Wine needs to celebrate the holidays too. Not to rest of course but to give us all an excuse to have some. Here are some of the most important wine holidays in Slovenia and it’s surrounding areas.
1. Martinovanje (November)
One of the most important wine holidays in Slovenia. We celebrate it each year on November 11th, also known as St. Martin’s day. According to an old saying, this is the day when st. Martin, a protector of vineyards and winemakers, turns the must into wine. Each year Slovenians host celebrations all over the country to mark the occasion. It is traditional for people to drink young wine and eat goose with cabbage and “mlinci” (cooked dough flakes similar to pasta). Fun, as it is through this holiday, is not just your regular party. Turning the must into wine is seen as an important ritual, symbolizing the vintage that will soon be bottled.
2. Vincencovo (January)
This holiday is often overlooked and takes place on January 22nd, also known as St. Vincent’s day. We celebrate the holiday in Slovenia and also our neighbouring country Croatia. Similar to st. Martin, St. Vincent is also a protector of vineyards and winemakers. The holiday is sometimes called the Winemaking New Year, celebrating the beginning of a great new vintage. According to an old tradition, winemakers cut a piece of the vine before sunrise, put it in water and place it in a warm spot. A green vine shows how it survived the winter and what winemakers can expect from this vintage.
Another aspect of this holiday is the weather. If st. Vincent’s day is sunny it signifies a good vintage. As a result, there are many proverbs connected with the holiday, such as: “Če na Vincenca sonce peče, dobro vince dozori, ki po grlu gladko teče, motne dela ti oči.” Which roughly translates into “If on Vincent’s the sun is burning, good wine will mature and flow gently down the throat, making your vision blurry.”
3. Old Vine Festival (October)
A festival dedicated to the oldest noble vine in the world still bearing grapes. The vine is of the Žametna črnina variety (Slovene for “Black Velvet”, known also by the German name “Blauen Kölner”). It’s over 400 years old and grows in Slovenia’s second largest city called Maribor. As such this vine is also mentioned in the Guinness book of records. It’s a symbol of the rich wine heritage of both Maribor and Slovenia as a whole. The old vine festival begins each year on October 2nd at exactly 11:00 am, with the crowning of a new wine queen.
4. The Cherry Festival (June)
You might ask yourself what on earth have cherries got to do with wine? Well, there’s more to it than just the bouquet smell of a ripe Merlot or a delicate Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cherry Festival at the beginning of June is the biggest and most attention-grabbing cultural and tourist event in the coastal Primorska wine region. They organize the festival in Brda town, one of its prominent sub-regions. As people gather and hike around to pick the ripe cherries the festival also includes an open cellar day, when everyone can visit the cellars throughout the entire wine growing area. The winemakers give all of them a warm welcome and offer each an unforgettable wine tasting experience.
5. St. Trifun’s Holiday (February)
A holiday from the former Yugoslavia. We celebrate St. Trifun’s on February 14th, the same date as Valentine’s day. Though people have already forgotten about it in the past this holiday is now gradually coming back to life. To mark the occasion, the winemakers throw a celebration, demonstrating their faith in the vines to give them yet another great vintage. The holiday is most popular in Macedonia, where it has roughly the same status as St. Martin’s in Slovenia. I guess you could say St. Trifun’s is similar to Valentine’s day, only that the celebration is focused more on the love for wine than that between couples. What better excuse could one possibly have for enjoying a glass or two?
6. Spring Holiday in Svečina (March)
Another open cellar holiday that has been taking place each March for the last 10 years in Svečina. Svečina is a town in the north-east Štajerska wine growing region, best known for having a beautiful heart shaped vineyard. To celebrate the holiday around 20 local winemakers welcome visitors in their cellars, offering them a taste of their wine along with traditional local food. At the beginning of each festival, the visitors get their own glasses then head out to visit the cellars and meet the winemakers in person. This is definitely one of the holidays to look forward to in Spring.
These are the 6 main wine holidays we celebrate in Slovenia. As you can see they are nicely spread across the year so you can easily plan your visit to coincide with one of them. Don’t worry though if that’s inconvenient for you. You can always join one of the Wine Tasting in Ljubljana, where a celebration of wine takes place every day. Visit our website here to make a reservation.