Wine regions

Wine regions / 01/23/2019 / 737

BELGRADE

Belgrade is one of several European capitals with vineyards on its territory. Belgrade wine region extends to the southern hinterland of the Sava and Danube rivers, close to Belgrade, including the slopes of Avala and Kosmaj mountains and vineyards on the territory of the town of Smederevo. Belgrade wine region consists of 5 sub-regions: Avala-Kosmaj, Grocka, Smederevo, Dubona and Lazarevac.

Based on 2012 data, there are 1,130 hectares of vineyards in Belgrade wine region. Vineyards are generally found on moderately steep or gentle terrains at an altitude of 150 to 250 meters.

Soil: The predominant type of soil is cambisol, but fluvisol, loess, chernozem and other  types of soil are also present.

Moderating factors affecting the local climate are low mountains of Avala (506m) and Kosmaj (626m), as well as the Danube River, which affects early ripening of grapes due to increased diffuse radiation (the effect of two suns). Also, during the winter, the water surface mitigates sudden fluctuations in temperature, thus reducing the risk of frost.

Grape Producers: In this wine region, 4,421 households own vineyards. The largest area under vineyards is located in the municipality of Grocka.

Varieties: Smederevka, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Rhine Riesling, Italian Riesling, Muscat Hamburg, Prokupac, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Marselan, Regent

Interesting trivia:

- numerous historical sources state that until the First World War, parts of Belgrade were covered with vineyards, including the city center itself, ie. the southern slopes of Neimar neighbourhood.

- The first wine in the modern history of Serbian winemaking to win the regional trophy for Central and Eastern Europe at the Decanter competition comes from Belgrade wine region (Old Testament 2011 Janko Cellar)

- The protected monument of nature in Zemun suburbs is a vine over 120 years old in the courtyard of a house in Gospodska Street no. 4. The grapevine variety is Seibel 1000 (Rosette).

- Historically, area around the present-day city of Smederevo has always been known for its fine white wines. The grape variety Smederevka has been grown in the area since ancient times.

- The most significant microlocation in Belgrade wine region is Zlatno brdo (Golden Hill) near Smederevo. The name of the hill itself comes from the color that could be seen from afar in the autumn when the vast vineyards change the color of the leaf from green to golden yellow. The best Smederevka wine in Serbia was Smederevka from Zlatno Brdo.

- Malaga (Muscat Alexandria) was also cultivated in Smederevo. It is believed that this variety was introduced in Serbia and was cultivated until the first half of the XX century. Most often it was blended with Smederevka to enhance wine's aromatic profile.

- Smederevo Winemakers' Cooperative was founded in 1909. Then, on October 1st, 1930, Just Ušaj (1890-1975) was appointed as the head of the Smederevo Winemakers’ Cooperative. He was born in the village of Plače in Ajdovščina (Slovenia) and he was an oenologist, trained at the School of Viticulture in Austria (Klosterneuburg). Prior to his relocation to Smederevo, he used to work as an oenologist on the court of Montenegrin King Nikola I Petrović. Just Ušaj remained the general manager of Smederevo Winemakers’ Cooperative until his retirement in 1955. Ušaj significantly improved wine production in Smederevo, and it is also worth mentioning that he created classification system for Smederevo wines produced in the cooperative. Wine portfolio of the cooperative consisted of the following wines: Smederevka, “Golden Hill” (premium Smederevka from the vineyards on the plot called Golden Hill), Muscat of Hamburg, red blend labelled “Thunder”, Tamjanika, Vermouth

- Radmilovac, nursery vineyards and the ampelographic collection of the Faculty of Agriculture in Belgrade, is also located in Belgrade wine region. Scientific research and clonal selection of grape varieties are conducted there in addition to students' practical training.

 

 




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Tomislav Ivanović

Awarded wine writer, wine critic and contributor to selected wine magazines. WSET3-certified author and editor-in-chief of www.vinopedia.rs. Member of Vojvodina Sommelier Association. Juror in national and international wine competitions. Lecturing about wines of Serbia and the Balkans. Local partner of Wine Mosaic organization. Co-founder of International Prokupac Day.

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