On November 11 festivities were held throughout Europe, as well as in Slovenia in celebration of St. Martin’s Day, the date when grape juice officially turns into wine. For winemakers, St. Martin’s Day remains the birthday of wine.
Dusan Brejc, director of the Vinska Druzba Slovenije wine association, expects this year’s yield to be nearly 16 million gallons of wine. As a result of drought, the reds – late varieties in particular – will show even more potential than the vintage year 2009.
The St. Martin’s Day wine festival is celebrated throughout Slovenia, not only in the wine-growing regions. Various events feature wine tastings and the christening of young wines, as welI as the preparation of traditional food typically served for the occasion which includes roast goose or duck stuffed with chestnuts or apples, and served with crackers (mlinci) and red cabbage as a side dish.
One of the biggest St. Martin’s Day events is held annually in Maribor, the 2nd largest city in Slovenia, where the 29th Martinovanje (the Slovenian name for the festival), attracted several thousand visitors from around the country. In Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest city, the wine festival is associated with carnival, or Kurentovanje.
In the western Primorska region, the christening of the new wine in Šempeter on Nov. 11 was accompanied with the selection of the St. Martin’s couple and a celebration that continued well into the night. Koper, on the Adriatic coast, inaugurate the new “Godmother” — Malvasia, a white wine, and “Godfather” —Refošk, a red varietal.
Slovenian Tourist Association