Traditional festival Vinska vigred
Not only Bela krajina, but the entire Slovenia, looks forward every year to Vinska vigred (Wine Spring) in the first weekend after 15 May. During more than three decades, this festival of award-winning wines, delicacies of Bela krajina, and the promotion of ethnological curiosities and cultural achievements, has become firmly established among Slovenian tourist events, as it is visited every year by over 20 thousand guests.
Vinska vigred, which has evolved from wine assessments, every year starts with the event called Borza vin (Wine Exchange) organised by Društvo vinogradnikov Metlika (Association of Winegrowers of Metlika). Award-winning wines of Bela krajina are presented to caterers from all over Slovenia. A special place is given to predicates that win visible acknowledgements at international competitions.
On Friday, there is coronation of the Queen of Metliška črnina and the award of champion wines organised. Vinska vigred is each year attended also by representatives of the twinned municipalities of Ronchi, Wagna and Ozalj. On Friday, they open also a culinary exhibition prepared by Društvo kmečkih žena Metlika (Association of Rural Women Metlika).
Saturday is the day when music of brass bands is heard in Metlika, while guests are cheered up by local folk dance group Ivan Navratil and visiting folklore groups. On this day as well, guests taste the best wines of Bela krajina and Bela krajina pogača (cake), and learn in a workshop how to bake this protected specialty. Of course, the piglet and lamb on spit are considered the best specialities of Bela krajina. On Saturday, there are coach transfers organised from all over Bela krajina and Novo mesto, while visitors from other parts of Slovenia come on their own, some arriving by buses or trains or even by bicycles. Since the first Vinska vigred, bicycle riders have been special guests of Saturday afternoon; almost 800 of them come here.
Sunday is a family day at Vinska vigred. Numerous activities and workshops are tailored to children, families and everyone else, of course, who is attracted by a diverse programme and numerous stands. Three squares are located in the centre of the town; nonetheless, they are located in such way as to be acoustically isolated from each other. Therefore, in the evening, when country music, pop and rock bands play, they „do not disturb“ each other. On Sunday, also a sport event is organised in the old town centre, namely, a nine-kilometre Urbanov tek (Urban's Race) named after a little church that bears the name of the Patron of Vines.
Vinska vigred is a great opportunity to promote Metlika and the development of wine growing and tourism in Bela krajina. It offers relaxation and enjoyment in numerous interesting events that we carefully prepare each year on the sunny side of Gorjanci Mountains.
Teden kulture na Placu Festival
Teden kulture na Placu (A Week of Culture in Plac – TKNP) is a free, 7-day open-air festival of creative workshops and cultural programmes for all ages, which is organised every July by KUD Plac of Metlika. They revive the old town centre, variegate summer happenings, wake up creativity and keep it up through informal education. In ten years, the festival has been visited by more than 35,000 visitors.
By now, TKNP has provided as many as 140 free workshops led by 200 renowned and skilled Slovenian and foreign mentors. These workshops include: dance, music (guitar, percussion instruments, solo singing), cooking, photography, scientific experiment, video editing, animation, street art & graffiti, recycling, fairytales, painting, sculpturing, theater, comics, film, mosaic, DJ & VJ performance, chess, bodypainting, wheel- and bench-making, skateboarding, screen printing, etc.
In ten years, they have provided more than 150 evening events, giving visitors a chance to escape from a dull everyday life into a new dimension of time, sound and space. Comedians, improvisers, theatre actors and top dancers performed on the stage, poets read poetry, intellectuals gave lectures, film evenings, puppet shows and acrobatic antics took place, travelogues and workshops were presented. Top musical creations of various genres, such as jazz, electronic music, soul, rock, folk, funk and punk were performed by music bands from Slovenia, countries of the former Yugoslavia, and also from the USA, Argentina and France.
International Summer Events „Pridi zvêčer na grad“
Summer events in the Metlika Castle started in 1982. In the beginning, they organised „Noči do jutra“ (Nights till Morning) and „Avgustovska noč“ (The Night in August), „Pridi zvečr v grad“ (Come to the Castle in the Evening), and since 1993, „Pridi zvêčer na grad“ (Come to the Castle Tonight).
These events, also known as Metliško kulturno poletje (Metlika Cultural Summer), are intended for all age groups and have an international dimension. The event presents a high-quality programme with top domestic and foreign performers, which is clearly shown by a growing number of visitors. In addition to performances (stage plays, concerts, monocomedies, interviews, poetry ...), it is taken care also of children by free movies in Kulturni dom Metlika (Cultural Centre Metlika).
Come to the Castle Tonight, gently sounds an invitation, come to admire what will happen here. (By Tone Pavček).
Mlada portugalka in Bela krajina
The event Mlada Portugalka (New Portugalka Wine) has taken place since 2009 on the third Saturday in October.
Portugalka or „potrgalk“ in the language of Bela krajina, is a wine of a beautiful red colour. It is fresh, drinkable, with a pleasant fruity aroma and a soft, full taste; therefore, many wine connoisseurs rank it among the best new red wines.
As an early grape sort, it is harvested soon after 15 September, and the must is suitable for drinking already on the third day after grape-harvest. Portugalka is usually mature for sale from barrel already at the end of September, or at least until 15 October. In the meantime, chestnuts ripen, and they are abundant in Bela krajina. Everyone who attends the event Mlada Portugalka in Bela krajina can tell what a great combination makes the new Portugalka wine and roast chestnuts.
Already in early afternoon, the Queen of Metliška črnina and the president of Društvo vinogradnikov Metlika (Association of Winegrowers of Metlika) arrive to the performance place by a rack wagon bearing a barrel of new Portugalka wine. A renowned oenologist taps the barrel and pouring of Portugalka wine begins.
It is additional tradition at the event to harvest Modra kavčina (Blue Franconian) grape, a descendant of the oldest vine of Maribor Lent growing in front of the Metlika Castle. Grape-harvesting takes place according to an old tradition, where clusters of grapes are manually squeezed and berries separated from their stalks. Grapes are squeezed by bare feet of the Queen of Metliška črnina, and on Martin's Saturday, the must is baptised to become wine.