Slovenia is a hidden gem in the Balkans and should be a must on your European bucket list. One thing you must do on your visit to Slovenia is taste Slovenian wine. If you haven’t got time to head out to one of Slovenia’s many wine-producing regions don’t worry, you can try all the best wines at a Ljubljana wine tasting!
There was no way we could pass up the opportunity to try some of Slovenia’s best wine (or any wine really…) during our short Slovenia trip, but Slovenian wine truly was delicious.
Ljubljana Wine Tasting with Boris
Due to our short time frame on our visit to Ljubljana we decided to join a Ljubljana wine tasting in town rather than set aside a day to head out into the countryside to visit one of Slovenia’s wine regions (though we definitely will next time).
If you’re also short on time, we highly recommend joining a wine tasting with Boris!
We had a really fun, playful and informative evening learning about Slovenian wine regions and tasting delicious Slovenian wine in a cool 300-year old cellar in the centre of Ljubljana. Boris was well-spoken, interesting, incredibly knowledgeable and truly passionate about wine (and not just Slovenian wine).
We had the opportunity to try 7 different Slovenian wines from different regions, including some white, red and dessert wine, orange wine, and a mysterious Slovenian classic.
When each glass is poured, contain your excitement and swirl and smell it while Boris explains its origins, both historically and regionally, gives great wine drinking tips, and offers some tantalising suggestions on food pairings (we were pretty hungry by the end- despite the snacks!).
To try and combat this, there were platters with various cheeses, meat, dips,
Top Takeaway: Low Sulphur Content = Less Hangover!
It was a truly wonderful night with great new friends, and we even organised to meet up with two German girls the next morning to visit Lake Bled together!
Book this amazing Wine Tasting Ljubljana tour with Boris here, you won’t regret it!
About the Wine Tasting Ljubljana Tour
How much does it cost: €39 per person
How long does it go for: approximately 2 hours
Where is the tour located: At a wine bar in old town Ljubljana (easily walkable from any central accommodation)
What’s included: tasting of 7 local Slovenia wines, snack platters, a small gift (we got cool fridge magnets), a certificate at the end, and a wonderful evening
Some Basic Info About Slovenian Wine
Slovenia has been making wine for centuries! Evidence of wine production in Slovenia dates back to the 4th and 5th century, which, unlike most European wine regions, pre-dates Roman influences (which for history nerds like us is super interesting).
Today Slovenia has more than 28,000 wineries, with most being small family and local wineries, and it produces around 80 million litres of wine annually. For comparison, Italy (the world’s biggest wine producer), makes nearly 5.5 billion litres a year, the USA around 2.4 billion litres, and Australia 1.3 billion litres a year.
However until our visit we were completely unaware of Slovenia’s winemaking prowess.
Our guide Boris joked that is mostly due to Slovenian’s being huge wine drinking fans, and as such most Slovenian wine never makes it out of the country (we can’t comment on this, but definitely wouldn’t blame them if it’s true).
Slovenian Wine Regions
Slovenia has three wine regions; the Drava Region (Podravje), to the northeast; the Lower Sava Region (Posavje) in the southeast; and the Littoral Region (Primorje), in the west.
The country also has seven native wine varieties and grows many imported international favourites as well.
Primorje – the Littoral Region
Primorje, bordering the Italian wine region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is home to two of Slovenia’s most prominent wine districts, the Gorizia Hilla (Goriška Brda) and Koper districts. This is probably the most internationally known wine region in Slovenia, and like Podravje, it
Podravje – the Drava Region
Podravje is Slovenia’s largest wine region, centred around the towns of Maribor and Ormoz. It’s geography and climate favour white wine production, however some red (particularly pinot noir) is also produced here.
Posavje – the Lower Sava Region
Posavje is the only wine region in Slovenia to produce more red wine that white (though not by much). Most importantly, the Lower Carniola district(Dolenjska) of Posavje is famous for Cviček, a traditional Slovenian wine (more about Civcek below).
Slovenian Orange wine
If you haven’t heard of orange wine, head down to your nearest hipster wine bar and you’ll certainly find it on the menu! Orange wine is actually the world’s oldest wine, as traditionally ‘white wine’ was actually what we now call ‘orange wine’.
Why? Well, orange wine is made from white grapes… but using the process normally reserved for red wine. This allows contact with the skin of the white grapes and provides that lovely orange colour. The end result is a nice white wine flavour with the fuller body of red wine.
Cviček – Slovenia’s Local Drop
It’s made with at least 4 different grapes, using both red and white varietals! Traditionally it was made by mixing together the poor quality or leftover wine (not grapes), and some producers today still use this method… fascinating!
We got to try some on during our wine tasting and it was actually delicious (though don’t tell Boris we told you how it’s made… it’s a secret).
After Your Ljubljana Wine Tasting – Wine Bar’s Ljubljana
If you’re anything like us, once you’ve tried some of Slovenia’s best wines you’ll want to head out and enjoy even more of it! Boris didn’t leave us hanging in this regard either, at the end of our tasting he gave many great suggestions on where to go for amazing Slovenian food and wine in Ljubljana.
We’ll share some of our favourites here (but highly encourage you to join him on a wine tasting for the full scoop).
You’ll already be familiar with this one since its historic wine cellar is where the tasting happens! They usually have all the tasted wines available (sometimes only by the bottle), but can also offer some great alternative recommendations for your new favourites.
Evino bar is a relaxed yet classy place to try some of Slovenia’s best wines. Featuring its own cellar, Evino has over 500 different bottled wines, with about 20 always available by the glass. For the colder months there is also a heated indoor terrace to enjoy.
Balthazar is a great restaurant, wine bar and wine store in the town centre offering one of the biggest selections of local Slovenian wines, cheeses, and deli meats at affordable prices. Plus they also sell home-brewed schnapps and liqueurs, yum!
Sorbara Steak House
If you love a full bodied red, a juicy steak and a picturesque location along the river, this is the place for you! With plenty of both wine and steak on the menu we dare you to only dine here once.
The Best Way to Try Slovenian Wine
You could easily have your own wine-themed pub crawl by simply wandering around Ljubljana with some friends trying different local bottles, but we highly recommend joining a wine tour to get the most of your wine tasting experience and learn straight from the source why Slovenian wine is amazing, and a little different.
If you’re got limited time in Slovenia, you couldn’t find better than a wine tasting with Boris! Here is his tour:
If you’re staying in Lake Bled, he also runs tours there from at 100 year old cellar! Find it here:
Why not try both if you have time! After our Ljubljana wine tasting he offered to host us again in Bled to try different local wines (if only we didn’t have a bus booked the following night!).
Finally, for those with a little more time to experience the intricacies and fun of Slovenian wine (we wish we could have explored further), check out these awesome full-day winery tours:
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our amazing wine tasting experience in Slovenia and we have inspired you to try some yourself!
While you’re here, check out these other Balkan countries for more cool trip ideas:
- The Ultimate Dalmatian Coast Road Trip Itinerary: Split to Dubrovnik in 1 week
- Sarajevo: a cool city overcoming its dark past (coming soon)