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St Martin's Day – looking forward to a new vintage of wine

On 11 November, the feast day of St Martin, when the must becomes wine, Slovenia celebrates St Martin's Day – the most widespread celebration in Slovenia associated with wine and wine culture. The first wine celebrations started before the wine festival, but the most joyful festivities will take place during the festive weekend.

Last year, winegrowers produced around 82,000 tonnes of grapes on just over 14,000 hectares of vineyards hosting almost 57 million vines.

White varieties yielded slightly better than red varieties, on average 5.7 tonnes per hectare. St Martin's Day marks the symbolic end of a year's work in the vineyards, and is a time for winegrowers to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

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When the aroma of St Martin's delicacies fills the air

In addition to new wine, St Martin's Day is known for its own distinctive dishes. Roast goose or duck stuffed with chestnuts or apples, with a side dish of mlinci (a type of flatbread) and braised red cabbage, is certainly the most typical dish served on St Martin's Day. Pork, beef or other poultry is also sometimes served, as well as potica, pogača and other sweet delicacies.

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St Martin's Day celebrations in Slovenia

Slovenia's largest and most popular public St Martin's Day celebration will take place in Maribor for two days on 10 and 11 November.

More than 70 local providers of wine and culinary delicacies will take part in the festivities in the capital of the Štajerska region, and there will be five locations to toast and taste delicious dishes, with the main venues on Koroška cesta and Leon Štukelj Square.

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The main St Martin event in Ljubljana will take place on Saturday. The Ljubljana Wine Route will wind its way through the streets and squares of the old town centre, where more than 80 stands will be set up. A variety of products and delicacies will be offered by 65 winemakers and 16 culinarians.

The celebration of St Martin's Day in the Karst links two municipalities, Sežana and Komen. Visitors will be able to taste new wine in 19 open cellars. A varied programme will take place at 7 venues. This year, the celebration of St Martin's Festival in the Karst will also extend beyond the border, with the traditional feast of St Martin in Prosecco joining the venues.

Istria's winemakers have dedicated this year's St Martin's Day to charity. To help Slovenia’s flood victims, Vinakoper has prepared a special bottling. 

The wine, called 15 Shades of Istria, combines the Refosco of 15 Istrian winemakers into a special charity wine, which will only be on sale during the St Martin festivities.  The entire proceeds from the sale of the wine will be donated to the victims of the floods in Slovenia. The classic part of the St. Martin's Day celebration will bring together in one place the products of several local winemakers. Fifteen winemakers from Slovenian Istria will present their wines in the Vinakoper premises.

Larger and smaller celebrations will also be held in other Slovenian towns.

Author: Danila Golob

Date: 10. November 2023

Time to read: 2 min