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THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA

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The Capital - Ljubljana

General Info on Slovenia

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INDUSTRY

TRADE

AGRICULTURE

WINEGROWING

Vitis vinifera can only be cultivated in climate zones where the average yearly temperature is between 14 and 15 C (57.2 - 59 F) (ideally) and cannot grow, much less produce quality wine in areas with a yearly average below 10 C (50 F). These climatic conditions are only achieved between 30 N and 50 N in the northern hemisphere and 30 S and 50 S in the southern hemisphere, and even there only in regions where the summer heat is moderated by proximity to the sea or other large bodies of water. The vine may grow closer to the equator, but the resulting grape would only accumulate abundant sugar and pigments with aromatics and acids too scarce for production of quality wine. Further north and south, the temperatures are simply too low, the summers too short, and the spring frosts too severe for the gentle shoots.

Slovenia lies in an ideal climate zone: between 45  30'N and 47 N, with the Adriatic Sea as a part of its western border. The Alps form Slovenia's northern border - these shield the land from the harshest of northern weather and also moderate the intense continental summer heat. The southern slopes of the Alps and their rolling foothills offer a large number of good viticultural sites that are grouped into three viticultural regions differing in microclimate, soil composition and viticultural tradition: Podravje, Posavje, and Primorje. With such a wide variety of ampelographic conditions, Slovene viticulturists have been able apply and customize vines, winegrowing, and methods of making wine from all parts of Europe. The taste and bouquet of Slovene wines range from heavy Bordeaux-style blended red wines to the aromatic white wines of the Mosel and Rhine valleys, from the dry wines of Italy to the sweet varieties offered by Hungary, from the heavy port and sherry of Spain and Portugal to the light and subtle wines of Champagne and Alsace-Lorraine. A number of local varieties grown nowhere else have also been developed during Slovenia's long viticultural history.

In general, the viticultural sites of Slovenia are particularly suited to production of quality and high-quality wines. The slopes are generally quite steep, which guarantees optimal sunshine but makes cultivation difficult and labour-intensive and the yield less than optimal. Slovene vineyards are planted with relatively old vines, some 7000 hectares (17,297 acres) - 32.4% of all vineyards - grow vines over twenty years old; only some 1200 hectares (2965 acres) - 5.6% - are "young" vineyards (with vines under four years old).