Grapes ripe for the picking at Ljubljana's Castle, Source: Ljubljanski grad

You can adopt a vine in Ljubljana’s only vineyard

You can adopt a vine in Ljubljana’s only vineyard

Winemaking season is upon us and at least in the case of the Slovenian capital, climate change has lent a hand

Slovenia is a wine-producing country with different viticultural regions spanning the litoral and eastern border areas of the country – but the capital Ljubljana is not one of them. Yet, in 2016, the city planted its first official vineyard located on the slopes of Castle Hill, Ljubljana’s major attraction.

Even though the act was part of the European Green Capital programme of the city, it was not a mere greenery move either. After all, the small vineyard is expected to fill up about 1000 bottles of red and white wine this month. The castle vineyard is rarely accessible to visitors (though sometimes it does open up), however, people can participate in its production and management by becoming sponsors of a vine.

To be exact, there are 1,050 vines of different varieties that ripen in early September. Each of them can produce a good kilogram of grapes that goes to making the rare Ljubljana wine.

"We have half of the vineyard with the white chardonnay variety, which we call belpin, and the other half with the red variety, zweigelt, a variety that originates from Austria and is a cross between the schentlovrenka and blue franconian," says Franci Čuš from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia.

Small-scale harvest

“Anyone who wants to have their own vine here can be a sponsor of one or more vines for a period of one year, three years or permanently. And we are happy with the response, so we already have more than half of the vines actually rented out, " explains Janja Rozman from Ljubljana Castle, as quoted by RTV SLO.

Truth be told, the sponsorship deal and cost are not explicitly mentioned on the castle website, where would-be sponsors are invited to submit an application, after which they will be given more details.

Nevertheless, having a vineyard in Ljubljana is something unusual and thrilling for residents, since the local climate isn’t really known to be conducive to that. Still, maybe this is one of those rare cases where people have also spotted a positive change out of climate change, as the latter has actually made it possible to grow vines there.

In addition, Ljubljana Castle has a grape-producing vine, which is a transplanted graft from the world’s most ancient living vine located in Maribor (also in Slovenia).

Wine from the grapes of that grapevine is produced with the participation of the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia and is used as a special city protocol gift. Among others, a bottle of this wine was presented to the English royal couple, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, on 22 October 2008.



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