So you’ve chosen Ljubljana as your base to do some wine tasting? Are you a lover of organic, biodynamic, or natural wines? You’ve come to the right city.
Even though you might wonder “How could I find some good organic wines in a city?”, Ljubljana is a hot spot for tasting Slovenia’s best wines, including organic, biodynamic, and natural ones.
Before we discover where in Ljubljana you can try these fantastic sustainable wines, let’s briefly look into the Ljubljana wine scene and the city’s sustainable charm.
This may or may not come as a surprise to you: Ljubljana, although not recognized as a wine-growing area, is home to a beautiful vineyard. It’s called the Castle Vineyard and is situated on a slope in the Ljubljana Castle grounds. So yes! Ljubljana does have its own vineyard.
The Castle Vineyard was established the same year Ljubljana held the title of European Green Capital in 2016. It’s home to the white grape variety Belpin and the red variety Rdečegrajc, and the first harvest took place only last year (2018). Apart from the vineyard, the Ljubljana Castle courtyard very conveniently houses the offspring of the oldest grapevine that’s found in Maribor. Isn’t that remarkable?
Because of Ljubljana’s role as a commercial hub for Slovenia’s wine regions, it boasts the title of International City of Vine and Wine. As previously mentioned, Ljubljana houses its own vineyard and the Castle Vine, the history of which goes back a while to 1990. It was planted that year to symbolize the friendship between Maribor and Ljubljana.
With Ljubljana having made an enormous number of changes in just a short time, it’s no wonder that the European Commission awarded it the European Green Capital 2016. But Ljubljana’s sustainable initiative doesn’t end there. It’s continued to take steps towards reducing the impact of urban development and has also started to offer tourist tours with a green focus. Such are the Bee Route Tour, Treasures of Tivoli Park tour, and guided active tours like the Nordic walking and Bike tour of Ljubljana.
Having earned such a sustainable reputation, Ljubljana is also drawing the attention of tourist organizations and agencies abroad that focus on eco-friendly and active family holidays. One example is Green World holidays, which supports sustainable tourism and offers family-friendly adventure holidays in Slovenia and Croatia. They are known for carefully selecting destinations that are stunning due to their natural beauty while avoiding mass tourism.
Apart from tasting organic wines at Ljubljana’s wine festivals, you can also do so in the many cozy wine bars that you’ll find all over the city. They offer some of the best sustainable Slovenian wines made by the most respected Slovenian winemakers. You should definitely pay a visit to Dvorni Bar, Movia Wine Bar, Evino, Wine Bar Šuklje, and TaBar, a Slovenian tapas and wine bar.
Some restaurants in Ljubljana also offer a wide selection of ecological wines, such as the small cozy Luda on Poljanska Cesta. Or you could buy bottles of organic, biodynamic, or natural wines from Ljubljana wine shops like WeVino and Vinoteka Štorija, which specializes in orange, natural, and biodynamic wines. A great aspect of these wine shops is that they organize wine tastings, and you can even try the wines that you’re interested in before you buy.
To add to Ljubljana Castle’s wine offering, the castle now houses the recently opened Strelec Wine Bar and Shop. This stylish wine lover’s paradise packs more than 200 Slovenian wines from all three wine-growing regions in Slovenia. And the good news for enthusiasts of organic wines: They stock natural wines by some of Slovenia’s greatest names like Batič, Rodica, Rojac, Guerila, Korenika & Moškon, Šuman by Demeter, Mlečnik, Čotar, Ducal, Kobal, and Mansus.
You can also taste organic wines at Slovenia’s largest wine events that fortunately enough take place right here in Ljubljana every year: the Slovenian Wine Festival, and the Ljubljana Wine Route. The Slovenian Wine Festival is an indoor event held in Cankarjev Dome and features as many as 150 winemakers and more than 500 wines, while the wine route is an outdoor event that spans Ljubljana’s old town center from Prešeren Square to the Town Square. The Ljubljana Wine Route is held twice a year (in June and November), and visitors can taste more than 450 wine samples from around 90 winemakers.
At this year’s Slovenian Wine Festival (November 14-15), you’ll be able to enjoy sustainable wines from the following wineries: Vina Zaro, Rodica, Vina Gordia, Vino Reia, and Vina Rojac.
The Salon of Sparkling Wines, which is held every year on Valentine’s day in Hotel Slon, also features naturally sparkling wines, known as pét-nat wines. These are made using little to no chemical intervention.
Pétillant Naturel wines (pét-nat in short) are naturally sparkling wines produced via the old method for making sparkling wines known as ‘Méthode Ancestrale’. The natural method begins in vineyards where no chemicals are used. It’s then continued during the wine-making process where the wine is bottled before the first fermentation is finished so that a second fermentation can happen naturally in the bottle by means of the residual sugars.
Some famous Slovenian naturally sparkling wines that you should look out for are Štoka’s "Penece" Teran Pétillant-Natural and Bela Peneče Pétillant-Naturel made from Vitovska grapes, Fedora’s Pet-Nat made from 50% Riesling Italico and 50% Refosco, and Movia’s Puro and Puro Rosé.
Now that you know where to find sustainable wines in Ljubljana, head out and enjoy them. While on your organic wine hunt around Ljubljana’s wine bars and wine shops, look out for Slovenian winemaker names like Vina Zaro, Rodica, Vina Gordia, Vino Reia, Vina Rojac, Batič, Guerila Biodynamic Winery, Korenika & Moškon Winery, Valentan, and Šuman.
Don’t forget, organic doesn’t mean non-alcoholic. Drink responsibly, and have a good time tasting sustainable wines in green Ljubljana!
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