Wineries and Wine Cellars and Rakia producers of Serbia

The history of wine-making in Serbia is more than 1000 years long, but also the earliest records on rakija-making in the Balkans comes from a Serbian source dating back to the 14th century. Ever since the Serbian state was established, wine has been a part of the Serbian culture and many of Serbia’s rulers, especially during the reign of the Nemanjic dynasty from the 11th till the end of the 14th century who have encouraged and promoted viticulture. The most important Serbian vineyards are situated in Negotinska krajina area /250 km east of Belgrade/, in the area of Vršac /100 km on the north-east of Belgrade/, on the slopes of Fruška Gora /80 km to the north-west of Belgrade/, in the Subotica area /200 km on the north from Belgrade/, and Šumadija wine region /100 km on the south-west from Belgrade/ and Župa wine region /230 km on the south-east from Belgrade/, and Orahovacko vinogorje area /Orahovac and Velika Hoca vineyards of Metohija/ in southwest of Kosovo and Metohija Province.

“The wine tourism in Serbia existed 120 years ago. Namely, the celebration of the First Grape exhibition in Smederevo, held in 1899 included the visit to the vineyards and the Winery of His Royal Highness Aleksandar I Obrenovic, King of Serbia, on the second day of the exhibition, but also included visit to the private producers of grapes and wine – on the third day. When the visit to the royal vineyards in concerned, as is found in the Tezak No 42 newspaper archive, guests visited vineyards and cellars, and at the end they took photos with their hosts in front of the Royal Court.” Mirjana Maksimovic

The oldest authentic grape sorts of Serbia are considered to be Prokupac and Tamjanika. Prokupac is the sort of red wines and was known even in early Middle Ages, while Tamjanika is a Muscat sort originated from Southern France, known in Serbia for more than 500 years. It is assumed that Prokupac grape variety originates from the town of Prokuplje in the Toplica region /Toplički rejon/. Locals from Prokuplje are proud for the fact that their home town and this grape variety have the common name after the Saint Procopius. However, the town of Prokuplje is first mentioned in archives from 1395 when vineyards of the town of Saint Procopius were granted to the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon in Mount Athos. Nowadays Prokupac grape sort is mostly grown in Central Serbia, but is also found in Kosovo and Metohija, and only randomly in Vojvodina and Macedonia, in small quantities in Bulgaria and only rarely in Russia. “Tamjanika, temjanika or tamnjanika are only few of the local names for the white grape variety which is considered the most promising in terms of creation of the strong local wine brand of Serbia. Everything is here, there is an easy to remember and  highlighted name, it is autochtonous, which does not mean it is endemic, so it is found in other regions as well, tempting and highly suitable to the wide circle of consumers due to the specific muscat flavor.”

Beside these sorts, today the vineyards of Serbia are mostly planted by Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine or ‘Italian’ Riesling, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Numerous small and medium privately-owned wineries of Serbia entered the market, often run as family businesses, and with very high regard for standards of quality and taste. Some near-forgotten traditions, such as Bermet of Sremski Karlovci, were revived. Harvest season in Serbia begins in July and ends in October.

Serbia offers visitors a chance to taste exceptional wines, walk along spacious vineyards and enjoy amazing wine tours in authentic wine cellars which offer visitors access to in-depth knowledge of wine-making, provided by the winemakers themselves. The Serbian wine industry is showing signs of significant growth, as evidenced by In Vino, an annual international wine festival that is held in Belgrade since 2004 on an annual basis. Also, since 2010, an annual international wine fair is held at the Belgrade Fair, named ‘Beo Wine Fair’.

However, rakija /rakia/ is one of the most recognized brands of Serbia, widely known and reputed….