info@hedonicgroup.com
  • Wine Country Macedonia

    Before you choose the perfect wine for you, we will provide some facts and figures about winemaking in Macedonia.

Facts and figures

The Republic of Macedonia is in the C3 area of the oenological map – other regions include Mediterranean France, Corsica, Southern Italy and Spain.

The region is ideal for cultivation of the best quality RED grapes.

In Macedonia adding sugar is PROHIBITED. The alcohol content of our wines is completely natural due to the sun-soaked grapes.

Wine is the second largest agricultural export from Macedonia after tobacco and has an impact of 17-20% of the Agriculture GDP.

Macedonia has 24 000 ha of vineyards and on annual level Macedonian winemakers produce approx. 236 000 t of grapes equaling 220 m. litres, placing the country on the 25th place in the world. 

80% of the total wine production is exported (of which 20% bottled).

14th of February marks the day of St. Triphon or St. Trifun as the patron saint of the grape growes and protector of the wineyards.

Climate

In Macedonia there is a transitional climate from Mediterranean in continental. Summer is hot and dry, and winter moderately cold. Average annual rainfall amounts 1,700 mm in the Western mountain parts up to 500 mm in the Eastern parts. In the country exist three climate zones: moderate Mediterranean, mountain and soft continental. The Tikves region located along the valleys of the river of Vardar and the city of Strumica is home to most grapes, and represents the most driest territory on the Balkan peninsula. The warmest regions are Demir Kapija and Gevgelija where temperatures in July and August very often exceed the mark of 40 degrees Celsius. Soft wind in this region helps preventing development of cryptogenic infections.        

Macedonia has nearly 270 days of sun in the year. This assists the long process of maturing where sugars and acids are concentrated in the grape enabling full color and complex aromas in the wines. The intensive aroma of Macedonian wines is a result of the combined impact of the Mediterranean and continental climate with hot days and cooler nights, as well as a terroir rich with carbonates and minerals.

Sunshine

The country already has a lot to offer. As we all know, hot sunshine, of which the country boasts in abundance, produces full-bodied, fruit forward red wines. It is this big, bold style that has put the dark skinned Vranec in peoples minds as a wine of quality. Yet there is more to country wine making than this. The influences of the varied microclimates, soils and winemaking philosophies mean that the country is a rich haven of crisp, fresh whites, lusciously sweet hedonism, playful rose and even a small amount of sparkling wine.

This small territory is fascinating for both Macedonian consumers and a rapidly growing international audience. Those already familiar with grape varieties such as Vranec, Temjanika or Stanushina are going to witness a rise in quality unlike anything seen so far in the Republic of Macedonia.

On a more positive note, there is a new generation of well-travelled wine lovers with a deeper understanding of the worlds wines. With an appetite for the new, they are becoming more aware of where the Republic of Macedonia ranks internationally. This has fueled a passion and interest in exploring and taking the subject forward at home, which has resulted in a developing but prominent wine scene.

The Vardar River flows through the center of the country and it is in these lush, fertile valley landscapes that the majority of the countrys vineyards can be found. It is because of the microclimates that emerge from the undulating peaks of troughs of this valley that justify a wider audience. It will be serving this growing audience in the years to come that will shape the Republic of Macedonias ongoing wine challenge.

Labeling

Now as the Ministry of Agriculture attempts to bring appellation and labeling law closer to EU standards, 16 distinct wine districts are the best way to reference wine production. In other words, the labeling of the wines is done in the following three tiers:
• Regional Wine or Table Wine with Geographical Designation WGO. Wine with Geographical Origin (WGO)- nowadays, the whole of the territory of the country, and the wine plantations within, is marked as for protection of the geographical wine region- Republic of Macedonia.

• Wine with Controlled Origin WCO or DOC. Wine with Con- trolled Origin (WCO) – the geographical area of origin of the quality of wine is called a wine district.

• Wine with Controlled and Guaranteed Origin WCGO or DOCG (Вино co контролирано и гарантирано потекпо ВКПГ). Wine with Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (WCGO) – one of the geo- graphical areas of origin of the high-quality wines are the localities situated in the wine districts.

Text in italic is quoted from the book „Guide to the Wines of the Republic of Macedonia“, second edition, by Ivana Simjanovska and Paul Caputo. Skopje, March 2015.

We thank the authors for allowing us to use their texts on this website!

History of Macedonian wines

By the IV century B.C. advances in viticulture were starting to take place. Soil studies led to an understanding of which grape varieties prospered in different areas and climates. At the ruins of Stobi in Gradsko terracotta figurines of Dionysus dating back to the I century B.C. were unearthed along with many other tools and vessels designed for the cultivation and consumption of wine.

The Macedonian wine story begins in the XIII century B.C. Old Macedonians made wine of grapes they grew and mixed with honey because sugars helped its preservation. The wine was stored in amphoras on the top of which was put olive oil in order to stop breathing. Then they buried the amphoras in soil and in this way it remained cold and matured adequately.

The wine was fundamental to the fabric of ancient societies and used in various ways. One such way was as currency and history are littered with anecdotes of wine used to barter for other commodities. An amphora of wine could be used to buy slaves or pay taxes. It is little wonder then that art and literature of the time depict endless libations to the god of wine, Dionysus, and ancient Macedonian wine celebrations.

Under Roman occupation grape, cultivation and winemaking flourished. New roads and infrastructure improved trade links in the region and wine became a valuable commodity. The Romans were responsible for spreading the grapevine throughout Europe, as they believed that wine and its consumption provided a source of wealth and happiness. During this period, Macedonia was one of the most important regions for growing grapes in the Empire.

In the Byzantine period (until the VII century) growing grapes continued.As Christianity expanded, the presence of wine also grew. The wine was part of many Orthodox church ceremonies, because it was believed that it represents the blood of Christ.

During the Turkish Empire (XIV – XX century) viticulture and wine production in Macedonia stagnated as it was prohibited pursuant to the Islamic laws. Thanks to the Christian churches, wine production continued.

At the beginning of the 20th century, between 1908 and 1914, 30,000 hectares of vineyards in the Republic of Macedonia were completely destroyed by the Phylloxera. This period marked a decrease in viticulture in the country and with the turbulence of war, a major part of grapevine areas had disappeared by 1920. However, despite the difficult political and economic circumstances, viticulturists from the region gathered and put in efforts to renovate the grape vine by grafting home grape vine on American vines that were resistant to phylloxera.

In 1928 the king Aleksandar Karagorgevik decided to grow vine and build a winery in Demir Kapija (Turkish for steel gate). The winery got the name Vila Marija after his wife Marija. The land was bought with the money she received as dowry from her parents.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Republic of Macedonia was responsible for two-thirds of the total wine production in Yugoslavia. The 13 wineries that were established in the country were responsible mainly for the production of bulk wine.
The renewal of the viticulture and the increase of the vine land reaches its maximum in 1981 when 38 759 ha were registered.

After the separation of the Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia in 1990 starts the process of privatisation of old wineries. But, except the change of ownership, most things remained the same. All wineries continued to produce bulk wine in big quantities, with low quality and low prices.

But, the potential was much bigger.

Wine’s quality depends of the quality of the grapes, the quality of the equipment and the knowledge of the winemaker. Equipment can be bought, know-how can be gained, but wine quality depends of the climate conditions and the terroir. These conditions are met in Macedonia, and that is why the produced wine has a high quality.