written by Denise Rejec
So you’ve decided to take a tour of Slovenia’s best wineries. How could we blame you? Slovenia is quickly gaining more prominence on the world wine map with many of its wineries becoming ever more renowned. It may not be a large exporter of its wines as the Slovenes prefer to keep them to themselves. However, it’s attracting numerous wine lovers from around the world to visit its wineries and try its excellent wines.
Which wineries should you visit? Pinpointing Slovenia’s best wineries is rather challenging as there are so many of them. But we’re making it easier for you by presenting our top 10 Slovenia wineries below, which we’ve organised according to their locations within Slovenia’s wine country and the three wine-growing regions. So here are best Slovenia wineries in primorska wine region.
Goriška Brda Wineries
Ferdinand winery is located in Kojsko—a small, wayside, hill-top village in the Goriška Brda wine region. Its winemakers seek to understand each habitat and microclimate that best fits a particular wine variety. Based on this, the winery chooses the optimal positions for the vines, determine their yielding potential, and the most appropriate harvest time. Ferdinand wines are both stylistically and technically sophisticated while having this uniqueness that comes from a love of nature and a passion for wine.
Movia is one of Slovenia’s top internationally renowned wine brands, with a large bulk of its production set aside for exportation. In fact, one fifth of the winery’s annual production is sold domestically, while the remaining is sold to world markets. According to Wine & Spirits Magazine, Movia is one of the top 100 wineries in the world.
Visiting this winery is quite an experience as it involves getting to know the whimsical and creative man behind the wines: Aleš Kristančič. This eccentric winemaker is considered to be the “superstar” of Slovenian winemakers. You’ve just got to meet this wine artist of world-wide fame, who’s considered as one of the 12 “most influential wine creators of the world”, according to the reputable wine critics and oenologists of the WineCreator publication.
Aleš Kristančič produces white and red wines from Rebula, Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Green Sauvignon—an old white-wine variety of the Goriška Brda region. His most particular wine is ‘Puro’, a sparkling wine that he emphasises must be disgorged upside-down and under water. This is a wine to write home about! In fact, the American wine critic James Suckling gave it a score of 94 points. Along with these, Suckling gave Movia’s Veliko Belo and Lunar wines a whopping 97 points. And their Green Sauvignon wine Exto Gredic 2017 has won the ‘Vino Slow’ award by the Slow Wine Guide 2019.
When you’re in Ljubljana, make sure to visit Movia’s charming wine bar that’s located in the City Hall building, bang in the city’s centre.
Vipava Valley Wineries
Ferjančič Winery is located in the village of Planina in the south of the Vipava Valley. It is one of the most renowned Vipava Valley wineries. The Ferjančič family has a long tradition of winemaking, going back to 1809, with its youngest generation being very much involved in the winemaking process now. They are the producers of the famous white blend Fino Belo, and their red cuvée, Fino Rdeče, which won an award for the Best Slovenian Red Wine at this year’s Slovenian Wine Festival (2019) in Ljubljana. This winery also got a gold medal, for the best merlot in Vipava valley, for its Merlot vintage 2015.
The Žorž family has been producing wine in the village of Slap in Vipava Valley since 1696. Even though they’ve followed traditional winemaking methods since they started, they always seek to give a modern touch to their wines. This is thanks to the youngest generation of the Žorž family of winemakers, that constantly looks out for new opportunities while using their fathers’ experience.
In 2015, Žorž winery became biological and now follows the latest trends in ecological wine production. They offer a large variety of red and white wines: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Barbera; and Pinot Gris, Sauvignon, Muscat Blanc, Malvasia, Riesling, and the local varieties Zelen and Pinela.
The Lisjak family have their vineyards in the heart of the Karst, in the village of Dutovlje. They grow two white and four red grape varieties. Among the red ones, Refosco prevails, which they use to make their Izbrani Teran PTP (Selection Teran CGO). Lisjak’s other red wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Their white varieties comprise the indigenous Vitovska Grganja and Chardonnay.
We suggest you definitely try their flagship wine ‘Sara’, a blend of Teran, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has won several awards, the most prestigious being that of Best Slovenian Red Wine at the Slovenian Wine Festival in 2014.
You cannot mistake their signature wine bottles, as they’re a work of art in themselves. Fancy a curvy bottle designed by the famous Slovene designer Oskar Kogoj? And here’s another fun fact: The Lisjak estate owns one of the oldest vineyards in the Karst. It turned 100 years old in 2015!
Slovenian Istria Wineries
Rodica is a family-owned ecological viticulture farm located in the heart of Slovenian Istria, in the village of Truške near Marezige. Their vineyards are spread over the southern slopes of the Istrian hills at an altitude of 250 to 350m, and their vines can enjoy an ideal location and climate. They cultivate the native varieties Refosco, Malvasia, and Yellow Muscat, as well as other varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Gris.
Gordia is an organically certified winery farm located in Kolomban near Ankaran on the Slovenian coast, where they also own a restaurant. Their focus is the production are orange wines and natural sparkling wines. They make their wines according to traditional methods, getting their berries to remain in contact with the wine must, and their wines to undergo spontaneous alcoholic and lactic fermentation. They don’t filter their wines. Nor do they add oenological agents, except for the required amount of sulfur at the required time.
bestBest Slovenia Winery in Podravska Wine Region
Dveri-Pax winery, located in the Štajerska district of Podravska, has continued to produce wines according to an 800-year tradition of Benedictine winemaking. One of their main principles is to incorporate the best innovations and contemporary trends in winemaking while concurrently maintaining a great respect for nature and tradition. Dveri-Pax also go over the usual production standards for Slovenia by producing 280,000 bottles a year. And, they export more than 50% of their wines, which is also very unusual for Slovenia. In terms of awards, Dveri-Pax wines have won quite a few respectable ones from Decanter and AWC Vienna. Here’s one of their star wines: the Furmint (Šipon) Straw Wine 2009, which won the International Trophy award at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London in 2011.
Their vines grow in ideal locations near Maribor, Radgone, Kapela, and Jeruzalem. So they’re able to produce an array of varieties. The whites are Yellow Muscat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Welschriesling (Laški Rizling), Furmint, Traminer, and Pinot Gris. And the reds are Pinot Noir, Zweigelt (Rotburger), Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch (Modra Frankinja).
Best Slovenia Wineries in Posavska Wine Region
Frelih winery and vineyards benefit from a sunny location, good soil, and a pleasant climate in Dolenjska (one of the four districts in the Posavska wine region). These positive conditions all contribute to growing traditional vines, and producing grapes and wines of the best quality. Frelih’s wine production consists mainly of Cviček, which is the most typical wine in the Dolenjska region, as well as barrel-aged sparkling wines that are made using the traditional method.
And here’s a juicy fact about their Cviček: Their 2016 vintage won 83 out of 85 points at the Decanter Wine Awards in London in 2017. It was the first Cviček to be sent to a large international wine competition.
Šuklje winery forms part of a tourist farm in Bela Krajina (another of Posavska’s wine districts). Apart from wines, they also offers guests a range of homegrown and homemade produce, including cured meats. Their vineyards mainly consist of red grape varieties (70%), with Blaufränkisch representing 90% of their red wine production. When it comes to white varieties they offer Sauvignon blanc, Welschriesling, Riesling and Kerner.
You should definitely make it a point to meet the daughter, Katja Šuklje, who holds a PHD in viticulture. She’s full of wine knowledge of course, and is also responsible for the cellaring processes at Šuklje winery together with her French husband Guillaume Antalick. And, when you’re in Ljubljana, look out for their Wine Bar Šuklje, which is located in an old bourgeois villa on the river bank of the Ljubljanica.
Slovenia: Country of Fantastic Wines
Apart from the above 10 wineries that we listed above, we can’t not mention the many other famous wineries that Slovenia boasts: Simčič Marjan, Edi Simčič, Kabaj, Jakončič, Kristančič, Puklavec, and Ščurek.
Now that we’ve enlightened you with all the important facts about Slovenia’s 10 best wineries and vineyards, we hope that you’ll enjoy visiting them and tasting their delicious wines. There are a number of day trips from Ljubljana to these wineries where you’ll have the opportunity to meet the winemakers who will show you around their cellars and vineyards. You won’t go hungry either as these wine tours also include lunch at a top Gostilna. And the wines that you’ll be drinking at the wine tastings throughout the day are always accompanied by local Slovenian foods.
We also recommend tasting the wines made by the above wineries at one or more of Ljubljana’s wine bars, or join a wine tasting in Ljubljana or Bled. All that said, we now wish you a wonderful wine time in Slovenia!