Slovenia Wine Country Getaway: Where to Sip, Stay, and Eat
My husband and I love to plan getaways to wine destinations around the world. We have been to Willamette Valley in Oregon, Central Otago in New Zealand, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa, and Douro Valley in Portugal to name a few. We had heard Slovenia wine country might be the next great wine destination, so we had to check it out. We knew nothing about Slovenian wine, so we had so many questions. Which wine regions are best? What wineries to visit? What’s the best place to base yourself to explore the region? I hope our guide helps you plan your next winecation!
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Overview of Slovenia Wine Country
Goriska Brda in Slovenia wine country
Slovenia is not new to wine.
Wine production dates back to the 5th century BCE before Roman rule. Before gaining its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia’s wine industry was governed by large cooperatives that emphasized high quantities of low-quality wine.
Once Slovenia gained its independence, winemakers started to focus again on producing high-quality wine by using both ancient traditions and modern winemaking techniques.
Before you go to Slovenia, you have to watch the documentary Terra Magica on Amazon Prime!
Slovenia wine country is uniquely sandwiched between Italy, Croatia, Austria, and Hungary with the Julian Alps on one side and the Adriatic coast on the other.
Its geographical location allows for a lot of cultural influences on its food and wine, making this an exciting wine region!
All the wine regions with its 28,000 wineries are easily accessible within a few hours’ drive from the capital of Ljubljana.
There are three main regions you can choose from as you plan out your getaway: Posavska, Primorska, and Podravska.
Where to Sip
We love red wine, particularly Pinot Noir, so it was a no-brainer for us to focus our time on the Primorska wine region which is known for its red wine varietals.
There are four subregions within the Primorska wine region to explore: Goriska Brda, Karst, Vipava Valley, and Slovenian Istria.
We visited 1 winery in Goriska Brda and 3 wineries in Vipava Valley, which were all phenomenal.
01- GUERILA WINES
Guerila Wines entrance
Great name, right?
The winemaker decided on the name to symbolize the fight and effort put in to maintain a vineyard and sell the final product.
We discovered this winery in Vipava Valley upon the recommendation of the 2-Michelin starred restaurant, Hisa Franko, one of the top restaurants in the world.
My husband and I actually planned our vacation to Slovenia because of this incredible restaurant.
How winemaker Petric gets around the property … via motorcycle
Make sure to secure a reservation in advance.
Zmagoslav Petric, the owner of Guerila Wines, was incredibly kind and showed us all around the steeply-terraced vineyard and cellar before we sat down for our wine tasting.
Guerila Wines operates under biodynamic principles.
There are three lines to try from: classic, selection, and extreme.
We tried some incredible varietals across the lines including the Castra Brut Rose, Pinela, Zelen, Barbera, and Rebula. Our wine tastings were accompanied by some mouthwatering prsut (prosciutto) and local cheeses.
02- BURJA ESTATE
Burja Wine Cellar in Vipava Valley, Slovenia
Burja Estate was another solid recommendation by Hisa Franko.
This Vipava Valley winery ended up being our favorite!
Of note, Hisa Franko is run by the incredibly gifted Ana Ros. Her husband, Valter Kramar, is a talented sommelier, who has quite an impressive local Slovenian wine collection. I share this because you know when a restaurant of this merit gives recommendations, you know they are going to be amazing.
We had the pleasure of being shown around by winemaker Primoz Lavrencic, who is incredibly talented.
He operates under biodynamic principles and works with local varieties that originate in the Vipava Valley like Zelen, Refosco, Rebula, and Malvasia. Winemaker Lavrencic also works with vineyards of Modri Pinot, which is definitely worth trying.
Posing for a picture with winemaker Primoz Lavrencic at Burja Estate
Our wine tasting was one of the best tasting experiences we have had.
Very relaxed. Like sitting down with a good friend and sharing a bottle of wine.
We were seated at a table next to a huge egg-shaped pizza oven as local Slovenian punk music played on the record player in the background.
Then we were generously offered glass after glass of the delicious and elegant expressions of his wine. Highly recommend!
Wine tasting room at Burja Estate
Wine labels had not come in yet … love the Sharpie improvise
03- TILIA ESTATE
Tilia House of Pinots in Slovenia
Vipava Valley is known for its dry whites like the Zelen and Pinela, but it is also well regarded for its high-quality reds such as Barbera, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Another Vipava Valley winery to discover is Tilia Estate. We had big expectations for this winery considering their slogan is “House in Pinots.”
You will notice all of their wine labels have a linden tree. They state this is a “symbol of Slovene independence and of a period in which our vision of being an independent winegrower was born.”
The talented winemaker, Matjaz Lemut, has been making wine since before he was 18. He is very involved in the wine community and even helped start the annual wine festival, Modri les Noirs, which celebrates Pinot Noir wine producers.
We had the pleasure of being guided through three of Tilia’s pinot noir wine selections: Sunshine Tilia Estate, Tilia Estate Black, and Tilia Estate White. The wine choices were accompanied by some delicious local Slovenian cheese and bread.
Tilia Estate White Label Pinot Noir 2016
Tilia Black Label Pinot Noir Estate
04- EDI SIMCIC
Edi Simcic winery in Slovenia
Hisa Franko also recommended Edi Simcic, which is located in the drop-dead gorgeous Goriska Brda region.
This is the wine region that is known as the “Tuscany of Slovenia,” where the Mediterranean meets the Alps.
Rolling hillsides dotted with vineyards, orchards, and cypress trees surround you as you navigate the roads through this idyllic location.
At times, you will forget … am I in Italy or Slovenia?
There are many notable wine varieties Goriska Brda is known for including the dry white Rebula, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and … Orange wine!
Yep, orange wine. This natural wine is made from white grapes that are macerated with their skins and seeds. They are bold and dry with red wine characteristics and have a yeasty nutty flavor from oxidation.
At Edi Simcic, we enjoyed a tasting of their Rebula and the Duet Lex Red Blend.
The wine tasting room is stunning and offers an incredible panoramic view of the Goriska Brda region.
Stunning view from Edi Simcic Terrace
Where to Stay
01- DVOR HOTEL
Stunning sunset as seen from the Dvor Hotel
We chose the Dvor Hotel, which is a charming accommodation run by two sisters.
They have lovingly restored an old medieval estate into a cute boutique hotel. I love how they have incorporated the old architecture with new modern touches.
Their deck overlooks the countryside. The views at sunset are worth booking this hotel alone!
02- ALMA VISTA
Edi Simcic winery has a gorgeous villa you can rent called Alma Vista complete with an outdoor pool, sound system, and your own private wine cellar.
03- GUERILA GUEST APARTMENTS
Want to stay right in the heart of a winery? Check out the guest apartments at Guerila Wines that overlook the sweeping vineyards below.
That view! Wow, just wow.
04- PETERC VINEYARD ESTATE
Peterc Vineyard Estate
I always like to try new places, and when we come back we are staying here. 9.9 on booking.com.
Highlights include breathtaking vineyard views, French furnishings, an outdoor swimming pool, and hiking and cycling nearby.
All the things that make me happy.
Where to Eat
01- GOSTILNA THEODOSIUS
Front entrance of Gostilna Theodosius
If you want traditional Slovenian food, look for a gostilna.
We had lunch at an incredible restaurant called Gostilna Theodosius. We were served by the incredibly kind Gregor Lisjak, who was the owner, the host, and the waiter!
You could have ordered off the menu.
Or instead, you can go off-menu and Gregor will cook up an incredible meal based on your preferences and in-season ingredients.
Kinda like a food sommelier. This was hands down one of our favorite restaurant experiences in Slovenia.
We were served a mouth-watering, juicy Florentine steak with potatoes and fresh garden peppers.
Amazing local cuisine!
Asparagus risotto at Belica restaurant in Slovenia
Our hotel recommended this charming local restaurant that is perched high on a hill with excellent views of the Alps.
Belica function as a winery, restaurant, and a hotel.
The menu is always changing based on what is in season. We had a lovely meal of pea soup, asparagus risotto, and apple strudelj.
If you want to explore more of what delicious food Slovenia offers, do not miss my foodie article below.
03- GOSTILNA PRI LOZJET
Unfortunately, Gostilna Pri Lozjet was closed during our time in Slovenia wine country, but this 1-starred Michelin restaurant is definitely on our list when we come back.
The head chef, Tomaž Kavčič, is known as the Picasso of Slovenian cuisine.
It is housed in the former stables and kitchens of an old mansion.
Incredibly romantic setting with equally amazing local Slovenian dishes according to the gushing reviews. I can’t wait to come back and dine here!
Slovenia wine is completely underrated. Now that local food and wine have become the focus of Slovenia’s tourism industry, this will quickly begin to change.
Winemaking in Slovenia has been around before Roman rule. Many wineries have several different generations of winemakers in their family.
Instead of mass marketing the big-name varietals, a lot of Slovenian winemakers have chosen to focus on local varietals with minimal intervention, allowing the wine to truly be a reflection of its unique terroir.
The end result?
Phenomenal, high-quality unique wine that will satisfy both the casual wine drinker and the experienced connoisseur.
Pair that with delicious fresh ingredients indigenous to Slovenia, and you have the setup for a perfect wine getaway.
The gorgeous Goriska Brda wine region in Slovenia
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