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Wine tasting in Brda

Wine tasting in BrdaDobrovo Castle in Brda
Occupying 72km² of rolling hills between the Soča River and Italian border, Brda is one of Slovenia's foremost wine-growing areas and only an hour's drive from Ljubljana. Often described as a miniature version of Tuscany, every hill seems to be topped with a large church (there are actually only 30 in all) surrounded by a charming little village, while the hillsides and valleys in between are blanketed with vineyards, orchards and winding country roads. Aside from a few larger estates and one cooperative, most of the vineyards are smaller family-run operations, and almost all offer some combination of wine tastings, tours, meals, accommodation and of course wine sales.

The region is also known for its traditional Italian-influenced cuisine, and a trip to Brda without enjoying a slow multi-course meal on a terrace overlooking the vineyards almost defeats the entire purpose. The tourist information office at Dobrovo Castle is well-stocked with multi-lingual maps, brochures and other literature, and a great place to start for first-time visitors.

Grad Dobrovo
If you've never been to Brda before, Dobrovo Castle is a logical first stop on your tour. The region's well-stocked and extremely helpful tourist information centre is located in the courtyard, and inside there's a museum, art gallery and restaurant. The menu - in Slovene, Italian and German, but not English - fits on two pages, but the prices are reasonable, the servings ample and the views from the back terrace postcard worthy. After (or in lieu of) you meal, don't forget to stop by the wine bar in the cellar.

More than just a winery or tourist farm, the Klinec homestead is a truly one of a kind place. The small family-run operation produces a range of exquisite organic wines and serves an array of mouth-watering seasonal dishes following traditional recipes and cooking methods of the Brda region. They also play a central role in Medana's thriving arts scene, hosting well-known painters and sculptors for a week-long festival every October, as well as various jazz concerts, film viewings and poetry readings throughout the year.

Simčič Karol & Igor & Marijan
First appearing in the local land registry back in the 19th century and covering some 32 hectares of terraced vineyards today, Vrhunska Vina Simčič is one of the oldest and largest wineries in Brda. They produce a wide variety of white and red wines including Rebula, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon among the former and Merlot, Chabernet Sauvignon and Refošk (the so-called King of Reds) among the latter. Tours and tastings are available for both individuals and larger groups, but it's always best to call at least a few days in advance to make arrangements.

Vinska Klet Goriška Brda
This cooperative is the region's largest wine producer and also boasts the country's largest wine cellar, with a capacity of 18 million litres. Since its formation back in 1922, the cooperative has been the driving force behind Goriška Brda's viticulture tradition, and has also taken an active role in promoting the region throughout Slovenia and abroad. Interesting, educational tours of the cellar along with wine tastings start at only €2.50 per person.

Cantina Simčič
Marjan and Salko Simčič operate one of the most widely known and respected vineyards not only in Brda or Slovenia, but the entire region. Their estate covers 16 hectares with roughly half on either side of the Slovene-Italian border. The family has been producing wine commercially since 1860 and currently turn out 80,000 bottles per year, which are exported around the world. Tastings can be arranged for groups as large as 30 people, but advance booking is a must.

You can find information about all the upcoming wine-related events and festivals here, and a comprehensive listing of all of Ljubljana's wine bars here.

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