Did you know that Slovenia has 7 or more completely different wine regions producing completely different wines in completely different growing conditions with completely different grapes? If you didn't know this you are in for a very pleasant surprise when you visit Green Slovenia!
Quite a few of these wines are protected and completely unique to Slovenia, so, to be clear, they cannot be found anywhere else in the world!
Most regions have at least one unique wine to discover and the wine growers here also create unique cuvees from these rare grapes, so there might be only ONE VINEYARD in the entire world where you can get a particular bottle of unique wine!
Slovenian wine is not easy to get hold of outside Green Slovenia either. One of the reasons for this is it really is true that it tastes so good the locals don't like to let it go!
But don't worry, we have a great choice of bottles from all the different wine regions around the country and we know as a visitor to Slovenia, you would especially like to try the really unique ones.. so that is what we have!
And if you like a particular wine and want to go to meet the people who made it, maybe have a little tour around the vineyard and try some other local vineyard wines.. then we can arrange a wine tasting at any of the local Slovenian wine partners who provide the bottles for our wine cellar.. How about that for GREEN tourism!
You do not need to spend all day at a vineyard.. You can easily incorporate a visit into your day's Adventures as there are vineyards all over the place around here.. this is what you can expect to Get Up To on a Wine Visit:
• Taste from a large selection of red, white, rose and orange wines from around Slovenia.. unique high quality Slovenian wines that you just don't get at home..
• It is possible to visit just one or several different wine regions in ONE DAY to do your wine tasting and have a great day out..
• Learn a little about how the wine is made, taste some local tapas too and see some wonderful countryside and viniculture..
• Purchase bottles and local products directly at the vineyard..
• Order larger quantities of wine to be sent home to your doorstep..
• Even join in with the grape picking for a day at harvest time, (if you are here at the right time in September)..
There are 4 seperate wine regions really close to the Lodge.. They all produce excellent Slovenian, French, Italian and Orange wines, BUT also have their own unique grapes.. we will list these 4 close regions now and a few of the wines you should particularly look out for here..
Vipava Wine valley (20 mins away), Zelen (Green) Pinela and Barbera..
Teran Kras Wine Region (25 mins), Teran, Grganja (a white Teran), Jerina (example of an exclusive cuvee available in ONLY one vineyard)..
Goricia Hills (Goriska Brda) Wine Region (50 mins), Rebula and many high quality cuvees..
Coastal Hinterland "Vina Koper" Wine Region (30 mins), Malvazija and Refosk..
Wine Tasting is All Year Round..
Our partner vineyards are open all year round for your visit, there is never a bad time to taste good wine and wine cellars are exactly the same temperature all year round too.. by the way, we have never seen one wine cellar that looks the same as another in our travels around Green Slovenia.
You can easily spend the whole or part of your Green day out visiting a vineyard. Whether by car, bike or guided tour, this is also a great way to explore and discover the different regions of Slovenia.
We found it really difficult as tourists to find vineyards that were open when we actually wanted to drop in.. This is despite the large number of "wine road" (vinska cesta) signs that you will see all over the place. So we decided to do something about it and find our own reliable wine partners. We can call them in advance to ensure you have a great wine visit and don't spend your precious holiday time chasing shadows!
Join in at Grape Harvest Time in September..
Our guests can sometimes get a unique opportunity to go grape picking at one of our partner vineyards. You can help out at a vineyard for the day with harvesting the juicy grapes. You get to pick the bunches of grapes alongside experienced volunteer workers who do this every year for fun, have lunch and evening meal with the pickers!
This is a "win win" situation as our the wine partners cannot quite believe tourists would want to pick grapes for a day or half day and they desperately need hands on scissors at harvest time AND tourists cannot quite believe their luck that they get to spend the day in green nature with lovely local people and also get fed and watered during the process AND we are happy cos we have happy guests doing a totally unique and possibly "once in a lifetime" experience!!
We will not be in the least bit surprised when guests, who are either getting married soon, or have a marriage in the family coming up, buy their entire wedding reception wine list from one of our wine partners here in Slovenia, at a fraction of the cost back home, with a much better choice of wine and at much better quality!
Now below, here are LOTS and LOTS of Ideas and Tips about HOW TO GET OUT & ABOUT & COMBINE YOUR DAY OUT TO ALSO EXPLORE SOME OF GREEN SLOVENIA'S UNIQUE WINE REGIONS..
How about a Vipava Valley Day Out..
You could drive up into the forest above Landol, visit an ancient Roman fortress and then continue along the beautiful mountain ridge road through pretty villages with quite fantastic views. Stop off on the way to hike the 45 mins to the "Okno" (window), which is a 7 metre high rock opening over 1,000 metres up, with stunning views of the vineyard covered Vipava valley below.
Then go down the rocky mountain road passing through some Swiss style mountain tunnels and visit the beautiful valley old town of Vipava for coffee or ice cream.
And what a way to finish off the day by visiting one of our partner vineyards for amazing views across the valley! Enjoy some delicious home cured meats and cheese to accompany your wine tasting..
We heard it on the Grapevine..that Slovenians traditionally called red wine "black" due to the dark red colour. In Socialist times only simple "black" and "white" wines were produced, but in the last 30 years, wine production has exploded into colour and aroma. Experienced, talented and well informed local wine producers use grapes which grow uniquely in Slovenia's diverse micro climates and excellent growing conditions to produce a whole array of new red, white, orange and rose wines. Some of the traditional local reds are still called "Black".
How about doing a "Double Bubble" Wine Tour OR even Three Wine Regions in One amazing Day..
The distances are so small you could easily focus a big chunk OR your whole day on Slovenian Wine!
There is an amazing hill road that connects the Vipava Valley with the Teran wine region, where you can drive between two of Slovenia's different wine regions in about 5 minutes and it is just incredible how the wine regions change in front of your eyes in a matter of minutes!
We would recommend firstly doing a tasting in the Vipava Wine valley, then taking this quiet road up out of the valley..
Suddenly the lush green Vipava church topped hills and litle villages & vineyards scattered on the sides of the valley slopes are replaced with tight, narrow little terracotta roofed villages with vines squeezed into ever nook and cranny of the deep red soil that is the Teran wine region.. wow!
You really have to see this change with your own eyes, but it is just one of the many sudden changes in scenery, climate and landscape you get ALL THE TIME travelling around Green Slovenia.. It is almost unbelievable how different all the mini regions are in such a tiny country that many visitors might not have even realised made wine!!
There are some great wine visits in the Kras Teran wine region and you could do this "double bubble" wine region the other way around as well of course..
But what about doing a treble bubble?! You could max up your double bubble and easily fit in a visit to the Gorica Hills Goriska Brda region OR go down to the Adriatic coast for the Vinakoper wine region instead and fit in three wine regions in one day..
It is perfectly possible if you get your logisitcs right and do not forget.. each different Slovenian wine region produces COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WINES to the others!
How about a Trip to the Coastal Vinkoper Wine Region..
Then afterwards what a great idea to stop off at a vineyard for a spot of wine tasting on the way back to the Lodge!
The two main wines in the Coastal wine region are red Refosk and white Malvazia. There are many independant vineyards scattered around the picture perfect coastal hinterland hills, but also a large wine coopertive called Vinakoper, which collects grapes from smaller producers and makes the wine for them!
There is a large Vinakoper Winery next to the coastal motorway if you do have so much time and want to get some coastal local wine. They even have a French style petrol station nozzles where local come with large plastic containers and "fill up"!
The Refosk Wine Fountain..
Another great way to have some fun, discover more of the huge coastal hinterland and to try some coastal wine would be to drive up to the little village of Marezige where there is a "wine fountain" and sensational views down to the sea.
The wine fountain is in a pretty wine garden and you buy a glass that you get to keep after and can fill up with the different regional wines!
We know a sensational route back from Marezige where you could stop off at the 5 walled church fortress at Kubed, then go see the amazing fortress church with the 500 year old medieval fresco of the Dance of Death at Hrastovlje and still drop off near to Crni Kal to see a fantastc crumbled medieval tower nestled on top of a huge cliff stack, which you can only get to by a bridge!!
The narrow curvy roads are a joy to drive and lined with little pine trees, vineyards and olive groves.. how about that for a day out!
We heard it on the Grapevine.. that the Refosco grapes used to make the wine in the "rocky Kras Teran wine region" and "Coastal Vinkoper wine region" are identical, but due to the completely different geological and weather conditions in htese two regions just a few dozen km apart on the map, a dark red Teran wine is produced in the Kras and a more ruby red, fruity Refošk is produced by the coast! Both are excellent company for a plate of prosciutto and cheese.
How about the Italian Foothills and Goriška Brda (Gorica Hills)..
Don't be scared off by the name Goriska Brda, as it just means Goricia Hills and it is such a different, lovely wine region..
Drive the 45 minutes to the western Slovene border town of Nova Gorica and visit the tomb of the last Bourbon king of France, (exiled to Slovenia and housed in a very pretty white church on a hil).. maybe instead chill out by the Soca river at Kanal.
From Kanal, you can cross into the Gorica Hills, or better to drive back a bit to the bridge at Plave and then follow the tiny curvy roads up into the wine hills and explore this stunning Slovenian wine region with a French feel to it, heading towards Dobrovo, with excellent local food and a little castle too.
The Grska Brda region is covered in beautiful little hills, vineyards and cherry orchards..
Maybe try to find the beautiful Cramp Gorge on the way too and stop in one of the other beautiful little hill top villages, maybe Smartno, (St Martin) for lunch.
Then visit a local vineyard for some tasting in the afternoon and complete the Gorica Hills loop by returning to Nova Gorica, with a possible stopover in the stunning Vipava valley on your way back to the Lodge, depending on your timing..
How about Finding Black Metlika in White Carniola..
WOW, what about taking a trip out to the far south eastern corner of Slovenia to this traditionally red wine producing region?
There are many choices of places for you to visit along the journey there, but we would recommend doing a full circle trip so you can also maybe stop off at some beautiful castles along the bottle green Krka river before you reach Metlika.
When you get to Metlika the old town has it's own pretty castle with cosy cafe and a big wine cellar.. next door is a large fire brigade museum with lots of antique vehicles!
Just outside town, you could visit our wine partner friends, the Pecaric's, with two cellars and combine tasting their wine with some lovely Slovenian meats and cheeses, we call this "Slovenian Tapas"!
The simple unique local traditional red wine here is called "Black Metlika" and at this particular vineyard you also see how they make 4 varieties of very high quality sparkling wine, (Slovenian champagne for want of a better word).. bubbletastic!
After wine tasting you could go for awalk from the vineyrad in the beautiful silver birch forest to their vineyard and back. The Metlika mini region is covered in silver birch trees and these give the region it's name of "White Carniola".
How about Slovenia's Jerusalem..
A little part of Slovenia was named Jeruzalem by returning Crusaders who thought the area so beautiful it reminded them of the beauty of the holy city!
This mini region has lush rolling hillsides covered in vines, with scattered villages, little churches on top of hills and endless walking and cycling tracks. We found a special marked hiking route from the nearby tourist office that explores the area in a circle, leaving you thirsty enough for some wine tasting afterwards!
We have a partner vineyard called KOS, "Blackbird" in Jerusalem and the 2 special local wines to look out for there and try are Sipon and Ranfol..
If you see a local person here who looks a little French they might be a direct descendant of some French soldiers returning from the crusades who loved it so much here they stayed.. and they loved the local Sipon so much they called it "C'est bonne"!
A trip to Jerusalem can be combined with so many optional stop offs, but if you haven't seen Slovenia's beautiful oldest town of Ptuj, with castle, then this is our recommended combination for a wonderful day out.
We heard it on the Grapevine.. Orange wine is effectively Rose wine made in reverse and can be produced only every few years when the quality of the grapes and conditions are perfect. It takes a lot of time and care to produce a good orange wine and the skins are left in the process long enough to turn the colour of the wine orange. There are many vineyards, including some of our own wine partners, where you can find out more about orange wine, how it is made and even taste it!
How about exploring "Wednesday" & "Thursday" Villages..
Another pretty mini wine region is due east from Celje on the Croatian border with two very pretty villages called Podšreda (Wednesday) and Podcetrtek (Thursday)!
In this wine region the wine cellars are carved out of the local soft sandstone to form bunker-like cavities for storing and tasting the wine.. If they need more storage space, they just dig another tunnel!
We found a wonderful vineyard to visit here with the most amazing cellar we have ever seen. The walls are curved and slightly damp with moisture, as tunnel after tunnel winds its way into the sandstone, housing some very delicious local wines indeed, including their "Blue Frankinja" wine, which.. is red!
There are even vineyards here in this region that are half in Slovenia and half in Croatia!
The south eastern area of Slovenia is also touches on the unique Cvicek wine, which is a mix of red and white wine, a little like a Rose, but completely unique!
How about having a fab hike and then trying some Cvicek..
The Cvicek mini wine region is around Novo Mesto and the bottle green Krka river in the south east of Green Slovenia.. We have found a fantastic secret hike to do in the hills on the Croatian border with some castles to see..
AND then what about chilling out on top of a hill above Novo Mesto where Cvicek is produced and lots of families have their weekend cottage and mini vineyards!
How about trying some "Horse" wine..
Don't worry the horse bit here is just the name.. But there is an unpronounceable place called Slovenska Konjice, which we translate as "Horseville" and is a great stop off to go see the Rogla mountain and all the amazing activities up there.
Well also on the tip of the Maribor wine region there is a stunning vineyard here just outside Horseville with a little tower on a hill where you can have lunch sat on a terrace in the middle of the vineyard up on a hill!
The special wine produced here is Konj or "horse" wine and the main vineyard is one of those ultra modern ones, that will be great for a visit for some of you, but not our cup of tea, so we prefer to eat at the restaurant for sure and maybe visit the nearby 800 year old uberbeautiful fortress monastary of Zice instead in our Rogla day out!
How about visiting a huge Garden Park on an Island..
Again on the base of the northern Maribor wine region are the Mozirski Gardens on the banks of the Savinska river and we found a wonderful local restaurant here with a wine list from all around Green Slovenia.
This fab place is on the way to so many other secret places it would be a wonderful stop off to see the different Slovenian garden displays housed in this river park and have a nice meal in the restaurant there and an excellent choice of Slovenian wines, included the local varieties as well of course!
We heard it on the Grapevine.. so after getting over the pleasant surprise that Slovenia actually makes wine and then finding out there are lots of completely different wine regions here producing completely different and unique wines.. there is a final twist to think about,that in such a tiny country, 4 of the 7 wine regions near to the Lodge have almost zero snow during the year and the others in the East always have snow.. so even more varieties of grapes and vines that can live here in this very special little wine country!
How about going above Maribor and the North..
Another really great day out would be to drive to the north east of Slovenia, (still only 2 hours direct from the Lodge) to explore the stunning Medieval city of Ptuj in the morning.
Maybe visit the castle with great views over the old city, market and shops.. then try the Ptuj carnival museum next to castle..
If you have time then maybe you could then choose to stop off in Maribor for lunch by the river or probably a better tip to drive directly up towards the Austrian border to visit a winer partner from another completely different mini wine region with Austrian style wines..