Maribor Wine Walk Experience
I contacted Jernej through Slovenian Wine page. He was ready to send me a great book titled Amber revolution which I used for my blog post about Orange wines. We kept in touch and one day in October I sent him a message asking if he can show me his Maribor, the center of Slovenia’s Styrian region, through a wine walk.
His company Big Guys Wine Tour was established only a year ago but since then Jernej hosted wine connoisseurs and wine lovers from all around the world. His wine love story began while he was working at Hiša Stare Trte as a local guide and tourist informator. He soon upgraded his knowledge and became sommelier 2nd grade and WSET London 3rd grade.
The biggest Maribor attraction is definitely more than 450 years old grape vine Zametna crnina, one of the oldest domesticated noble wine sorts in Slovenia protected as a natural monument of Slovenia. In 2004 Zametovka was recorded in the Guinness Book of records as the oldest living vine still producing fruit in the world.
The vine dresser is nurturing and taking care of the vine very carefully. The pruning and grape harvesting of the Old Vine are bringing many tourists to Maribor. There are 260 official descendants of the Old vine all around the world. On average the vine produces 35 to 60 kilos of grapes per year which means around 100 2,5 dcl gift bottles are filled and used for protocol purposes. »Have you ever tasted the wine from the world oldest vine?« I asked Jernej and he told me that the taste is specific and very metal like with lots of acidity. This wine has no structure and it is literally undrinkable. This year they harvested 105 grapes or 50 kilos which is an absolute record.
»You can see that the oldest wine has a will to live. Part of the vine facing the road is dying out, while the part facing the house, has a living juices that makes the vine alive. The old vine has a special micro climate here. It absorbs warmth during the day and keep it for the night. Then rain does not fall on the entire vine. Due to its folding position, the leaves can dry immediately and the illnesses can spread more slowly. Can you imagine that the vine has 350 meters long roots under Drava river and it was the only vine in Stajerska region that survived vine louse? Besides that, folding its leaf you can design a heart. This vine is incredible.« ends Jernej and invites me into Hiša Stare Trte.
Just after you enter the Old Vine House, you literally walk on the largest floor mosaic with 1,3 million tiny pieces of stones (gold as well!) in Slovenia that represents Drava river. While touring around the exhibition and learning about Slovenia as a viniferous country which has 5% best vineyard position in the world that enable to produce of excellent and high quality wines. “On such a small place diversity of wines in Slovenia is just incredible.” adds Jernej while he prepares wine glasses for wine tasting. Wine shop at the Old Vine House offers 190 different wines from 55 wine makers which means that here you find the biggest selection of wines from Stajerska wine region at one place. We started with Ranina and Ranfol, 2 typical and indigenous wine varieties from Stajerska wine region, and continued with Sipon and Diseci Traminec wine. The legend behind the name of Sipon (Si Bon) is quite funny. What is sure, Jernej has a truly passion about Slovenia wine and his wine knowledge shines on every step.
Even though we did not manage to visit the biggest city wine cellar in Central Europe, I was happy enough to stroll around Maribor with Jernej and listen to interesting stories and people who co-created Maribor town in the past.
We ended very informative Maribor Wine Walk at a family run wine bar where you can taste 74 different wines on a glass. »Slovenia is truly a raising star in the wine world due to its boutique production and diversity. Its wines can be found in all top world restaurants.« adds Vida, the owner of wine shop who offers us a glass of Laski Riesling and Renski Riesling to taste. Believe it or not, her bar has the largest wine list on a glass in Slovenia and it is becoming popular »insta« place for taking photos. This is not a typical bar (it does not have a bar countertop!) but it is a perfect combination of retro and modern design. The colors of the wall and interior furniture actually represents the wine colors. Friendly bartender Vida leaded us to the specious wine cellar from 11th century. In between the wine cellar and the bar, have a look to the atrium with stone sink. The bar is a wine gem of Maribor perfect for wine connoisseurs and wine lovers. We ended our beautiful afternoon with a glass of macerated wine. Wow, I need to say that this is a natural elixir and I could drink it all the time.
You might have visited many wineries and done lots of wine tasting but once you meet Jernej your wine knowledge will double if not triple. He manages to tailor wine walk according to your previous wine knowledge and wine desires.