Grape Harvesting

Most grape harvests in Slovenia take place from the end of August until the first half of October. The first grape harvests occur in the wine-growing region of Primorska, where the grapes ripen sooner due to the warm climate, followed by the harvests in the Posavje wine-growing region and in the Podravje wine-growing region. Due to the smaller size and fragmented ownership of vineyards, hand picking of grapes prevails, even though wine-growers have been using agricultural machinery for years to help them access the vines. The picking of grapes by hand is of course more time-consuming and tiresome than machine picking but the harvesting experience is more authentic and unforgettable. In numerous, and especially the smaller vineyards, the pressing of grapes is also done by hand. The pressing of grapes is an integral part of grape harvesting, as is the cheerfulness of the grape-pickers, which is reflected in the singing and joking that takes place throughout the harvest.

The customs surrounding grape harvesting differ in the three Slovenian wine-growing regions, and for the full experience, all three should be visited. If you do not know how to contact vineyard owners, who always gladly welcome any additional pair of hands, there are numerous tourist packages available. These packages mostly include tourist farms, where you can bolster your spirits and spend the night. You can also expect to be well taken care of by vineyard owners, as no one ever goes thirsty or hungry during grape harvests.

The Oldest Vine

Among the most famous Slovenian grape harvests is a “boutique” harvest, as only about 2.5 litres of wine are produced from the picked grapes that are annually bottled in one hundred small bottles. This is the grape harvest of The Old Vine in Lent in Maribor. This vine is over 400 years old and entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world. The venerable age of the vine is even more remarkable considering that, in the past centuries, vines were often exposed to various diseases that most vines failed to overcome.

Among the Best in the World

Both white and red grape varieties grow in Slovenia, with several indigenous varieties, such as the zelen and pinela in the Vipava Valley. The long-standing winemaking tradition and efficient transfer of knowledge have resulted in the production of Slovenian wines being very successful and appreciated across the globe. These are mostly quality and high-quality wines, and quite a few wine-makers processing high-quality wines are among the best in the world.

Slovenian wines are very diverse, as they are available in all sweetness levels, from dry to sweet. The latter are mostly the numerous predicate wines – choice wines, berry selections, late harvests and ice-wines. In the last years, the production of sparkling wines is also gaining importance.

Each Slovenian wine-maker will gladly tell you more about the art of winemaking, as all who engage in this activity, be it professionally or as a hobby, do so with their hearts and great dedication.

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