Plantaže Winery

Montenegro's largest exporter is the Plantaže wine company, spread out on the plain immediately east of Podgorica's airport. Producing wine, brandy, table grapes, peaches and even Californian trout; the Vranac wine is its most famous product.

Founded in 1963, Plantaže grows two local varieties of grapes, red Vranac and white Krstač, as well as Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, and Sauvignon. The main Ćemovsko Polje vineyard field is huge, the largest in Europe at 2310 hectares, planted with 11 million grapevines that are watered via drip irrigation, and harvested by hand.

After harvesting, grapes are processed in two wine factories nearby, though the new Šipčanik wine is most interesting. Part of the large Ćemovsko Polje vineyard, this is a huge 7,000 square metre and 365-metre long tunnel dug 30 metres below a hill, where wine is kept at an ideal and constant temperature of 17-19°C and 70+80% humidity. Around 2 million liters of wine, among them top local wines like Chardonnay Barique, Vranac Barique, Crnogorska Oka and Premijer, is matured and aged in wooden barrels and bottles here; some 28,000 bottles of wine are up to 10 years old.

Visiting the vineyards and cellar is possible in the Vinski put or Wine route arrangements for groups of over 10 persons, though from May to October it's possible to join the five-hour English-language 'couples tour' for €200, which includes a tour of the vineyards in a horse-drawn coach, wine tasting at the Šipčanik wine cellar, taking in the great views of Skadar lake and Podgorica, a traditional dinner at the Jezero restaurant with a bottle of Vranac wine, and a photo CD.

Plantaže, Put Radomira Ivanovića 2, Podgorica, tel. +382 20 65 80 28, info@plantaze.com, www.plantaze.com.

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