The Podravska wine region situates in the northeast of Slovenia and is the largest and most productive winegrowing region in the country. Also known as the Drava Region (or Podravje), it borders Hungary and Croatia in the east and surrounds important towns as Ormoz and Maribor. With Continental weather of hot summers and cold winters combining carbonate clay soils, Podravska traditional cellars create singular wines. Especially in Maribor, the tradition of winemaking attracts people worldwide. This city has Europe’s largest cellars, with 2,5 kilometers of tunnels. The main varieties under vine here are Riesling, Šipon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
History and Tradition of Winemaking in Northeast Slovenia
The Podravska wine region comes from a strong winemaking history when the Celts first spread vines throughout Slovenia. However, the Romans are the ones who developed viticulture successfully here. Enology remains strong in the country, as Slovenia has several vineyards listed in the top 5% worldwide, creating reputed high-quality wines.
Top Grapes under Vine in Podravska
Today, the red grape Pinot Noir is the most common red variety under the vine here. However, 95% of grapes under the vine in the Podravska wine region are white grapes, especially Riesling, Šipon, Chardonnay, and yellow Muscat being well spread. Most of the wine made in the Padravska wine region remains in the local market.
Red Grape Varieties: Pinot Noir, Blaufränkisch, and Zweigelt
Soil and weather form an especial terroir to the wines of Podravska. Soft carbonate rocks are the base of the brown soils, fertile lands where vine grow rich. The diurnal temperature range with dry summer and cold winters features a perfect environment for high-quality vineyards yields.
Another characteristic that makes Podravska wines unique is the long exposure to sunshine during the growing season on most of the vineyards. The grapes achieve excellent ripeness here, but on the other hand, Pannonian hot winds can increase the berry drought.
Districts of Podravska Wine Region
The near ten thousand hectares under vine in the Podravska wine region split into two major districts, the largest Styrian Slovenia (8685 hectares) and smallest Prekmurje (965 hectares). Besides that, the areas of Maribon, Radgona-Kapela, Srednje Slovenska Gorice, Haloze, and Ljuotomer-Ormoz can also be designated as subregions.
Styria, also known as Štajerska, is a unique winegrowing region that borders the Prekmurje district. The uneven terrain of carbonate clay soils traditionally produced medium-dry wines. Throughout time, modern winemaking improved the profile of wines, standing for fresh and flavored beverages.
The smallest subregion of Prekmurje locates east of the river Mura. The carbonatic land fuses with sorts of volcanic material, where acidic dark soils traditionally produce excellent table wines.
Most of the vineyards in the Podravska wine region grow at 250 to 400 meters of altitude. Almost the totally of varieties under vine here are white grapes, which are responsible for prestigious wines in Slovenia.
Dry and Semi-dry Wines from a Diversity of Grapes
The wines of Podravska develop particular characteristics under its terroir. The hot and dry weather of the Pannonian climate conditionate wines to be dry and semi-dry. The region also produces premium semi-sweet and sweet wines in different categories, such as late harvest, ice wine, berry picking, and dry berry selection.
Germanic influence on the wines of northeast of Slovenia
Most varieties under vine here have a Germanic influence, which explains the usual appearance of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Rizvanec grapes. This region also produces excellent sparkling wines, made both by the Charmat method and the classical process of bottle fermentation.
Have you heard of the Black Velvet wine?
An outstanding wine that requires consideration is the Žametna črnina or Black Velvet. This domesticated grape is the oldest variety to be cultivated in Slovenia. This unique wine sustains a plain, bright red color and raspberry aroma.
Lately, excellent Sauvignon Blanc wines come from this region. This grape variety finds a perfect terroir to develop fine dry aromatic wines here.
In the largest wine regions of Podravska, the Frešer winery has an eco-friendly approach to winemaking. Their 15 hectares of vineyards grow without using chemical pesticides and herbicides, creating a tender and earnest wine experience.
When looking for incredible wine experiences in the Podravska wine region, the Vino Jarc winery will provide you an unforgettable moment. Here you will be delighted with the beautiful village of Svečina and incredible vineyards.
Hidden Gem – An interesting spot in the northeast part of Slovenia is the Haloze Hills. With Croatia board to the south and near the old town of Ptuj, extensive slopes grow vineyards south-facing in an unreal scenery. This place will amaze wine lovers with a unique landscape, also covered with pasture and trees. There are wine routes and wine stores to join in here, making the experience fantastic.
Top-3 Places to Visit in Podravska
Ptuj – The Oldest Town in the Country
When visiting the Podravska wine region, make sure to see Ptuj, the oldest town in Slovenia. Bound with charming vineyards around the Drava river, this city offers exciting experiences. Here you will find above the incredible landscape a castle with old and charming wine cellars. Besides that, during the carnival, the streets gain colors and Kurenti masks from a traditional character, recognized by UNESCO.
Maribor – Home of the Oldest Vine
This town is full of history and beauty. The second-largest city in the region, Maribor has different attractions that may amuse every type of tourist, since hiking, ski slopes, and mountain trails. The green hills of Alpine Slovenia are something to see. Above the town in the Piramida Hill lays a castle, built in the Medieval Era. Here wine lovers can also be amused by the oldest vine still producing in the world, a 400-years-old plant!
Bogojina Church of the Ascension – Peaceful Atmosphere at Pomurje
The Church of the Ascension by Jože Plečnik is the most famous shrine of Pomurje. Locally referred to as the white dove, the incredible white architecture holds a dove in the uppermost tower. Built during the 1920 decade, this is a masterpiece of the famous architect Plečnik. When visiting here, expect a peaceful atmosphere, surrounded by serenity and contemplation.
Into the Nature of Podravska
The nature of Slovenia is known for its ski mountains, parks, and lakes. A range of activities can amuse the tourists of Podravska, from hiking and biking trails on the Alpine slopes to peaceful walkings in the parks.
Goričko Regional Park – Explore the Local Fauna and Flora
The Goričko Regional Park is an extensive area of 462 km² in between the Austrian and Hungarian borders. The gigantic natural field covers 11 municipalities and 91 villages. Visitors of this park will find preserved fauna and flora, with otters, deers, ancient vineyards, orchards, and cultivated fields.
Drava River -The Water Connections of the Podravska Wine Region
Another touristy spot that crosses Maribor town is the Drava River. Connecting the main cities of the region, the waters of Drava are fundamental to the vineyards of the Podravska wine region. Besides the agricultural use, several exciting activities are possible within the river, as a thrilling raft and boat rides, SUP, or even surfing. Unique natural features await the tourists for amazing experiences.
Veliki Šumik and Mali ŠumiK Waterfalls
The impressive landscape of the Natural Park Pohorje flows into beautiful waterfalls of Veliki Šumik and Mali ŠumiK. Unspoiled primeval forest gift tourists with incredible fauna and flora, dense beech, pine, and fir forest nestle cristal waters. There might be a challenging path between the two waterfalls, although the enchanting environment pays for it.
Explore the Gastronomy of Podravska
The diversity of Slovenia’s cuisine is it’s a portrait of the different climates, history, and neighboring cultures. Incredible experiences await the tourists of the Podraska wine region, in a mix of tasty dishes and excellent wines.
Prekmurska Gibanica – Delicious Dessert
Prekmurska gibanica is a traditional dessert in northeastern Slovenia, made of gibanica or layered pastry. The local cuisine of the region of Prekmurje is traditionally influenced by the Hungarian and Austrian. This flavored sweetmeat contains different sorts of fillings, such as walnuts, raisins, apples, and quark. Usually made with shortcrust pastry, this dessert is something to don’t forget to try!
Prekmurska Šunka – Cured Pork Meat from Slovenia
This aging meat of Slovenia is something unique. The pear-shaped meat use only the finest pork legs to create a premium product. To develop its distinct flavor, the transformation process of Prekmurska Šunka goes from a dry cure in salt and spices, a smoking period, and, finally, it is covered with buckwheat flour mixed with spices and peppers. Matured for at least six months, this tasty meat pairs well with excellent Podravska wines.
Bujta Repa – Hearty National Dish
Another flavored dish from Slovenia is the Bujta Repa, a porridge made with sour turnip or pork with pickled grated turnips. This hot meal is mostly made in Prekmurje, although it’s a national dish. The pork used here might be the head, skin, or even neck cuts. Generally, this dish is seasoned with a local fat or “bacon jam” called zaseka: a combination of different spices, pumpkin seed oil, and, of course, bacon. Uniqueness in flavors guarantees a tasty experience!
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Soil: Most of it is a development of carbonate rock and Pleistocene clay
Climate: The Continental weather usually has hot summers and cold winters, an average 1 000 mm/year of rainfall