The massive commercialization of the traditional wine-producing regions of Europe: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany has reduced the most desirable individuality of small wine producers within these countries to total extinction.
Only very few gigantic wine conglomerates are sharing between themselves the world wine market today. Sporadically some ‘garage wines’ or boutique producers can still be found, but their survival is far from being guaranteed into the future.
In contrast thereto, Slovenian winemaking has preserved its traditional integrity of the past eras. The inherent characteristics of the Slovenia wine production, the geographic position of the region, the historical and traditional factors and the national heritage, as well as many other components, have contributed in large measure to the salvation of the Slovenian wine production from the disastrous ‘globalization’ of the European wine industry.
The entire wine production in Slovenia is quintessential as it was for millennia all over Europe… a family industry passed with unique love from one generation to another. Wine in Slovenia is not a ‘drink’, alcoholic beverage or commercial money making product, but a true ‘member of the family growing the vine’. It is born in the family, it is new, it grows to maturity; it ages and lives a long and happy life on the table of the family in which it was born.
I never thought of the wines in this way until late October 2018, when visiting Slovenia and our friend and partner, Matjaz, invited us to dinner in this family and gave us the presentation the story of Cvicek…the special wine produced by him and the Vineyard Cottage Consortium in the Dolenjska region. It was fascinating and a true eye-opening revelation.
You must think of the Slovenian family-wine as completely different from all other wines you’ve ever tried before. Personally, I am sure I won’t think in this way about any commercial wine of the supermarket from Italy, France or Spain or any other mass production regions.
The vineyards in Slovenia are small and very private, a few thousand bottles production, maybe sometimes more, but still not industrial, just enough for the enjoyment by family and friends. And, this is the basic idea of the Slovenian wine.
Talking about the manufacturing process, the aging and storing of the wine, one must understand the Slovenian heritage, because this is in truth… a heritage wine, made as it has been for many centuries with no high tech mechanization or high-performance additives or cheap mixings of dubious components. The Slovenian tradition and heritage translate into the unique quality, taste, aroma and all other attributes of a boutique wine of unsuppressed personality.
The Slovenian heritage wine is made for one’s own family use, not for commercial profit… it is much more than the boutique wine or the French garage wine which is still highly praised today. This dedication combined with the unaltered wine making tradition explains the secret of this heritage wine.
Few, if any, wine connoisseurs and even the true experts know today a unique fact about Slovenian wine… and this is related to the plant, the vine itself. Slovenia is the only region in Europe where the old stalk… the vine… producing today, is actually closely related to the historical vine of the Roman and Greek ancient times. The wine of Slovenia is historically the closest one can drink to the original Mediterranean wines of the past millennia. Is this reason enough to drink it and absorb the thousands of years tradition coming with it?
How did the Slovenian wine stalk survive the abuse and ravage of time, maybe due its geographic and climatic specifics of the Julia-Alpina ecological system? Protected by the Julian Alps – the ‘sunny side of the Alps’ and kept warm in winter by the Mediterranean mild climate, the hills and deep valleys of Slovenia offered probably the singularly ideal protection for the ancient vine, allowing it to survive there where anywhere else it went extinct.
The plant survived in this region also the manmade calamities better than anywhere else in Europe and the abusive commercialization of the past century, with total annihilation of the small wine producers in the rest of Europe was somehow and luckily averted from Slovenia through a true miracle: the local heritage.
The typical Slovenian vineyard comes with its own cottage. Somewhat similar in construction and looks to their distant relatives… the hay cottages of Switzerland, one can see perched on all slopes of the Alps, when traveling the Swiss roads and highways, the Slovenian vineyard cottages are however something fascinating. With their own vaulted wine cellars, their rustic but absolutely comfortable interiors, many of them became over the last decades the ideal accommodation for the wine loving traveler.
Our fundamentally unique and surprisingly enchanting Signature Tour…
The Vineyard Cottages of Slovenia
is, in fact, the celebration of the vineyard cottages idea in international tourism.
If someone loves the mountains and in particular the Alps, but also the Mediterranean coast with its spectacular unmatched charm… and wants to sit evenings at a genuine wood fire while experiencing the unique charm of a pure historical accommodation, then the vineyard cottage is exactly the choice for such romantic leisure.
Somehow a hybrid between a small chalet and a dollhouse, the cottage provides all the modern amenities, smartly incorporated, not to disturb the historical authenticity of the cottage’s rustic charm, a modern traveler would like to have at his disposal.
The warm and indescribable cozy atmosphere of the cottage would be perfectly sufficient to envelop the traveler in a dreamy life experience, BUT the cottage reserves its magical and unexpected surprise for the last and possibly the strongest everlasting experience… the wine cellar. Now finally the traveler understands why the cottage is so special.
Stepping down under the cottage, one will find the vaulted and uniquely charming tasting cellar, harboring several barrels of the vineyard’s own wines. For a wine enthusiast, this is no doubt a pure paradise… spending the evenings with friends and family in their own vineyard wine cellar and living above it in the enchanted cottage, is a life experience without equal in any traveling catalog anywhere.
As a proud member of the Consortium Vineyard Cottages, we at MarAlpina, together with our friends and partners in Slovenia are delighted to offer for the first time on the American tourist market this spectacular tour… a must see – must experience – must taste and ever remembering voyage.
A novelty for the American tourist, this tour has fascinated thousands of European wine travelers for decades and the return rate of the travelers experiencing it has no equal in any other program.
Many more reasons moved us to create this tour of superlatives. But in particular, two ideas will at the end impact the wine enthusiast of our tour most. First, we would love to demonstrate to you, the well-traveled wine lover, that there are wines in Slovenia you never tasted or experienced before and furthermore to show you the difference between commercial wines, the boutique ones included, and the heritage Slovenian true wines. The second effect of the tour you will experience is the non-replicatable occasion to taste the wines not offered to any export, anywhere. The wines you will drink with the Slovenian traditional food, at the Slovenian table, produced by the Slovenian local family, you will not find in any store or at any price… and this wine and life experience will make you return to the cottage again in the years to come.
As the heritage Slovenian wine is unique, and your experience as well, so is our Signature Tour.
The vineyard cottages of Slovenia is fascinating in all aspects of your voyage from the moment you arrive until you return home, only to come back for the next vintage which could be even better every year than the year before.
Footnote: For the year 2020 the EU declared Slovenia the Food and Wine Country of the Year.
Reserve your Slovenian wine tour experience now… it is more than a trip… more than food and wine… it is a lifetime experience you will never forget.