Slovenia is a tiny country with long traditions in the wine production located in the North Balkans surrounded by Italy, Croatia and Austria. Even though a small country Slovenia has been growing wine grapes of numerous varieties for over 2000 years.
During all these years the country has experienced many influences from the neighbouring countries, and the modern wine industry is built on a big mix of international and indigenous grape varieties. The climate in Slovenia is very diverse from the east part of the country where it is continental with cold winters and hot summers and in the west is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. There are three major wine-growing areas which are further divided into nine sub-regions which boost more white wine than red. The best of them are Goriška Brda, Istra, Karst, Štajerska, Vipavska Dolina and Dolenjska.
The country has more than 50 international and indigenous planted grape varieties, but around 15 are most common like Ribolla Gialla, Žametovka, Refosco, Vitovska, Klarnica, Malvasia, Ranfol, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinela. Slovenia has a classification system formed by three categories of which the best is VV z ZGP (Vrhunsko Vino z Zaščitenim Geografskim Poreklom - top-quality wine with protected geographical origin), after that in the middle of the pyramid is ZGP (Zaščitenim Geografskim Poreklom - protected geographical origin) and at the bottom lies PGO (Priznano Geografsko Oznaka - recognized geographical name).
Slovenia might be a small country, but it offers big diversity in terms of wine styles and counting more on the quality instead of the quantity o fits wine production. The regions on the Adriatic coast like Goriška Brda, Istra and Karst are giving birth to some of the most interesting white wines in Europe, slightly influenced by the Italians they produce low intervention wines from the unique Vitovska grape and the Italian Malvasia and Ribolla Gialla. Not to be forgotten the red Teran wine made with Refosco grape, giving big and opulent wines worth of prolonged ageing.
On the east part of the country on the Austrian border, the Štajerska region offers the best expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling which are very much appreciated from wine enthusiasts all over the world, if the wines are not consumed within the country which is often the case. As well in Štajerska region is the oldest living vine in the world with over 400 years behind. Overall, Slovenia is one of the hidden gems in terms of wine and gives to the world outstanding white, red and sweet wines.