The history of wine-making

In the current territory of Slovenia, the Celts were the first to begin producing wine, approximately 400 years B.C. In those days, wine was kept in oak barrels, wrapped with iron strips. The winemaking methods of the Celts rapidly disappeared with the arrival of Romans in the first century A.D. The Romans expanded wine production and had their own methods of archiving and maturing wine in pottery. Archaeological finds that show the winemaking skills of the Romans are preserved in several Slovenian museums. Pagan tribes of Slavs who began to conquer this area in the 6th century were not aware of the importance of wine. In that period, wine production decreased, while again gaining importance with Christianisation from the 9th century on.

From mass wines to the catastrophic vine louse

In the Middle Ages the majority of vineyards were owned by the Catholic Church. Therefore, it was primarily priests and monks who had the knowledge of winemaking. Even nowadays, some monasteries still produce small amounts of wine, among which the most famous are the mass wines. In the 13th century, the authorities ordered the first rights and duties of wine-makers, while the first manuals for work in vineyards and wine cellars were issued in Slovenia in the 18th century. In the second half of the 19th century, the first agricultural schools were established in Maribor, Vipava and Novo mesto, where a significant part of education is dedicated to winemaking. The appearance of the vine louse in 1880 that destroyed vineyards all over Europe slightly delayed development. In the area of Slovenia, half of the vineyards were ruined.

Blossoming after the Second World War

In the decades until the Second World War, winemaking, along with the increased popularity of wines, had gradually increased. The legislation and rules on the protection of Slovenian wines in the beginning of the 1970's directed wine-makers toward the production of quality wines. Extremely good climate conditions, along with the dedication and efforts of wine-makers, led to Slovenian wines reaching and remaining at the top worldwide as early as a couple of decades ago. The fact that family businesses deal with winemaking is certainly a Slovenian peculiarity; naturally they have relatively small production. However, their excellent wines, as a rule, only continue to gain recognition and prestige.

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