Can you tell us an interesting story of a winemaker who developed a wine with you?
I find it difficult to point out just one, as they are all equally important to us. However, I can present some of them that showcase our approach. We have been cooperating with Dušan Trošt from the Vipava Valley for a long time and now we fill about 20,000 bottles of his malvasia every year, which is a good amount for Slovenia. We have other smaller winemakers from the Vipava Valley, such as Radivoj Lisjak, who fills our cabernet franc. Then I can mention the rosé of Dušan and Marko Kristančič from Goriška Brda, who are well-known winemakers, but they themselves do not sell their rosé on the market. The story we have with the cellar of Vina Koper, with their barrique wines, is also special. These are wines matured in oak barrels, they are not fresh wines, but wines for ageing. Their barrique merlot and cabernet sauvignon are bottled in magnums and are very good wines.
Under the Dar sonca brand, you cooperate with both small and established winemakers, but it is always about special wines.
That’s right. We form special collaborations, and at the same time we make sure that we offer a variety of wines to cover the whole of Slovenia. Vineyards in Slovenia are an incredibly beautiful story. Every region has its own peculiarities, its own character. And every winemaker is a story unto himself. For us, this is an admirable individual with a human hand, vine and land, from which only he knows how to make his wine. So every wine is something special. We connect these individual wine stories and spread them further.
To what extent does the wine reflect the character of the winemaker?
Fully. With certain winemakers, when we enter their cellar, we already know in advance what the wine will be like. Because every winemaker has his own idea of what kind of wine he wants to have. Some are cosmopolitans, they travel around the world a lot, try the best wines from different regions and they want to imitate this as much as possible with their own potential, while others do their own thing.
What about our taste? Has it changed much?
With globalisation, everything is changing. The culture, the lifestyle and also the drinkers. They are more and more informed, they travel more, they educate themselves. This is how trends change. My salespeople and I always talk about the need to keep up with fashion and cars. These are constantly changing, and I personally admire your ability to put a new car on the market at regular intervals. It’s the same with wine, there’s always something to add, something personal. Every year, the wine is different also because the harvest is different, the nature is different. But wine never goes out of trend.
Who sets the trends – customers, winemakers, bar and restaurant owners, distributors?
All of them together, but the international wine evaluations are the most important. They bring together the world’s elite of tasters, journalists, winemakers, distributors, etc., so a lot of trends are set there.
What kinds of wine are popular today?
Very popular are fresh, light and drinkable wines. There is a big spike in sparkling wine popularity, and organic wines are also on the rise. We all go back to nature.