Slovenia has a long tradition as a wine-producing country. The most important holiday for all winegrowers and winemakers is without a doubt St Martin`s Day, 11 November. This is a holiday dedicated to the new wine, and one of the biggest holidays in Slovenia. Although it is not an official public holiday, celebrating St Martin`s Day is very popular in Slovenia.
St Martin`s Day is a traditional popular holiday in Slovenia that marks the end of work in the fields and the baptism of the new wine. Although the holiday has the appearance of a religious feast day, its origins date back to the period before Christ. At autumn festivities and banquets our pagan ancestors thanked the gods for a good harvest and petitioned them for the same abundance in the year to come. Because of the general popularity of the holiday, it was not abolished by the Church with the coming of Christianity but instead identified with the feast of St Martin, a Christian bishop born in the early fourth century in present-day Hungary, who was well known and venerated among the people.
The holiday is traditionally connected to the drinking of wine, since it is on around this date that the `must` (the newly pressed juice of grapes) becomes wine. St Martin`s Day celebrations are among the biggest gastronomic events in Slovenia and attract even hardened city-dwellers into the countryside. Various celebrations and tastings of the young wine are held across Slovenia on and around 11 November. Farms in the Primorska region set up osmice, `eight-day wine shops` where as well as wine visitors can sample other local delicacies such as ham, salami, sausages and cheese, not to mention cabbage, turnip and boiled štruklji.
Slovenia today has three wine regions: Primorska, Posavje and Podravje. The most beautiful parts of Slovenia`s three wine-producing areas are given over to a plant that needs a lot of attention, love and sunshine. Vines in Slovenia have been receiving all this for thousands of years, something which is reflected in the country`s wines. Each of the 14 wine districts contains at least one wine route along which visitors can discover just why Slovenian wines are among the finest in the world. Located along the picturesque wine routes are cellars where you can taste and purchase quality wines, premium wines, late-harvest wines and sparkling wines. Different climates, soil types and exposures and the inexhaustible inspiration of the winemakers give Slovenian wines variety and diversity. Each of Slovenia`s wine regions and each of the wine districts within those regions has its own characteristics that tell their own story in the wine they produce.
The Podravje wine region is strongly influenced by the Pannonian climate. White wines with a low alcohol content and high acidity and sugar levels predominate. The region also produces some characteristic late-harvest wines.
The Primorje wine region is known for its excellent reds, which are joined by rich and full whites. The warm and dry influences of the Adriatic give the wine a particular stamp and dry wines with a high alcohol content and low acidity are characteristic of this region.
The Posavje wine region is influenced by the subalpine climate. It is characterised by light, fresh, reddish and red wines and late-harvest whites. The wines have a slightly higher acidity but there is always a marked varietal bouquet.