News / 12/10/2019 / 566


As soon as glittering holiday editions of Coca Cola commercials kick off on tv channels, it is time to look back and assess progress achieved in the course of the past year. Year after year, Vinopedia has been compiling a list of the most important events in the Serbian wine world, thus creating a sort of Serbian wine yearbook. Thus, we're preserving from oblivion all important wine events and milestones.

Therefore, below will you find our selection of the most significant events in 2019. The order is not determined by importance of the events because they are all equally important for Serbian wine scene.

1. This year, the Serbian Winemakers & Vinegrowers' Association has been set up as an umbrella association made up of representatives of all 12 regional winemakers' associations established so far in Serbia in accordance with the regulations governing protection of geographical origin. Winemakers have realized that only joint action can make them competitive in the increasingly demanding global wine market. At the same time, for the first time, the state has decidedly stood by winemakers with a clear goal of turning wine production into one of Serbia's major industries. For this purpose, they're developing the new Strategy for Development of Serbian Wine Sector 2020-2030, which defines the development streamlines: incentives and subsidies for expansion of areas under vineyards in Serbia and procurement of winery equipment, systematic work on clonal selection and propagation of local grape varieties, investments in know-how and education of young oenologists and technologists, improvement of legislation, promotion of Serbian winemaking on local and international market.

2. Local winemakers keep experimenting and innovating, both in terms of exploring possibilities of autochthonous varieties and in terms of wine styles. This year, Serbian wine consumers have also learned what Pet-Nat is... Winemakers who apply principles of organic production and minimal interventions in wine production have embraced Pet-Nat with enthusiasm. Following the first experimental samples of Serbian Pet-Nat, we can expect further evolution of local Pet-Nat offer.

3. It is not uncommon for the world's leading wine competitions to have Serbian wine judges in their panels. This way, they also contibute to promotion of Serbian wines and wineries that send wines for judging and participate in international fairs and festivals. Decanter World Wine Awards competition deviated from this practice and so far, none of the local wine experts have attended the competition. Finally, the situation is slowly changing, so Decanter's organizing team realized a necessity to invite local judges from Serbia who are well aware of local wineries, regions, wine styles and varieties. This year, a judge at Decanter World Wine Awards for the first time was Igor Luković, editor-in-chief of Vino i Fino Magazine. We hope that the number of Serbian judges will further increase in the coming years, taking into account the number of wines sent to competitions by Serbian wineries.

4. This year, Villa Stanković in Čortanovci hosted for the first time Vojvodina Wine Show - a joint presentation of Vojvodina wineries. Learning from the example of Šumadija wineries, Vojvodina winemakers created a trade event offering a chance to explore the region and taste the best local wines. A tour of Fruška Gora and local wineries was also organized for a group of regional wine journalists. A good signal for the future, and Vojvodina Wine Show has found its place in the calendar of wine events in Serbia, beside Šumadija Wine Festival in Topola. Think globally, act locally!

5. New wind is blowing from  Vršac Hill. Is this an indication that South Banat wine region is finally awakening from lethargy? Small wineries such as Rnjak, Galot, Soul Wine have already managed to improve quality of their wine. This year, Drašković Winery and the new owner of Vršački Vinogradi (Vršac Vineyards) are finalizing ambitious plans in the segment of wine tourism development in Vršac. Investments in the winery and vineyards will finally become visible to consumers as wines under the label of Drašković Winery are ready for the market.

6. Prokupac continues its rise. It's increasingly planted in vineyards across Serbia, more and more new wineries are emerging with Prokupac in their portfolio. Aleksandrović winery from Šumadija, which so far insisted exclusively on international grape varieties, presented its first Prokupac wine (vintage 2017). Also, Kostić winery from Prokuplje stirred attention with its Prokupac. Not to forget the single-vineyard Prokupac made by Ivanović Winery from the legendary Varina hill in Župa.

7. Kovačević Winery from Irig (North Serbia) has launched a visionary project of complete transition to organic grape production. In addition to certification of all existing vineyards, new vineyards are planted with the idea of switching to principles of Rudolf Steiner's biodynamics in the years to come. Kovačević winery is grabbing attention of the media, but dozens of other wineries in Serbia have taken a similar path. Serbia will never be a country of cheap mass-produced wines like Moldova, North Macedonia or Spain. Therefore, the tendency of an increasing number of wineries to switch to organic production principles is a positive trend in order to position themselves in this segment of the wine market.

8. The vineyards in Serbia continue to expand. Aleksić Winery from Vranje (South Serbia), which until now predominantly purchased grapes from Serbia and North Macedonia for its wines, has started an ambitious project of planting its own vineyards on the territory of Vranje. In addition to 3 hectares of own vineyards in the vicinity of Niš, a new vineyard of 20 hectares is now planted in Vranje. In the years to come, their vineyards will continue to expand since the winery has leased an area of 70 hectares over the period of 30 years. 

9. Traditional wine event in Belgrade in the course of December - Belgrade Wine Salon continues its stagnation, so to say demise. Belgrade needs an annual wine event of that caliber, but unfortunately organizers of Belgrade Wine Salon have apparently lost energy and struggle to remain top rung on the ladder. The absence of leading Serbian wineries is noticeable, the program of workshops shows just a few shining moments, and all this is reflected in the number of visitors. A radical shift in organization is necessary otherwise some of the smaller (and younger) wine festivals in Belgrade will eventually take over that prestigious place that Belgrade Wine Salon has held for years in the calendar of wine events in Serbia.

10. This list of major events on the Serbian wine scene is subjective, so nobody will object to placing on it the new visual identity of website. The new design symbolically marked the beginning of a new decade for the "Serbian Online Wine Chronicle" as some winemakers call Vinopedia. Allons-y!





Tomislav Ivanović

Awarded wine writer, wine critic and contributor to selected wine magazines. WSET3-certified author and editor-in-chief of 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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