The holiday of fruitful autumn
The most widespread celebration in Slovenia related to wine and the culture of wine is the celebration of St Martin's Day. It is celebrated on 11 November and for a week or two after that. You will not experience autumn dancing like this anywhere else in Europe, so visit one of the large celebrations of St Martin's Day. Pan-Slovenian joy kicks off events at the world's oldest vine which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It grows in the second largest Slovenian city Maribor, and has yielded red grapes of one of the oldest indigenous Slovenian varieties for almost 500 years. The pride in the wine and the new wine vintage can be felt all the time all over the country from the ceremonial harvest of the Old Vine at the beginning of October to the celebrations of St Martin's Day. St Martin's Day is celebrated not only in all Slovenian wine-growing regions, but from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pannonian plains. Be part of the merry atmosphere upon the birth of the new wine.
St Martin's Day is redolent of like wine and delicacies
In addition to the celebration of a new wine vintage, St Martin's Day is characterised by its typical dishes, including, in addition to other types of poultry, the most typical roast goose or duck with shredded flatbread (mlinci) and stewed red cabbage. You will find St Martin's Day menus in most restaurants in Slovenia. Indispensable dishes include pogača, potica and other sweet delicacies. According to tradition must turns into wine on St Martin's Day; wine is christened all over Slovenia on that day when large public outdoor St Martin's Day celebrations also take place.
Large outdoor St Martin's Day celebrations
From Maribor, the second largest Slovenian city in the west of the country with the world's oldest vine venture to Ptuj with the oldest winery in Slovenia, which was established by monks. Feel the joy of St Martin's Day amid the fertile rolling hills of Posavje and Dolenjska in the south of the country, and taste some wine on a wine trail in the heart of Ljubljana. The largest St Martin's Day celebrations of in Mediterranean Slovenia are held in Nova Gorica where the day connects the city and the rural area of the Vipava Valley, in the Karst and in Brda where you can experience the unique atmosphere of the oldest wineries in the picturesque village of Šmartno. The atmosphere is also merry in Koper which is this year's European Destination of Excellence.
When must turns into wine
The roots of St Martin's Day celebrations supposedly arise from a Celtic holiday which paid tribute to the fruitfulness of the autumn in the fields and vineyards. St Martin, a bishop from Tours in France with Hungarian roots, seemed like the most appropriate successor and protector of this important time. The joy as must turns into real wine is incomparable with any other holiday in Slovenia. Almost every seventh Slovenian is a winegrower and it is no coincidence that the greatest Slovenian TV soap operas of all time are related to wine dynasties.
Wine stories from Slovenia
The winegrowing and oenology of Slovenia are represented by three wine-growing regions with 14 wine-growing districts. The first written testimonies to winegrowing in the area of present Slovenia date as far back as the 3rd century B.C. Large quantities of excellent wine have been produced here since then. Certain Slovenian winemakers win the most prestigious prizes and awards at world competitions. A special feature of Slovenian winegrowing and oenology are certain indigenous grape and wine varieties. Among them, two truly special wines are Karst Teran and Cviček from Dolenjska, and there are also Zelén, Pinela, Grganja, Klarnica and others. Have you tasted them? St Martin's Day is the perfect opportunity to do so.
St Martin's Day, the greatest holiday of bountiful autumn
Discover wine and the wine-growing tradition during the celebration of St Martin's Day. A week or two in November are reserved for joy at the new wine vintage. Slovenia is a miniature wine region of Europe.