Among the places where the humanity started producing wine, one should definitely count Macedonia. Evidences for that are to be found dating back to eight century b.C. Ancient Romans also prized the wines produced in Macedonia.
A sunny, pristine and mountainous country in the heart of the Balkans, the Republic of Macedonia, uses this experience and the gifts of God to produce some of the region’s finest wines.Macedonia is the birthplace of the Cyrillic Alphabet, created by Saints Cyril and Methody (863 A.D.), and the cradle of Slavonic literacy and literature. Macedonians are renowned for their hospitality and great pride in their country of rich culture and history, exquisite traditional food and excellent wine. The State symbol is a golden sun symbolizing the freedom of the country and its people.
In the days of former Yugoslavia, Macedonia accounted for two thirds of the total wine production in the country. Most of this wine was exported in Europe and in former Soviet Union. Country in mean time lost some of the former Soviet markets, but continues to be one of the biggest wine exporters in the European Union. Unfortunately, exports in EU are still mostly in balks, but every year the export in bottles increases, and now also better wines find place on the European market.
Just as an example for this is the fact that Macedonia is the third biggest wine exporter to Germany (again – in bulk, not in bottles). In last years also Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Albania import much of Macedonian grapes and wine in bulk, in order to add it to their wines and improve their quality. This, according the laws, is allowed up to certain percentage of the wine, so that these countries can declare their wines under their geographic origin.
Macedonians believe that great wines can only be made from great grapes. Republic of Macedonia’s varied terrain offers a choice of vineyard locations. The fruit in our reds comes from lower altitude vineyards with rich, heavy, clay–filled soils. In other vineyards, the cooler environment protects the freshness and harmony in the white grape varieties, planted on lighter soils and at higher altitudes. Owing to the extremely favourable climate conditions, Macedonian eco-friendly grapes are sprayed only up to a maximum of 4 times a year, which makes them, compared with the old European traditional wine producing countries – practically clean from chemistry, pure natural wines, you can not get a headache from.
Macedonia’s vintners bring together the natural advantages of the region with the best of modern winemaking technology to produce the pre–eminent indigenous variety Vranec (VRAN–ets) and other local and international varieties.
Their flavour and complexity are unique and recognisably Macedonian. The intense aromas are the result of the combined influence of the Mediterranean and continental climates, with warm summer days and cooler nights. The lengthy ripening process concentrates the sugar and acids in the grapes, ensuring rich colours and complex aromas in the wines.
In the years that followed country‘s independence in 1991, the wine industry has witnessed the emergence of successful privately owned wineries dedicated to the production of wines of excellent quality, flavour and consistency. In recent years, the improvement in quality has been enormous. Wineries have introduced stricter quality control, restricted the types of grapes grown to the best quality indigenous and international varieties, and built modern and efficient cellars. At the moment, by the end of 2008, there are 68 registered vineries in the country.
Macedonians want to say that their wines rank among the best value and most drinkable wines available anywhere. And it is not far from being absolutely true.When in Macedonia, you can join the Macedonian Wine Club, chaired by a Dutchman, that organises wine degustations and visits to vineries every month (www.mwc.org.mk).