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The entire area of the Vipava Valley is covered with vineyards, and the time of bandima (vintage time) is an especially happy one in the vineyards and cellars. A lot of credit goes to the priest Matija Vertovec for the development of wine growing in the Vipava Valley. He taught the local people how to grow wine, and was the first to write about wine growing in the Slovene language, calling this activity vinoreja.

Matija Vertovec (1784–1851) was also the initiator of smallpox vaccination for children who lived in Planina.

He dedicated a good deal of his attention to the local vine, pinela, and categorised this wine among the most precious. On the one hand, pinela is “as modest as the people in the Vipava Valley”, but on the other hand it is very demanding to grow, as it is sensitive to humidity. For this reason its preferred environment is hilly with marl soil, a lot of wind and favourable influences from the Mediterranean.  “If you want to taste good pinela wine, you have to visit Planina,”  said Slovenia’s Wine Queen 2014, Špela Štokelj.

While pinela was quite a common wine in the glasses of the people from Planina, turnips were most often on their plates. Vilma Česen, the president of the Association of Planina Housewives near Ajdovščina, explained that “The people from Vipava were thrifty and acidified turnip in pinela wine, which gave a special flavour to the dish. Fr Vertovec probably also had it on his table quite often.” Today, the ingenious housewives use turnips in various ways, and so convince those who would otherwise turn their noses up at them. Boža Kete makes excellent turnip strudel and uses the beans of St Anne instead of raisins. A new challenge is to make a dessert out of turnip pieces.

The specialties from the Vipava kitchens and wine cellars can be tasted by hikers who usually walk along the Vertovec trails a week after St Martin’s Sunday. “Despite the fact that the trail is 18 kilometres long, we can often hear the hikers singing. Even if they are tired and get blisters, they always dance at the end,”  explained the president of the Matija Vertovec Society, Marijan Lozej.

Winegrowing has become more important than just wine production. Matjaž Lemut, one of the leading wine producers of the Vipava Valley, says that good grapes, a good vision by the wine producer, and the ability to communicate with buyers are necessary for making good wine. He put all his efforts into achieving the best even as a young man, when his father rented a small vineyard for his sons so that they would not wander around Ajdovščina. He redeemed his knowledge and dedication well during his apprenticeship in Switzerland.

During their student years, Matjaž and Melita Lemut bought an estate which has evolved into a house of pinot wine. (Photo: Leo Caharija)

Numerous trails spread across the Vipava Valley tempt hikers throughout the year. Good food and excellent wines make the entire experience perfect.

Photo: TIC Ajdovščina, Marijan Močivnik, Miha Bratina, Leo Caharija

TIC Ajdovščina
Prešernova 9
5270 Ajdovščina
05 36 59 140

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