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Slovenia is your no1 choice for a relaxing wine holiday amongst the vineyards!
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Where is Slovenian Istria?
Sweeping views at dusk from the vines to the sea! Slovenian Istra or Istria is another holiday paradise for those who love the seaside and their vino as well! The Adriatic Coast is lined with beautiful seaside towns like Piran, Koper and Izola while Portoroz tries to exude a more ritzy feel on the Slovene "Riviera".

But it's inland where all the vino magic happens. The hinterland away from the beach crowds feels like another world. Lazy hillside villages bask in the sun and life moves at a very gentle pace. Whether you stay on the coast itself, or in a charming B&B inland, this is a great spot to relax and unwind!

THE VINO

The rich wine tradition of Slovenian Istria dates back to the Roman period almost two millenia ago. Wines of local varieties (Refosco (Refosk), Malvasia and Yellow Muscatel) and other varieties that grow in the area are starting to win acclaim across Europe and beyond. Istrian winemakers often present themselves at wine and gastronomic events in Slovenian Istria and abroad. Their best wines can be tasted in most local restaurants so what are you waiting for? Come to Slovenian Istria and enjoy the hospitality!

WHERE TO START?

Vina Koper Barrels
A car is really a necessity to travel the wine routes as the inland villages and wineries are connected with narrow local roads where there is little public transport. Pick up a map and further information at the information centres in Koper, Piran or Portoroz (assuming you may be staying at one of the locations). You can hire a car in Koper from our partners at ATET. Email us with your details and we can get you a quote. From Koper for instance, the sign for VinaKoper stands out like a beacon on the side of the opposing hill and this makes a great first stop just across the freeway. From here you can head further inland down towards the Croatian border taking in wine making villages like Parecag, Korte, Padna, Nova Vas, Sveti Peter And Dragonja. Then head back via the coast perhaps. Have a great visit!

HOW TO GET TO ISTRA?

From Ljubljana, you simply take the main freeway (A1) towards Koper and the coast. From Trieste, there is a short freeway portion before turning into Koper or you can take the charming coastal road through Muggia and Ankaran.


Map of Slovenian Istria

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What Wine Varieties does Istra produce and what are they famous for?
REFOSK (red)

Red wines dominate here and Refosk is the most widely cultivated grape. Slight differences in climate producing two varieties. Refosk from the coast is more mature with slighter acids and richer in colour; wine from the "continental" part of the area is heavier, with more acids and a distinctive character.

The Refosk in Slovenia is a member of the large Refosco group, which comprises several different types that are denominated according to the cultivation area and morphological or oenological properties, e.g. Refosk, Teranovka, Teran, Terrano, Refoscone etc. It is cultivated mainly in the coastal part of Slovenia (Karst and Koper winegrowing districts), in Croatia (Istria) and in Italy (Friuli-Venezia region). In Slovenia, Refosk is of economic importance as the leading red wine variety and the fourth most frequent variety, following Welschriesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

Istra's red Wines - Refosk

As an example, the Refosk from VinaKoper is exclusively hand-picked at the beginning of October with the ripe grapes macerated for up to 18 days. The Wine is kept in large oak barrels until the end of the deacidification process, and is then decanted in Barrique barrels where it matures for at least two years. The colour is an nntensive ruby red colour while the bouquet surprises with ripe fruit reminiscent of ripe blackberry, jam, sour cherry, mulberry, blueberry, and dry Mediterranean spices. Notes of wood and forest undergrowth can also be sensed.

The taste is rich and expansive. Pleasant acids keep this rich wine lively and fruity. Beautifully structured tannins give this wine a long and pleasant finish. Food and wine pairing recommendation: Refosco wine goes nicely with rich and also more fatty food. It is also a very good companion to cold cured meat products, steaks, beefsteaks, and grilled meat dishes

WHAT OTHER VARIETIES ARE PRODUCED?

Cabernet Frank, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are also very popular: in this area, these wines are particularly rich, lively in colour, moderate in alcohol, vivacious, and not too heavy. In good years, the Koper area's Cabernet Sauvignon is arguably the best produced in Slovenia. The predominant white wine is Malvazija - very fresh, rich, with a pronounced character. Chardonnay is also very popular - the Chardonnay wine from vineyards up to ten meters above sea level are cultivated and marketed separately as ricorvo to distinguish it from the labor Chardonnay grown in higher vineyards; these qualifiers are derived from names of two characteristic sites.

Istra's White Wines - Malvazija

The best known blended wines of the area are the white Capris, a blend of Rebula, Malvazija, Chardonnay, and Rumeni Muskat - an aromatic, semi-dry wine with an intriguing bouquet; the red Capris blended from Merlot, Refosk, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Frank - a dry, heavy, full- bodied wine frequently compared to Bordeaux red wines; and the dry red Koprcan - a blend of Refosk, Merlot, Cabernet Frank, and Gamay.

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Tours and Experiences around Istra/Istria

WINE TASTING IN THE ISTRA REGION


Through our outstanding partners we can help organise an unforgettable private day tour to the Istra Region. You could also combine The Istra wineries with visits to nearby Istra, Vipava or Goriska Brda wine regions plus attractions like Skocjan Caves, Lipica Stud Farm, Socerb Castle and even nearby Trieste.


Duration: Full Day Private Tours available on request
Where: The Istra Region from anywhere in Slovenia
(including Ljubljana or Maribor)
Min./max. participants: 1-8. // Payment: TBA
Available year round subject to cellar availability.

Accommodation around Istra

Sloveniaforyou.com have hand picked the best of the each accommodation category to make it easy for you to book!



GUEST HOUSE

Stay at Homestay Razman - Slovenian Istra

HOMESTAY RAZMAN

Located in peaceful and lush countryside just 15 km from Koper, Guest House Domačija Ražman offers free Wi-Fi and a restaurant serving traditional Istrian cuisine. Enjoy the shared terrace in the garden while the surrounding region offers numerous opportunities for activity and relaxation.



BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Stay at CasaOasa - Slovenian Istra

CASA OASA

Boasting a sauna, the Casa Oasa is a luxurious place to base yourself not far from Koper. Only a short walk from the shore, this property is ideally situated for those looking for a beach-side retreat. Relax in your stylish room featuring desks and hair dryers. Wake up to a varied breakfast menu on offer every morning.



ROOMS & APTS

Stay at Istrian Rooms - Slovenian Istra

SLOVENIAN ISTRIA

In rural Slovenian Istria is the Kozlovič family’s tourist accommodation. Set in a peaceful location in the middle of the countryside, the houses are located in the midst of a vineyard and offer magnificent views over the Koper Bay. Guests can buy our homemade products: refosco, olive oil, marmelades, brandy and much more.





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Local Estates and Wineries in Istra/Istria
VinaKoper - One of Slovenia's largest producers of quality wines
VINA KOPER * You are invited to discover our precious wines and to explore the exquisite aroma of our ruby jewels from the Istrian soil and the Mediterranean sun *the trademarks of the tireless efforts of Istrian locals.* In the shop, along with a complete assortment of our wines, you can also find local products typical of Slovene Istria * olive oil of renowned producers, Sečovlje Saltworks salt, and various handcrafted products * Meals available at the Winery Restaurant

FUN FACTS - Locals use bowser pumps to fill up on wine like they do petrol! * Their largest barrel in the White Cellar is one of the largest in Europe at 41427 litres! * The Archive is devoted to their best vintage wines from 1976 onwards and houses some 9000 bottles. * The Istrian Rubies Club is VinaKoper's exclusive wine appreciation members club!

Visit VINA KOPER today - tastings available at the Shop and tours of the cellars available with prior booking. vinakoper@vinakoper.si * Šmarska cesta 1, 6000 Koper, Slovenija * Phone: +386 5 663 01 00

VinaKoper - One of Slovenia's largest producers of quality wines
History - Climate - Soil
Views of Istrian Vineyards
The soils here are mostly derived from flysch but with a higher content of limestone than the Brda area. In the sites around the port of Izola, Eocene limestone is predominant. Sandstone admixtures contain calcium carbonate and silica.

Most of the area is Mediterranean, with the strong climatic influence of the sea; the small sub-area of the Savrin hills is submediterranean. The climate is mild, the summer heat is moderate with occasional droughts, and winter frosts are virtually unknown in this area. The grapes of this area are the earliest to ripen of all the regions.

The Koper area has 3800 hectares (9390 acres) of absolute viticultural sites. Vineyards are planted mostly on flat terrain, either on higher plateaus or on the coast. Although the sun is as hot as in the Kras area, arbour vineyards are less frequent since the soils of the area are deeper and retain more moisture than those of the Kras area; furthermore, even during dry periods, the soil tends to desiccate more slowly because of the humid air from the sea. In these climatic conditions the vine tends to grow profusely with a high yield.

The grapes mature quickly, producing abundant sugar but few acids and aromatics. To improve the quality of wine, some vignerons sow grass between the rows in some vineyards to reduce the yield and make the grapes mature more slowly: the resulting wine is more aromatic than those produced by weeded vineyards, with a pleasant fruity flavour.

The wine-growing region of Slovene Istria is divided into two sub-districts: The Coastal District includes the Milje Hills, Tinjan, the broader part of the Rižana Valley, and widely-open areas directly facing the sea, where the climate is characteristically Mediterranean. This region has an annual mean temperature of approximately 13.8°C; an average vegetative phase (April - September) temperature of 19.4°C, and a January mean daily minimum temperature of 1.6°C. Frost is rare. The vines are first exposed to it on approx. 15 November, and last on approx 31 March. Annually, the Coastal District receives about 1,000mm of rainfall.

The Interior District includes the highest areas of Tinjan and flysch ridges lying in the divide between Mirna, Dragonja, and Rokava. Due to the more continental location and higher elevations, the climate here possesses sub-Mediterranean characteristics.

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Nearby Sights - Day trips from Istra
The amazing River Soca!
Of course spend a day or two enjoying the seaside towns of Piran, Portoroz, Ankaran, Koper and Izola. The saltpans at Secovlje are also very interesting and fantastic to explore on bike.

Head north into Italy and explore the city of Trieste. Trieste (home of Illy coffee) is a lively port town with some Roman remains and Miramare is everyone's favourite castle. Further up is another great castle at Duino. A trip to Trieste is a fantastic day.

Head further north and be inspired and amazed by the stunning emerald waters of the Soca River. The Soca starts in the Julian Alps where you can drink in the alpine freshness! Coming back, stop in Kobarid and visit the fine WW1 Museum dedicated to the fierce battle fought in this region. Moving stuff. Kobarid is also home to Kozjak Falls and many fine walks along the historical trail. Kobarid is also noted as having some of the finest restaurants in Slovenia. Further south and Tolmin Gorges is another worthy natural attraction plus Most Na Soci is a very picturesque village on the Soca. Stop in Nova Gorica and visit the peak at Sveta Gora to watch the sunset.

Also north are the beautiful wine regions of Goriska Brda, Vipava and the Karst. See these pages for more info!

Charming Piran - Slovenian Istria!
Head East and visit the UNESCO listed Skocjan Caves plus horse lovers won't want to miss Lipica Stud farm, especially on performance day!

Head further East and visit the famous Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle, a great double combination.

Keep going up the freeway to the cosmopolitan and relaxed capital Ljubljana! Enjoy the castle and a drink by the river and have dinner at Ljubljana's fine restaurants.

Of course Venice is only 3 hours away if you take the ferry from Piran.

As you can see the Istra makes a great base for day trips.

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Festivals & Events in the Istra/Istria Region!

FEBRUARY -
Istrian Carnival
Wine and olive oil tasting, Sv. Anton
MARCH -
Malvazija Wine Festival

APRIL -
Asparagus Festival in Slovenian Istria
Flower, Wine and Olive Oil Festival in Ankaran
Saltmakers` Festival, Piran and Sečovlje

MAY -
Refošk Wine Festival, Marezige

JUNE -
Countryside in the City
From winemaker to olive maker, Slovenian Istria
Olive, Wine and Fish Festival in Izola
St. Nazarius` Festival in Koper
Traditional Olive Festival in Dekani
Šagra village festival in Sv. Peter

JULY -
Eurosport
Šagra village festival »Kur en bot«, Smokvica
`EtnoIstra׳ ethno-event in Šmarje

AUGUST -
Festival In Masks
Fiesta on the Pier
Medieval Market in Ankaran
Fishermen’s Festival, Izola
Šagra village festival »Guštovca«, Dekani
Istrian Evening in Krkavče
St. Bartholomew`s Festival in Seča

SEPTEMBER -
7th Festival Sweet Istria
Days of the European Cultural Heritage, Piran

OCTOBER -
Days of agriculture of Slovenian Istria in Koper
Šagra village festival – Opasilo in Padna
Fair of Salt, Wine, Olives and Souvenirs, Piran

NOVEMBER -
Kaki Festival in Strunjan
St. Martin`s Festival in Slovenian Istria
St. Martin`s Festival `Martinja׳ ́́in Marezige
Vine Queen of Slovenian Istria

DECEMBER -
Major’s Wine and Olive Oil Contest in Koper

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