enjoyed throughout Slovenia itself, from the cultural streets of Ljubljana to the quiet countryside of the tourist farms.
One of the most well-known wine-growing regions in Slovenia is Goriska Brda. In the western part of the country on the border of Italy, Goriska Brda is home to beautiful architecture, a Mediterranean climate, and a flourishing wine culture. All year-round, tourists are attracted to this area for a variety of reasons including the cuisine, the blossoming cherry trees in spring, and the grape-harvesting in autumn. The largest Slovenian wine cellar is located in Goriska Brda, and a combination of knowledge and technology keeps it stocked with internationally acclaimed wines. A tour of the cellar and tasting allows visitors to sample Slovenia wines right where they are made.
Another popular area for wine-growing is the Vipava Valley. Also known for outstanding white wines, the Vipava Valley enjoys a mild climate. Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and some red varieties are all grown in this region along with peaches, apricots, and figs. The countryside and wine-growing regions of Slovenia also offer adventurous activities to bring you closer to nature, including hiking, fishing, biking, and walking tours of the vineyards themselves. During autumn harvest season, it is possible to get to know Slovenian wine even better by taking part in picking the grapes.
There are three primary districts where Slovenia wines are produced: Primoski, near the sea; Posavski, in the Sava River Valley; and Podravski, which is in the Drava River valley bordering Austria and Hungary. There is an incredible amount of geographic diversity here for such a small country, which results in a rich variety of the wines. Wines produced along the Adriatic coast are sure to be quite different than wines produced near the Alps. During a trip to Slovenia, it is possible to taste wines from the different regions and develop your own opinions on the local specialties.
While most wineries will offer tours and sampling in English, it is also a good idea to make reservations in advance and maybe even peruse a dictionary of Slovenian wine terms online. Familiarity with these terms will help you to know what you’re looking at when you’re reading a wine label in Slovenia, especially if you intend on making educated purchases to bring home. Many travelers choose to combine touring vineyards with visits to tourist farms, bringing together the cuisine, wine, and local customs in one experience. Sipping a local variety in the countryside in Slovenia will be a highlight of any trip to the country.