In the northeastern corner of Slovenia, you are going to find the oldest grape-bearing vine in the environment, which has developed for more than 400 several years on the aspect of a property in Maribor, some 15 miles from the Austrian border.
The vine was planted sometime in the late 16th century in the course of the turmoil of recurring invasions from the Ottoman Empire. An actual date is not sure owing to a couple centimeters of rot in the vine’s core sample. But, in 1972, dendrologist Dr. Rihard Erker identified the vine was involving 350–400 many years aged. Genetic specialists in Paris verified the conclusions.
A Tale of Survival
To Slovenians, the outdated vine is a image of survival.
For occasion, in 1870, the phylloxera parasite decimated European vineyards by attacking and killing vines at the roots. In France by itself, phylloxera killed a quarter of the vineyards, minimized wine generation by fifty percent and designed common stress and hopelessness. But, the previous vine’s historical roots were deep inside of the watery financial institutions of the nearby Drava River, drowning pests and protecting it from phylloxera.
The vine even survived bombings for the duration of World War II (1939–1945) that partially destroyed the house on which it grows.
Later on, in 1963, the Drava River that after saved the vine from phylloxera turned a threat. A new dam induced the river to rise far more than 9 feet, shifting the Drava’s financial institutions the place the vine experienced rooted for generations. Absence of maintenance on the modifying river was bit by bit killing the vine. By the 1970s, the household in Maribor and the vine itself suffered substantial neglect.
Fortunately, in 1980, a team of specialists from Slovenia’s Institute of Agriculture found the historic plant’s situation and prevented the demolition of the property. In 1981, viticulturists Tone Zafošnik and Anton Vodovnik stabilized and pruned the vine though the residence was restored. In 1982 it experienced new advancement.
Zafošnik became the old vine’s 1st vinedresser and experienced the plant flourishing and in the Guinness Globe of Information by his retirement in 2010.
Each and every calendar year, the outdated vine yields 77–121 kilos of Žametovka, a pink grape that’s 1 of the region’s oldest types. Only 100 8-ounce bottles, built by Oskar Kogoj, are developed each and every yr. The spiral on the bottle’s neck represents the vine’s “infinite longevity.” Royalty, presidents, popes and superstars are the blessed recipients.
Even though the wine itself is confined, Maribor has gifted grafts to other towns and oenology courses all around the entire world. By the conclude of 2020, there were being 228 licensed grafts in 29 nations around the world throughout 4 continents.
Grafts are offered at the Pruning of the Old Vine, 1 of the vine’s most important two once-a-year ceremonies open to the general public on the last Friday in February or the very first Friday in March. Stane Kocutar, picked by Zafošnik, has tended the vine considering that 2010. In late February, Kocutar prepares the cuts and cultivates the grafts for the residents and attendees.
He finishes the yr with the harvest and old vine Festival situations that start on the initial Sunday in Oct and conclude on November 11 (St. Martin’s Working day). The entire city joins in with intercontinental site visitors for culinary events, music, dancing and the ceremonial tasting of the harvest. Every single two a long time, the Maribor Wine Queen is chosen from the applicants representing local vineyard households to symbolize the region’s wine and history.
The Previous Vine Household is now a museum, featuring artifacts and heritage displays. Guided tours and a tasting area are offered.
In the final 40 years, the previous vine went from near destruction to a celebrated history-holder with a museum, a Maribor Wine Queen, festivals, an anthem, a focused vinedresser and lovers globally.
Kocutar writes, “How could a metropolis vinedresser wish for anything at all far more?”