Svetozar Janevski, President of Wines of Macedonia describes the current situation of North Macedonia’s wine industry in one comprehensive sentence: “We are still considered primarily as a bulk wine producer, although the portion of our bottled wines is constantly increasing; we are exporting to 40 different countries and our premium wines are winning more than 100 medals every year in the most prestigious competitions around the world.” The only way to bring the reputation of northern Macedonian wines to the level they now deserve, says Janevski, is to consistently work on profile, brand and image for the small landlocked Balkan country. Our motto: „The untamed temper of the South“.
To attract foreign markets, the 12 Macedonian wineries participating at ProWein 2022 (Hall 11 B12) are primarily focusing on their autochthonous grape variety Vranec – the so called “Black Stallion”. Wild and full of character, Vranec wines are quite easy to recognise alongside others: deep purple colour, black berry fruit, notes of spices and dark chocolate, firm tannins and fresh acidity, often with a powerful 15 degrees of alcohol or more. No question: Vranec is the undisputed star in North Macedonia – but with Kratoshija, Temjanika, Stanushina, Smederevka & Co. many more autochthonous grape varieties are waiting to be discovered.
At ProWein 2022, Wines of Macedonia wants to showcase its rich winemakingheritage to traders, importers, HoReCa representatives and journalists. For this, four international experts have been specially selected for guided tastings: Caroline Gilby MW, Peter McCombie MW and the American wine journalist Darrel Josephwill give their masterclasses in English at the Wines of Macedonia stand (11 B12); the German expert for Eastern Europe, Thomas Brandl, will present award winning North Macedonian wines from the Mundus Vini Spring Tasting 2022 at a masterclass held in German at the Meininger’s stand (A20 in Hall 4).
The Republic of North Macedonia is a young country that only came into being in 1991 after the breakup of Yugoslavia, but it has a long wine-growing history. Archaeological finds show that there was already a flourishing European civilisation in what is now Macedonia between 7000 and 3500 BC. The Macedonians were ethnically, linguistically and culturally distinct from their neighbours and the tradition of winemaking in the ‘Pearl of the Balkans’ goes back well over 4,000 years.
However, North Macedonia is still one of the last undiscovered wine countries in Europe: a natural paradise with vineyards, 34 mountains higher than 2.000 meters, 53 lakes and many rivers, in which life still runs at a different rhythm, amid the grandeur of rich testimonies of the past and idyllic villages that have remained virtually unchanged. From the capital Skopje to Veles, Negotino, Kavadarci and Demir Kapija, as well as to Gevgelija on the border with Greece, there are vineyards and farms everywhere that tell the story of thousands of years of history inextricably linked to the land.
To shine the spotlight on the flagship grape Vranec, Wines of Macedonia (WOM) created a Balkan Wine Network in 2019 and organized the inaugural Vranec World Day on 5 October in Skopje. Due to the Covid pandemic, the second edition in 2020 had to be held in a video format, but in October 2021, 20 international journalists were shown around the leading wineries of the country as well as a trip to neighbouring Kosovo and Montenegro. All of them returned strongly impressed by the high-quality standard that the North Macedonian wineries in particular have achieved. The next Vranec World Day will take place in the first week of October 2022.
With this development, it is not surprising that the small country of North Macedonia now has one of the best ratios between submitted samples and medals in international wine competitions. At the jubilee 30th edition of the Mundus Vini 2022 Spring Tasting for example, Macedonian wineries won 26 medals. Gold Medals were awarded to the following producers: Chateau Kamnik for their Ten Barrels Syrah Reserva 2019, Chateau Sopot for both their Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserva 2015 and Iconic Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc 2015. Dalvina won 7 gold medals for Ar-Magedon Vranec Barrique 2016, Dioniz Vranec Barrique 2019, Dioniz Syrah Barrique 2019, Dioniz Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique 2019, Hermes Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Hermes Syrah 2019 and Hermec Vranec 2019 and for their line Touch Wine Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 - the latter was even awarded “Best of Show”. Domaine Lepovo returned home with gold for their Pinot Noir 2019, Stobi for their Aminta 2018 and Private Reserve Vranec Veritas 2016, Puklavec & Friends for their Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot 2019, Tikves for its Barovo Sauvignon Blanc 2021 and Barovo Red 2019 - and Venec for their Orle 2019. Most of these wines can be tasted during ProWein 2022.
The North Macedonian wine industry consists of big players like Tikveš, the number one producer in Southeastern Europe, as well as smaller companies and boutique wineries. They have all invested heavily in modern technology and advanced methods in vineyard management and often seek advice from foreign experts. Still, more than 90% of the grapes are harvested by hand. The fact that Puklavec Family Wines, a family business from Slovenia, built a completely new winery in the deep south of former Yugoslavia a few years ago shows the great potential they see in the vineyards there.
All twelve businesses that will be present on the Wines of Macedonia stand at ProWein 2020 have made major investments in the latest cellar and vineyard technology in recent years, and now produce wines of the highest international standard. Represented will be: Tikveš, Stobi, Bovin, Chateau Kamnik, Dalvina, Ezimit, Movino, GD Tikves, Imako, Popov, Venec and Puklavec Family Wine.
So, what are the prospects of this small Balkan country with its 2 million inhabitants and 25,700 square kilometers of land in terms of international recognition for its untamed temper?
Svetozar Janevski, President of Wines of Macedonia and co-owner of Tikveš, is convinced that North Macedonia has a bright future. Janevski considers the rise of Barolo over the past 35 years to be a role model for the Black Stallion, Vranec: “In the 1980s, the winemakers of Piedmont stood where we are now. And the whole world has followed their success story.” The central goal for the forthcoming year is to concentrate on developing Protected Designation of Origin wines from the different regions and to put the focus more on sustainable viticulture and wine production, says Janevski.
With 4 masterclasses on 2 days, Wines of Macedonia wants to give a deep insight into the country’s rich heritage. All masterclasses will be given by international experts including Caroline Gilby MW and Peter McCombie MW.
- May 15 13.00 11 B12 “Untamed temper of the South”, Caroline Gilby
- May 15 15.00 11 B12 “Vranec – the Black Stallion”, Darrel Joseph
- May 16 12.00 4 A20 “Awarded Mundus Vini wines”, Thomas Brandl
- May 16 15.00 11 B12 “Discover the regions finest reds”, Peter McCombie
More information: https://winesofmacedonia.mk/
Requests for meetings during ProWein 2022: firstname.lastname@example.org