Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia and independent since 2006, is a landlocked nation in the central Balkans and includes the autonomous province of vojvodina. Archaeological digs at Vinča near Belgrade found grape remains and amphorae dating back to Neolithic times, but it was probably during the roman era that grape growing became well established in this region. Sirmium, the present-day city of Sremski Mitrovica, was declared one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire in 294, and Emperor Probus is credited with ordering the first vines to be planted on the slopes of Fruška Gora. The Serbian state developed in the Middle Ages during the Nemanjić dynasty and the wine industry was encouraged by conversion to Christianity. It was during this period that the wine regions (more or less as they are today) were first identified. Ottoman rule brought destruction to much of the wine industry although some Serbians fled north to Srem and Banat taking vines with them. In 1699, the Karlovac Peace Agreement saw Srem and Banat join the Habsburg Empire, which encouraged wine production. As in the rest of the Balkan region, phylloxera was devastating and the early 20th century saw the development of growers’ co-operatives. Both world wars, collectivization when Serbia was part of yugoslavia, then the brutal wars of independence after the break-up of Yugoslavia, all seriously affected wine production, although the 21st century has seen considerable revival.