Tilia Estate Vineyard in Slovenia

Slovenia Wine Tour: Honest Review of Winestronaut 

Last updated Aug 15, 2022 | Food & Wine, Slovenia

My husband and I love discovering the wine regions of the countries we visit. We have done quite a few including in Napa Valley, Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, South Africa, Italy, and Portugal. When we heard about the rising wine scene in Slovenia, we were excited to check it out. We researched all the best Slovenia wine tours and chose the highly rated company Winestronaut. Here’s why and what to expect from their tour. 

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Must Watch Wine Documentary

Goriska Brda, which is one of the famous Slovenian wine regions, has a very interesting history. It actually belonged to Italy until the end of WWII. Then it became part of Yugoslavia when the Communist government took over. Some family wine estates were literally split into two, one part in Italy and one part in Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia forced the winemakers to give the government a substantial portion of their grapes, so premium winemaking in this region came to a standstill.

Once Slovenia became independent in 1991, the focus on producing high-quality wine was once again able to flourish. I highly suggest watching the documentary Terra Magica on Amazon Prime before your Slovenia wine tour! 

Why We Chose Winestronaut

HIGHLY RATED 

Reviews speak for themselves. 5 on TripAdvisor and 4.9 on Google reviews. You cannot get better than that. They have an excellent reputation for providing an engaging, customized wine tour. 

SMALL GROUPS

My husband and I did our first wine tour in Napa Valley with a large group. Never again. I really prefer small group sizes, which give you the ability to visit some of the more unique, smaller wine producers. 

Winestronaut offers private or small group tours. The wine tasting experience is so much more intimate and engaging this way. Most of the time we were interacting with the winemaker him/herself. 

Our Slovenia Wine Tour Itinerary

We actually spent several days out in Slovenia wine country. We visited Guerila Wines and personally met the winemaker the day before our wine tour. Great experience. Don’t miss my article below if you want to know more about our winecation. I’ve included which wine regions are best and all the great places to stay and eat.

Alright, now to the fun part … our Slovenia wine tour experience! 

SLOVENIA WINE TOUR MAP

Map of Slovenia wine tour

Wine stops on our Slovenia wine tour

9AM: BUT FIRST, BREAKFAST!

We had a lovely continental breakfast at our accommodation, Dvor Hotel, with a selection of yogurts, local cheeses, bread, vegetables, and fruits. The two sisters who run the property were very kind and even cooked us some eggs. We have learned from past experience to always eat a big breakfast before one of these tours!

The wineries you visit will likely provide charcuterie plates, but there was no lunch stop during our wine tour. 

Delicious breakfast spread at Garni Hotel Dvor

Local ingredients for breakfast

Delicious local jam made by owner of Garni Hotel Dvor

Delicious homemade jam made by one of the sisters who own the hotel

10 AM: WINE TOUR PICKUP

Never drink and drive! To truly enjoy all this wonderful Slovenian wine, we booked a full-day wine tour with Winestronaut. Jani, our very friendly tour guide, picked us up and took us on a private tour of three excellent wineries. I wholeheartedly recommend him! He is an amazing guide with a wealth of information.

11 AM: BURJA ESTATE

The reason we booked a trip to Slovenia in the first place is because of an episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix on the 2-starred Michelin restaurant, Hisa Franko. You have to watch it. I share this because our first winery of the day Winestronaut took us to was also actually recommended by Hisa Franko. We knew we were off to a good start!  

Burja Estate was by far our favorite Slovenian winery we visited! Winemaker Primoz Lavrencic is incredibly talented. His cellar, which is carved into the rocky hillside, was still under construction when we visited, but that did not detract from our incredible wine tasting experience.

The Burja Wine Cellar in Vipava Valley Slovenia

Burja Wine Estate cellar built directly into the hillside 

Winemaker Lavrencic operates under biodynamic principles and a minimalist approach. He loves working with local varieties that originate in the Vipava Valley like Zelen, Refosco, Rebula, and Malvasia. What really got us excited is he works with vineyards of Modri Pinot Noir, which is excellent!

The wine tasting experience was incredibly relaxed. We sat at a long wooden table next to a huge egg-shaped pizza oven as we enjoyed glass after glass of the delicious expressions of his wines. 

Wine tasting room at Burja Estate in Slovenia

Wine tasting room at Burja Estate

Relaxed wine tasting at Burja Estate in Slovenia wine country

Wine labels had not come in yet … love the Sharpie improvise

Accompanied by some local Slovenian record punk music in the background, the conversation and wine flowed freely. I was glad Jani was driving us to our next location!

Listening to Slovenian punk music on a record player at Burja Estate

Loved the down to earth, relaxed vibe at Burja Estate. Incredible personal wine tasting experience! 

Winemaker Primoz Lavrencic at Burja Estate

With winemaker Primoz Lavrencic at Burja Estate

1:30 PM: TILIA ESTATE

The second stop was Tilia Estate in Vipava Valley. With the slogan “House of Pinots,” expectations were high for their Pinot Noir. Their wine label is a linden tree, which is a “symbol of Slovene independence and of a period in which our vision of being an independent winegrower was born” according to their website. Tilia is the Latin name for the linden tree.

Tilia Estate wine label

Tilia Estate wine label: The Linden Tree. Do you see the hidden face in the top left corner? 

Matjaz Lemut, the founder and co-owner, is a talented winemaker who started making wine before he was even 18. His father gave him a small vineyard to tend to at a young age, which instilled discipline and sparked his interest in winemaking.

Lemut’s success is a result of his drive, education, and wine philosophy of producing authentic wine that is true to its terroir. He recently helped start the annual Modri les Noirs, an annual wine festival showcasing Pinot Noir wine producers from central and eastern Europe.

Unfortunately, we were not able to meet Matjaz Lemut during our visit, however, he did have a very personable associate who guided us through Tilia’s pinot noir wine selection. They have three wine selections: Sunshine Tilia Estate, Tilia Estate Black, and Tilia Estate White.

We had a lovely tasting of their Black Label wines (Pinot Noir Vipava Valley, Pinot Noir Merljaki, Pinot Noir Estate) and White Label wines (Pinot Noir 2016). Of course, all of this was paired with local Slovenian cheese and bread. 

Tilia Black Label Pinot Noir Estate

Tilia Black Label Pinot Noir Estate

Tilia Estate White Label Pinot Noir 2016

Tilia Estate White Label Pinot Noir 2016

Winemakers in Slovenia are also starting to dabble in producing local spirits. We saw this too while in South Africa when we visited the Moreson Wine Farm, which was making gin from triple-distilled Chardonnay.

Tilia Estate is making grappa (made from a blend of grape seeds, stems, and stalks). The bottles have pretty cool artistic labels. Worth a taste.

Bitch Grappa at Tilia Estate in Slovenia wine country

Grappa at Tilia Estate 

4:30 PM: EDI SIMCIC

The last stop of the day was Edi Simcic. The winery is located in the renowned Goriska Brda wine region, where the Mediterranean meets the Alps! This wine estate was also recommended by Hisa Franko. Run by a father (Edi Simcic) and son (Aleks Simcic) duo, their award-winning wines are well known across the region.

Edi Simcic Modern Wine Tasting Room

Edi Simcic modern wine tasting room

There are two wine selections to taste from: Essential Line and Premium Line. The focus at Edi Simcic is on their Rebula (dry white wine) but they also produce some beautiful reds. An excellent example is their Duet lex, a blend of Merlot (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), and Cabernet Franc (10%).

This experience was the least personal of the four wineries we visited while in Slovenia wine country. A young gentleman gave us a brief overview of the wines we tasted. I will say their wine tasting room is absolutely gorgeous, and it has a sweeping panoramic view of Goriska Brda.

Stunning view from Edi Simcic Terrace

Stunning view from the Edi Simcic terrace

The wine estate has a beautiful villa you can rent called Alma Vista complete with an outdoor pool, sound system, and even your own private wine cellar.

6 PM: CONCLUSION OF WINE TOUR 

Jani got us back safe and sound to our accommodation after a truly enjoyable day of wine tasting. We relaxed on the community deck of our hotel and then freshened up for dinner.

Winestronaut Wine Tour in Slovenia

With our wonderful guide, Jani from Winestronaut 

Slovenia Wine Tour Cost

Of course, rates change, but we paid 210 € per person for a private 8-hour tour. This included all three wine tastings. 

What to Bring on a Slovenia Wine Tour

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WINE SLEEVES

If you plan on bringing a few bottles of wine back, I strongly recommend purchasing wine protector sleeves. We bring these on all “wine-cations.” 

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COMFORTABLE SHOES

Wear comfortable shoes! You will likely be walking around the winery including in the vineyards. Avoid heels because they will sink right into that soil. I love my Rothys pointed toe flats. Comfortable but classy. Best yet, you can throw them in the wash if they get dirty. 

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WATER BOTTLE

We have done enough wine tours to know the importance of staying hydrated in between all those tastings. I always bring a water bottle. Not all wine tours provide them. 

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VIVINO APP

We have used this app more than I can count. Download Vivino on your phone. Then scan a picture of the bottle of the wine, and it shows other users’ ratings. It’s a quick way to judge if the wine is worth it or not. I love how the images are stored, so you can reference back when you forget the name of that lovely bottle of Slovenian wine you had on your tour. 

Final Thoughts

I love discovering a country through its food & wine. Slovenia is really producing some fantastic high-quality wines at excellent price points. I can certainly see why wine critics have suggested Slovenia might be the next great wine destination. Let Winestronaut be your expert guide in showing you some of the best wine producers this country has to offer. 

If you are still looking for how to piece together your Slovenia vacation, don’t miss our 9-day Croatia + Slovenia itinerary that packs in some epic hikes and amazing foodie experiences!

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Quetions about our Slovenia wine tour?

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