Wine is produced in the Republic of Macedonia on around 55,000 acres of vineyard, producing around 110,000L per year. An additional 74,000 acres of vineyard are dedicated solely to growing grapes for the table. Most Macedonian wines are reds, amounting to about 80% of the country’s entire production. In the EU, Macedonia is a PGI (protected geographical indication) for wine produced in the Greek region of Macedonia.
While Macedonia may not be an obvious choice for connoisseurs looking for fine wines, in fact the influence of the country’s soils, microclimates and philosophies regarding winemaking renders the country a haven of fresh and crisp whites, playful roses, luscious and sweet reds and even some sparkling wines. Thanks to the long, warm days and cooler nights, grapes are able to grow to ripeness more slowly here and this results in an intense and pleasurable aroma.
There are 3 regions in Macedonia where wine is grown – Povardarie, the top region for quality and quantity of wine, which is in the Vardar river valley in the area of the towns of Kavadarci and Negotino, Pcinia Osogovia which lies on the eastern border with neighbouring Bulgaria, and Pelagonija Polog which is on the western Albanian border.
The most commonly cultivated grape varieties in Macedonia include many indigenous varieties as well as varieties which are commonly seen in the Balkans and Central Europe. There are, however, also some more international varieties. Macedonia’s most common red variety is Vranec, although Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Kratosija are also frequently seen. One unique grape variety, Stanusina Crna, originates from Macedonia and produces some high quality wines which, although little known on an international stage are very popular with the domestic market. White grape varieties include Welschriesling, Smederevka, Zilavka, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.