Small boutique wineries and individuals producing wine and brandy are the new challenge for the tourism in Macedonia, especially taking in consideration the fact that people who want to travel prefer to be guests of people where the humane relationship and close contact with the host will allow them to experience and to feel the whole story in the right way.
This is one of the main reasons that motivate us to continue telling such unique stories of local heroes who do small things of great importance for the development of tourism in Macedonia.
Today we will tell you another wine story about Lazar Pletvarski. The man who over the years was part of the wine production in California, New Zealand and Bulgaria, and today he has his own Pletvarski Artisan Distillery in Kavadarci. According to him, the distillery is a renewal of the previous generation’s tradition of producing brandy.
This family business starts in 2017 with the main motive to produce something that is not on the market. He remembers the beginning when the classic brandy tastings with his close friends turned into a family business. All the comments that Lazar got from his close friends were the key moments that prompted him to open “Pletvarski Artisan Distillery” and to produce brandy in his own unique way.
Currently Lazar is not thinking about increasing the quantitative production of brandy, but is striving to improve the quality of brandy. His focus is on expanding the vineyards and growing a larger area of Riesling or R’kaciteli.
There is no resident in the Tikves region who does not own vineyards. This tradition is also part of the Pletvarski family. Lazar’s father grew a vineyard when he was young, and viticulture, winemaking, the barrels and the pots have been present in the family for four generations.
“When people who do not know me ask me, since when I have been in this business, I tell them that I have been in the business of winemaking and brandy making since I was a baby, for sure some of my uncles or grandfather secretly smeared my mouth with wine J … so that’s how I grew up into a winemaker,” says Lazar.
He started his education in Bulgaria, Plovdiv and got his master’s degree in Skopje. He continued to upgrade his education in various wineries and distilleries. He worked on three continents, and especially enjoyed the harvests in California, New Zealand and Bulgaria. This work experience allows him to participate in the preparation of millions of litters of wine and brandy, but still without leaving his mark.
Today, Lazar’s artisan distillery produces about 2,500 bottles a year, for which his friends tell him that that is a small production and that he should consider about expanding. However, when it comes to expansion Lazar says the basic rule in building a distillery is the fact that in the first ten years of existence of the distillery is that no revenue can be expected because the earnings go back into reinvestment. He says about his business that he is well placed to grow on his own, slowly and organically. The production of brandy is difficult, and can be done only by those who have passion, for which Lazar says that the biggest reward is the smile of a customer after the first sip of good brandy.