5 days 4 nights
Down there, to the southeast of the Old Lady of Europe, on the hilly Balkans, is the entrance to Macedonia, the wine country where the sun shines forever… Thanks to the bright sun, Macedonian wines are on the top of the world map of (un)discovered treasures, which conceal a centuries-old tradition filled with memorable authentic tastes and experiences.
As a wine country, Macedonia has a rich wine history – very old and very young at the same time. The Macedonian wine has a long tradition in neighbouring countries. In the 1980s, two-thirds of Yugoslavia’s total wine production was generated in Macedonia. Today, about 40 wineries are fully privatized. In Macedonia, wine is produced in many varieties of excellent winemakers. Macedonia produces excellent high quality wines, dry or sweet, rosé and red to white, sparkling wines, well-known kinds such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon etc. Excellent local grapes – for example, the kind of Vranec – grown and made into excellent wine. When experts are invited to describe the style of Macedonian wines, the most common answer is “fruity style”. Macedonian wines are welcoming, pleasant and delicate, with a lingering flavor that lingers long. Macedonian wines are a tasty evidence of the old tradition of Macedonian wine cellars. The special climate of Macedonia with its many sunny days guarantees excellent harvest conditions and allows year after year, the grapes ripen and be healthy for the harvest and production of Macedonian wines.
The starting point - Skopje, the capital of Macedonia where half of the nation is living due to the wide opportunities. One of it`s treasures is the old town which keeps so many stories and still exists in a specific way. Multicultural & multi-religious moments can be noticed along the city walk. One wonder gem is the modest from outside but having the peace of art, the church St. Spas- St. Savior or Ascension with the incredible iconostasis high six meters and long ten meters, entirely made with deep carving. Strolling through the Old Bazaar you can see and feel the smell of the tasty Turkish baklava and the smells of a fresh made Turkish coffee and tea that will make you want to grab a bite and a moment to enjoy. Continue to walk until you get to the very famous Bridge – the Stone Bridge which has acquired this status of symbol not only for its historical value, but also because it connects two very different parts of the city – the old and the new part of Skopje. Walking through the new part of Skopje, you can see modern cafes and restaurants different from the ones in the old part of Skopje. A unique opportunity to listen the incredible story about the Macedonian ruby, told by our local hero Deko.
After exploring the city of Skopje, it is time to have a rest in one of the best hotels and get ready to continue the tour the next day.
You ate your breakfast and drank your coffee that means you are ready to begin searching for the mystery of Macedonian wines. First on the schedule today before the start of the wine degustation is the visit of the Roman city of Stobi. Located along Axia Road, Stobi was one of the largest Roman cities in the region. You can have virtual gladiator fight thanks to the VR technology this archaeological park has to offer. Nearby is the Stobi Winery, located in the most famous wine region- Tikvesh. About 12,000 hectares are planted in the Tikvesh wine region, which represents approximately one-third of the total vineyards area in Macedonia. A tour around of the winery will help learn more about the process of making the wine. Then comes the best part, the wine degustation and the lunch, you will try different types of wine accompanied with delicious specialties served like in a 2 star Micheline Restaurant. Lazar Winery is another hidden oasis in the beautiful nature next to the river Crna, the delicious food, the beautiful wine and the extremely kind hosts are a perfect combination for wine tourism and for the day to be even greater. The next town to visit so the picture of the good wine is completed is Demir Kapija. Small town where you can learn more about the soul and the aromas of the Macedonian wine and having the chance to connect with the untouched nature. Accommodated in one of the best hotels that have its own winery, you will have a wine degustation and an organized tour around the winery. Before the day is over spend a cosy evening sitting in front of the fireplace and drinking wine.
You finished your morning meal and your coffee, great then let’s go and learn more. For today’s tour first to visit are the vineyards of Domaine Lepovo, located on the place called Lepovo near the small town Negotino. Out of the four different wineries under “Tikveš Chateaux & Domaines”, this domain has the most limited quantities of wine (not more than 30.000 litters per year). The closeness to Vardar River and the gentle breeze along its flow, together with the higher daily temperatures, contribute to high sugar concentration that makes for the wines’ full bodies and proneness to bottle ageing. Here you will have a wine education and the chance to walk through the vineyards and enjoy the perfect nature. The other winery under “Tikveš Chateaux & Domaines” is Domaine Barovo, which is considered to be the highest fruit garden in the Balkans. The high diurnal temperature range, coupled with the volcanic soil, provide for an exceptional quality of the grapes. From here you will visit the largest and oldest Balkan winery – Tikves. The beginnings of the "Tikvesh Winery" can be found in the late 19th century, when more prestigious Tikvesh families began to create wine cellars that produced quality bottled wines whose labels clearly indicated the geographical origin of the wine. The period coincides with the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Pane Velkov, a merchant, aristocrat, and landowner, opened a wine cellar on 1.200 square meters. The first mention of "Tikvesh" in a written document relates to this period, more precisely to 1885, which is considered to be the year when organized wine production and sales in Macedonia were first started. After the tour of the winery, it’s time for lunch, so you will enjoy a delicious meal and taste different types of great wine. While in Kavadarci, you will have the chance to visit the private wood carving workshop of our local hero Marjan who will show you his work and you can learn more about the technique of carving sculpture and especially wood. At his home he and his wife will welcome you with homemade rakija and wine and other specialities made of grape. Beautiful and incredible masterpieces. Another Macedonian story for you to better know the local and traditional customs, the Macedonian spirit and the heroes of today that enrich our country with their added value.
Way back to Demir Kapija and enjoy another cosy night.
After you have enjoyed your delicious breakfast and drank your morning coffee you will continue to explore more about the Macedonian wine. Visit of the small town of Demir Kapija and the Wine Museum. The museum is comprised of three departments: archeology, wine gallery and an historical gallery for exhibitions and presentations. Artifacts in the museum reflect the history of Demir Kapija to the present. From here you will visit another winery with a wonderful story – Royal Winery Queen Maria. A tour to see the Winery and listen to the story. A vision old almost a century, Royal Winery Queen Maria is a realized dream that began with a Royal family. King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic decided to build his royal property there. His ambition was to create a wine and a place with extraordinary quality exclusively for the needs of the Royal Family. The king named the property ‘Queen Maria’ after his wife, Maria Karadjordjevic. It’s time to relax and visit the small village in Demir Kapija - Chiflik, visit a local family house and enjoy a lunch prepared by the local family. You have the chance to enjoy the typical Macedonian hospitality, enjoy the meals prepared by the locals and taste the homemade brandy - rakija original. Continue the tour and visit the small town of Negotino. Negotino is in a vineyard region and the gates of the Tikves basin, known for its fertility, are located nearby. Along with Kavadarci, Negotino is known as the home of Macedonia's best wine and rakija. Visit the Monastery St. George. From here you will visit the first private winery in Macedonia, the Bovin Winery. The company was established in 1998, the year when 120.000 bottles of high quality white and red wines were produced. Here you will enjoy an early dinner and a wine degustation. Road back to Demir Kapija. Enjoy another night in the beautiful hotel Popova Kula.
Before this tour is over you will enjoy another delicious breakfast and another fresh made coffee that will remain in your memory and will remind you about the incredible tour you had in Macedonia – the country of the good food and wine.