Its true what they say, Brda may have the views, but the Vipava Valley has the soul.
The sun is setting on another gorgeous September day in the Vipava Valley. Although thoroughly exhausted from a long day, Matija comes bounding down the driveway with enthusiasm to meet us at his home and winery at Lepa Vida.
The vineyards of Lepa Vida, Vipava, Slovenia, bathing in the evening glow.
This is where the story is told - LepaVida Winery, Slovenia
“The wine is important, but its not our final destination!”. Wow! And with that we are hooked and intrigued to find out more.
If you want to sample normal wines in a sterile environment from some cute young sommelier who couldn’t care less where you’re from then don’t come to Lepa Vida.
If you’re looking to go on a memorable journey through the Vipava Valley unearthing history, culture and wine appreciation with a dash of that typical dry Slovene humour then this IS the place to come. (He might even let you taste some wine too if you’re lucky!)
Ready to go on a journey at Lepa Vida Winery, Slovenia!
Here at Lepa Vida its all about the story, the experience, the bonding.
“The bottle is our product and it becomes our medium for communication. The wine is important but it's not our final destination, it's part of this beautiful story."
And it’s the story that draws people here in their hundreds, a lot of them totally unannounced. Through word of mouth this small boutique winery that produces the odd 30,000 bottles has become a focal point for travellers who
want to know the story behind the wine and have a fun experience at the same time with Matija and his wife Irena.
Matija sets up for wine tasting at Lepa Vida! :)
With that Matija lines up his range on the table and brings out his book.
The story is told and the wines are sampled along with locally produced prosciutto (prsut), bread and cheese. But the difference here is the variety in range which covers a whole spectrum of taste and colour.
“We can only make what we grow but we are lucky enough to produce some “normal wines” and have the scope to “experiment” a little with others” (which he describes as his “weird” wines.)`
Matija begins his story as sample wine from the Lepa Vida range.
The range consists of a Pinot Gris (Sivi Pinot), Sauvignon and Malvazija (aka the “Normal” wines).
Then things get interesting with a local Zelen, Mi (a blend of Malvazija/Sauvignon), a Rose, Vi (a kickass Chardonnay) and OoO (a surprise!).
The wines from Lepa Vida Winery on display
The “normal wines” are solid and produce few surprises. “The Pinot Gris is a nice wine but has no character and won’t change no matter what you do with it in the production…but with Pinela and Rebula (other local varieties), now that’s a different story. You can really have some fun with them!”
Try the local Zelen. With herbal notes reminiscent of cinnamon, Zelen is unique as it doesn’t fit in with what you would expect from a white.
The chardonnay Vi is a big surprise for us. Aged in French oak barrels, it has vanilla notes and is sweet and creamy, possibly the best Chardonnay we’ve had.
The wine is accompanied by delicious local produce at Lepa Vida, Vipava
The “Burja” which is a strong wind that persists along the coast here, plays a big part in defining the climate and therefore the variety of grapes grown.
The valley receives a lot of rain and many enthusiasts wonder how you can grow grapes here at all because of the high humidity and rain.
The history dwells on socialist times when locals could only grow grapes but not produce wine. Grapes were sent to the co-op who produced the wine. No-one cared about quality control, wine was simply something to drink and nothing more.
These days wine is serious business with terms like eco-organic and bio-diversity thrown around with great emphasis.
Views of Osek, Slovenia from the vineyards of Lepa Vida.
There’s even a story behind the label and a special bottle they produce for their Malvazija. A story that takes you across the Mediterranean and back.
So why do you like to spend intensive time with people who often turn up at the last minute? “Its nice to give something back rather than just taste wine”.
“A lot of wineries in Vipava and especially Brda are not in a position to receive tourists. They don’t have the time or facilities to cater for them. You need staff on hand and staff that are knowledgeable and able to speak to groups in different languages. Its not easy. Its not like Australia with their “open door wine cellars”, this really blew my mind and gave me ideas!”
Evening mountain views from Lepa Vida Winery.
And so you have it, this is not a typical Slovene winery. It’s small, it’s boutique, it’s where you come to meet a local winemaker and have fun tasting local wines and produce while engaging in conversation which can go in any direction depending on the guest and host!
And just so you know, Lepa Vida doesn’t mean Beautiful Life, but that’s another story……😊
Fun photos with the big glasses at Lepa Vida, Slovenia!
WHERE IS IT?
The Vipava Valley is about 80km/1 hour west of Ljubljana near the Italian border and easily reached by the major freeway.
Ajdovščina and Vipava are the major towns here and the valley is surrounded by mountains and hills on both sides.
Lepa Vida Boutique Winery is located on the main road (H4) almost half way between Nova Gorica and Ajdovščina in the village of Osek.
The winery is just off the main road on the right if heading towards Nova Gorica but beware it is a tiny local road and you may miss it!
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LEPA VIDA WEBSITE