The history of winemaking in Macedonia is written from the distant past. For centuries grapes were grown and wines were produced in this noble land. The centuries-old history of winemaking is firmly embedded in the national culture and tradition and is an integral part of local rituals and customs. Today, many wineries produce amazing and unique wines.
Macedonia has a long wine history. During the time of Philip II and Alexander the Great, members of the Macedonian royal dynasty were known as great wine lovers. This tradition continues during the Roman Empire when Macedonia is one of the most important wine regions in the empire. Also, the great importance of wine is retained during the entry of Christianity, when in almost all Orthodox Christian ceremonies performed in churches, wine is part of the tradition. An example of this is the wedding ceremony where wine along with bread and salt is given to the bride and groom. All these ceremonies are present today and in this way the tradition of the meaning of wine is continued. Historical facts also show that wine played an important role during the reign of Tsar Samoil, the Middle Ages and the end of Ottoman rule in Macedonia. Numerous archeological findings proved that the affinity for growing wine grapes and wine production is one of the most important in Macedonian history.
According to the climatic characteristics and classification by the EU, Macedonia is considered as III-Cb zone for vine cultivation and has adopted the oenological rules that apply to this zone. Macedonia is a wine region, which can be geographically divided into three regions:
1) Povardarie, ie in the Central region - covers about 83% of the total production,
2) Pelagonija-Polog wine region - covers 13% from the production and
3) Pchinj-Osogovo wine region - covers about 4% of the total production.
The three regions are divided into 16 sub-regions which are characterized by different production conditions and different production intensities. The largest production of wine grapes and wine takes place in the Tikvesh region. Tikvesh covers all areas suitable for cultivation of wine grapes in the municipalities of Kavadarci, Negotino, Demir Kapija and Rosoman as well as parts of the municipalities of Prilep and Veles. The climatic conditions in this region enable successful cultivation of different varieties of wine grapes during all stages of ripening of the grapes.
The intense aromas of Macedonian wines are a result of the combined influence of the Mediterranean and continental climate, with warm summer days and cooler nights. The prolonged ripening process of the grapes gives rich colors and complex aromas in Macedonian wines.
Today, Macedonia has 24,000 ha of vineyards from which significant quantities of wine are produced. The two most important indigenous grape varieties grown in Macedonia are Vranec (red) and Smederevka (white). In addition to these two most popular varieties, international varieties of wine grapes are grown, such as: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir from the red and Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc from the white. In addition to these, other varieties of wine grapes are grown in Macedonia, such as Muscat Ottonel, Semilion, Rkaciteli and Kadarka. Finally, we have a group of exotic domestic and regional varieties such as Temjanika, Zilavka, Prokupec and our beloved Stanushina.
Wine production in Macedonia takes place in 80 officially registered wineries with a total capacity of 2,222,647 hl. The wineries process about 65% of the total wine grapes produced, while about 35% are processed directly by the growers for their own consumption such as wine and brandy. All wineries in Macedonia today are privately owned. The new owners are investing in the modernization of the equipment, the reconstruction of the wineries and the development of human resources, because the Macedonian wine industry is moving from bulk production to bottled wine production. At the same time, these investments improve the quality of the wine. The transition to modern labels and packaging, accompanied by well-thought-out promotional campaigns, is also noticeable. With the global change in consumer tastes, Macedonia is trying to keep up with the most sought after wine flavors and to adapt its grape varieties accordingly. The most important market for the sale of Macedonian wine is certainly the European Union. The largest markets are Germany, Serbia and Croatia. The export strategy continues to target neighboring and EU markets.
During socialism, out of 13 large wineries, only two were partially oriented towards the production of bottled wine. So, most of the produced wine in bulk, with little effort to make a brand of Macedonian wine. This situation, unfortunately, follows the Macedonian wine today. Although there are significant investments in the wine industry in Macedonia, it is still not recognized by wine consumers around the world as a country of wine. It is true that if you look at some of the existing guides, books, encyclopedias or wine magazines it will be difficult to find some accurate information about Macedonian wine, except in those published in the former Yugoslavia. As the Macedonian wine industry shifts from the production of bulk wine to the production of bottled wine the new owners of the former state wineries invest in the improvement of equipment, reconstruction of the cellars and invest in human resources. Investors in the new wineries are doing the same from the very beginning of the investment, with a clear vision for the production of bottled wine. All wineries invest in all aspects of the marketing mix and together with the Government of the Republic of Macedonia try to promote Macedonian wine. The following is the link where you can watch the video for Macedonian wines.
Based on the fact that we have ideal climatic and soil conditions, vineyards in excellent condition that produce quality grapes and at the same time we have investments and private initiative, we believe that Macedonian wine will become recognizable and demanded by wine consumers around the world. Most of us, the investors in the wine industry in Macedonia, dream of the day when the Macedonian Vranec will be recognized as "Big Red". We invite you to try Macedonian wine and make a wine tour throughout Macedonia. We are sure you will be delighted.