Vineyards across Slovenia decked in autumn colours signal that it is time to open up the wine cellars and taste the new vintage. Along with the experience of wine-tasting, numerous events at this time offer a glimpse of the old customs, since Martinmas is one of the main folk holidays in wine-producing countries.
Home of wine
For a true taste of the Feast of St. Martin, on 11th November, it is best to go where the wine originates. Among the vineyards and people who live and breathe with them, amidst the aroma of home-made delicacies and fresh chestnuts.
Slovenia’s wine producing regions are known throughout the world for their abundance. We cultivate and maintain three wine regions, which produce numerous rare, native and geographically protected wine varieties. Of the outstanding wines of the Primorska wine region, be sure to try the native zelen, pinela, and klarnica, the pikolit dessert wine and the famous Teran with its therapeutic properties. Hardest to resist in the Podravje wine region is the sparkling Radgonska penina, and in the Posavje wine region you should try dolenjski cviček, an officially protected reddish wine made of four different grape varieties.
The most authentic stories and customs can be encountered on a visit to one of the numerous wine cellars, wineries or wine cottages across Slovenia, while St. Martin is also welcomed in the capital and other towns and cities.
4 Martinmas curiosities you might not have heard of:
The Goriška Brda area maintains the custom of predicting the upcoming vintage with an apple into which various Mediterranean herbs have been stuffed. The apple is left for a while in a barrel. If it rots, the vintage will be bad, but if it dries nicely it will be good.
Martinmas is just one of three festivals celebrated by winemakers. On St. Urban’s Day, 25 May, the vine is in bloom, and the flowers reveal to winemakers the success of the vintage. After Martinmas, on 27 December, St. John the Apostle’s Day, the best wine is blessed.
One legend states that Bishop Martin was a saint who was able to turn water into wine. He tried to avoid being appointed to that office by hiding among a flock of geese. Hence people eat the traditional Martinmas goose and other poultry on that day.
On Martinmas people predicted the harvest and weather: “If a Martinmas goose slithers on ice, at Christmas it usually squelches in mud.”
Slovenian wine in numbers
Slovenia has 3 wine regions and 14 wine districts.
In Slovenia we cultivate 52 varieties of grapevine, of which 37 are white and 15 red.
Each year 63% of wines produced are white, 27% are red and 10% are sparkling and rosé wines, and of these 70% meet the criteria for quality and superlative wines.
On average each Slovenian drinks more than 40 litres of wine a year.
Check the Feasts of St. Martin.