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WINE
It is good to toast with good wine
 
Bela krajina is one of the most interesting Slovenian wine-growing districts. Its mild climate and diverse soil enable the production of top-quality wines labelled PTP (wines with recognized traditional denomination). You can taste many of them along the Bela krajina wine road that connects wine growers of Črnomelj, Metlika and Semič, tourist farms and other providers of typical local culinary and other products.
 
Metliška črnina, Belokranjec and Portugalka wine, ice wine and other late harvest wines. Metliška črnina PTP is a dry red wine of typical ruby-red colour, Belokranjec PTP is a dry white wine, and the Portugalka wine is an excellent young red wine, which ripens early – already in October. Wine tasting is usually not complete without a typical Bela krajina flatbread, pogača. Winemakers that receive the highest awards for their wines at wine assessments in Slovenia and abroad also offer tasting of excellent late harvest and special vintages wines. Every leap year these noble wines, known as predicate wines, are presented at the Festival of predicate wines in Metlika.
 
Numerous wine festivals take place in Bela krajina. In autumn visit this wine-growing district for Portugalka Wine Week (Teden portugalke) in Črnomelj, Marry Autumn in Bela krajina (Vesela jesen v Beli krajini) in Metlika and Autumn Celebration (Praznovanje jeseni) in Semič with St. Martin's hike around Semič. In November, when St. Martin turns must to wine, numerous celebrations take place around Bela krajina – St. Martin’s Day (martinovanje), baptisms of the new wine and other celebrations related with the wine patron. A special experience is the traditional walk along the paths of the wine cellar Soseska zidanica Drašiči.
 
By car, bicycle or on foot. Well-kept roads, many suitable for buses, lead to the vine-covered hills of Bela krajina. Some cycling and hiking trails also lead to various winemakers, tourist farms and other providers of Bela krajina specialities.
It's best to come, see and taste!



Vinska Klet Metlika Cesta XV. Brigade 2, tel. +386 (0)7 363 7000, info@kz-metlika.si, www.kz-metlika.si.
One of the images most strongly associated with Metlika, and indeed all of Bela Krajina, is the bottle of dry red Metliška Črnina wine and its label depicting a human pyramid with three gentlemen dressed in the traditional white lien costumes of the region. A ubiquitous sight in supermarkets across the country, the wine is produced by Vinska Klet Metlika, which is part of a larger farm cooperative called Kmetijska Zadruga Metlika. Working whit some 200 individual wine growers with vineyards in the sun-soaked hills of Bela Krajina, in addition to Metliška Črnina and a white called Belokranjec – both of which are protected and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture under the PTP label – the cooperative produces a wide variety of more than a dozen regular wines, as well as a selection of special vintages such as extra sweet ice and dry grape wines. While the red Metliška Črnina is produced from a combination of Blue Franconian (60%) and the autochthonous Žametna Črnina (30%) grape varieties, the majority of wines here are actually white. Tastings and tours of the facilities can be arranged in advance for groups of to 55 people.
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Vinska Klet Prus Krmačina 6, tel. +386 (0)41 690 112/+386 (0)7 30 59 098, info@vinapris.si, www.vinapris.si.
If you follow the road past Drašiči to the even smaller village of Krmačina just before the Croatian border, you’ll find one of the most decorated wine producers in all of Slovenia: Vinska Klet Prus. Of the numerous awards that the vineyard has won over the past decade and a half (including several Decanters), the passionate and excitable owner Jožef Prus is most proud of the all-around Best Slovene Winemaker award he has taken home for the three years (2009-2011) and counting. Awarded at the prestigious Gornja Radgona Wine Fair, the prize is given not for a single wine, but is based on the aggregate scores received by a producer’s entire selection. Although all of wine here is indeed of the highest quality, thanks to vineyards’ position at the top of some of Bela Krajina’s highest, sunniest hills, the specialty of the winery is undoubtedly sweet whites, namely Rumeni Muškat, as well as even sweeter late harvest and ice wines, which are frequently included by the State Protocol Services during formal events at Brdo pri Kranju. The wine cellar and production facilities were completely rebuilt in 2009, and can now accommodate tastings of up to 60 people or more.
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