Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Slovenia, small country in Central Europe with a long winemaking history. celts and Illyrian tribes were making wine here before the romans. In the Middle Ages, wine production was undertaken by monks and monasteries. Slovenia was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire and since 1918 it was part of what was to become yugoslavia. After the Second World War, production was limited to co-operatives, where quantity not quality ruled. However, some excellent and long-lived whites were produced in those times, especially in the Podravje region, and some are still available from cellar archives. Commercially important private-sector wine businesses started to emerge in the 1970s. In 1967, the PSVVS (Business Association for Viticulture and Wine Production), recently renamed Vinska družba, was founded and introduced a seal of approval for Slovenian wines. In 1991, Slovenia established its independence and in 2004 joined the eu. It was the first of the ex-Yugoslav countries to build a successful wine industry with fully implemented and well-policed wine laws and a thriving private sector incorporating many excellent estates. Slovenia has a total of 21,200 ha/52,300 acres of vines. Around 29,000 winegrowers and 2,000 bottlers are registered, resulting in highly fragmented vine-growing and winemaking. Annual production has fallen to between 0.7 and 0.9 million hl (18.5–23.8 million gal), 70% of it white. At about 40 l/10.5 gal a year, Slovene per capita wine consumption is one of the highest in the world, although by 2013 exports had reached about 10% of wine production, mainly to bosnia and herzegovina, croatia, the united states, and the czech republic. Production is focused on quality pdo wines, with only about 30% pgi quality. tourism plays an important role in premium wine distribution.