From Grape harvesting to the Feasts of St. Martin

Published: 21.2.2011

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From Grape harvesting to the Feasts of St. Martin

Early autumn brings grape harvesting which is a widespread tradition in Slovenia. The time around St. Martin`s day, when the wine matures, is a time of joy and traditional Feasts of St. Martin, which honour autumn and greet the new, young wine. The most vibrant places to visit are Sežana and Maribor, the second largest Slovenian city that boasts the world`s oldest vine.

From Grape harvesting to the Feasts of St. Martin

Early autumn brings grape harvesting which is a widespread tradition in Slovenia. The time around St. Martin`s day, when the wine matures, is a time of joy and traditional Feasts of St. Martin, which honour autumn and greet the new, young wine. The most vibrant places to visit are Sežana and Maribor, the second largest Slovenian city that boasts the world`s oldest vine.

Maribor, the capital of the Štajerska Region and the home of the world`s oldest vine, takes the baton of the country`s culinary hub in autumn. Besides the wine festival, Maribor is also known for the largest Slovenian Feast of St. Martin, which attracts thousands of visitors on 11 November. This tribute to autumn and joyful social gathering in the city square are accompanied by many cultural and entertainment events as well as an abundance of wine and food on more than 40 stands. This year`s 31st Feast of St. Martin also represents the end of the events, which animated Maribor throughout the year in honour of the Old vine, which has thrived for more than 400 years, making it the world`s oldest vine and the most known ethnographic sight of Maribor. Every year, this vine bears around 50 kilograms of delicious grapes of the vine variety called žametovka or modra kavčina, one of the oldest vine varieties in Slovenia. A nice idea of a trip around Maribor is also to discover the wine roads – by car or bike, where locals create unforgettable culinary treats.

The feast of St. Martin is the time when autumn work is finished at the countryside and the preparations for winter begin. On 11 November, people celebrate the nameday of St. Martin, a patron saint who, according to legend, turned water into wine. During this week, the traditional events called the Feasts of St. Martin take place throughout Slovenia. These events are filled with joy, music, local culinary specialities and, of course, wine. Experience this holiday in Slovenian wine cellars, wineries and vineyard cottages.

From 7 to 9 November, Sežana is the place to be as it hosts the traditional St. Martin`s day in Karst Region. A rich programme promises a number of concerts, a specialised lecture on the Feast of St. Martin, a run across the living museum of karst and the St. Martin`s tour. You can also visit other Feasts of St. Martin in Slovenia, such as: St. Martin`s day in the Goriška Region, on farms along the wine roads in Brda and Istria and the farms along wine tourist road under Pohorje and others.

Slovenia can boast 3 wine-growing regions, 14 wine-growing districts and almost 30,000 registered winegrowers, almost all of them being wine-makers. A true miniature version of viticulture in Europe! This means that one out of 70 Slovenians is a wine-maker. The Slovenian grape harvesting starts in the Primorska wine-growing region where the grapes ripen first due to its mild climate, and continues in the Posavje wine-growing region and the Podravje wine-growing region. Manual grape harvesting is still popular in Slovenia. It is an important social event that follows the rule "many hands make light work".

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