Across Slovenia, one will find the snow-capped Alps towering over dense forests, robin-egg blue rivers, rolling hills and red-roofed castles. This compact country is a haven for savvy travelers, offering historical experiences, adrenaline-pumping adventures and easy access to centuries-old winemaking traditions.
In addition to wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, there is a large range of orange wines produced in this region. Slovenia’s three wine regions, Primorska, Posavje and Podravje, also utilize indigenous grapes like Blaufränkisch, Rebula (also known as Ribolla) and others.
Luckily, if you’re looking to explore Slovenia’s wine destinations, it only takes a few hours to drive from one end of the country to the other. To get you started, we pulled together some of the best wine spots based on recommendations from professionals and in-depth research to feature spots that represent the country’s wine production best. Here is where to visit in the capital city of Ljubljana and other wine regions throughout the country.
The centrally-located capital is less than a two-hour drive to any wine region. The pedestrianized streets of Ljubljana’s Old Town showcase Baroque architecture and green spaces along the Ljubljanica river. You’ll also find a 15th-century castle that overlooks the city’s red roofs and church towers.
Here’s where to sample the country’s wines in Ljubljana.
Dominating the city skyline, the castle on the hill has both a historic vineyard of Chardonnay and Zweigelt and a wine bar to sample Slovenian wines. Choose to sip wines in the bar’s ornate cellar within the castle walls or on a patio overlooking the city.
Šuklje has over 450 Slovenian and international wine bottles on the menu, with a rotating selection of 30 labels available by the glass. Along with blind tastings, Šuklje also offers wine pairings based on your musical mood. Visitors can pick from six musical genre options that fit their mood, which range from easy-listening pop to heavy metal. Based on your preference, they then select a wine that matches.
Organic Slovenian wines, including their own Movia label produced in the Western Primorska region, are available in this wine bar. Try the Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines produced under the Movia Rebula label, too.
Slovenia’s Western wine region shares a border with Italy, from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic. Primorska has four wine-producing areas; Istra, Kras, Vipavska and Goriska Brda. Throughout the regions, you’ll find local favorites like Rebula, Malvasia and Zelén, as well as Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are some popular wineries to visit.
Janez Colnar, the winemaker of Colnar Wines, chooses Edi Simčič as one of his favorite wineries, noting the family’s reputation for sustainable, low-yield but well-crafted wines and their support to other winemakers. The Simčičs produce Malvasia and Tokaji along with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and a heralded Chardonnay. Along with tastings, a villa on the estate is available for rent.
The Jakončič family has been making wine in Goriška Brda since 1847. Their portfolio includes Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon along with sparkling selections. Jakončič also uses wooden egg-shaped barrels to mature their orange wine, Uvaia. The family offers tours and tastings with pairings in their bottega.
The Erzetic family has been making wine since 1725 and Rebula rules here. But the Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon should not be missed. Colnar heralds the winery’s consistent quality, and sommelier Helena Bobič recommends taking a taste of Erzetic’s 2018 Amfora Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours and tastings are available.
Winemakers across Slovenia mention Koper for its seaside location and fresh, sparkling and aromatic whites. Bobič particularly recommends Malvasia, and Slovenia’s 2020 Wine Queen, Ana Pavlin, agrees. She adds that their native Refosco is worth a taste, too. Koper also has the country’s first drinkable wine fountain, as well as wine tour buses and a restaurant.
Posavje, known for its small family vineyards, has three distinct areas near the Croatian border; Bizeljsko, Dolenjska and Bela Krajina. In Dolenjska, the largest area in Posavje, most houses have a vineyard the size of a large garden. Indigenous varietals like Blaufränkisch and Rumeni Plavec, used for sparkling wine, are the region’s signature grapes. Posavje is also known for its Cviček, the region’s heritage wine. It’s a blend of white and red grapes, has low alcohol content and was first documented 400 years ago. Here are some of the wineries to visit.
Locally known as the “King of Cviček,” Colnar and family produce a drier version of this regional wine as one of their eight labels. And Pavlin and Bobič both confirm this is the best example of the country’s famous wine. They also make Riesling and sparkling options, and a white house wine for Fink, a Michelin restaurant, located about a 10-minute drive away. In an effort to be zero-waste, Colnar produces grape seed oil and flour with spent ingredients from winemaking. Tastings are available without reservations, and the winery partners with an e-bike tour and overnight inn.
Kerin makes a white version of their specialty—Blaufränkisch. To accomplish this, the grapes are picked early without color while they’re still low in sugar and full of acidity. The winery also produces a Pinot Gris and a sparkling option. Tastings are available in the cellar and patio on a peaceful hillside.
Winemaker and owner Alijoska Najger-Runtas’s father hand-dug the winery’s cave-like cellars from the sandstone left by an ancient sea. Repnica offers dry and sweet wines, including a Blaufränkisch, Pinot Gris, Traminer and Yellow Muscat. The family offers tours, tastings and charcuterie. At this time, no reservations are required.
Defined by the northeastern hills and river plains between Austria and Croatia, Podravje is the largest winemaking region in Slovenia with two areas; Štajerska and Prekmurje. The region features aromatic white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Traminer. It’s also home to the country’s oldest cellar and the world’s oldest grape-producing vine. Here are some of the best places to visit.
Sanctum produces cool-climate classics, like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Owner Marko Podkubovšek and his team focus on producing balanced wines with minimal interference. This boutique winery offers several wine and food pairing experiences by appointment only.
Golden Hills offers a range of experiences: a wine cellar, tastings, tours, a wine grower’s mansion with apartments for rent and a golf course. Labels include a rosé along with varietals like Traminer, Blaufränkisch, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This city’s modern winery claims the oldest wine cellar in Slovenia, dating back to 1239. Pullus produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, plus, Haložan, an off-dry white blend and local favorite that’s perfect for spritzers. You can book a walk-through of the caves with a tasting of five wines. After the winery, take a stroll down the street to Bistro Luk for the elevated fare and knowledgeable pairings.
The oldest grapevine in the world clings to this museum, which has heritage displays, guided tours and tastings of labels from all over Slovenia. But, the wine produced by the oldest vine is not for sale. When you’re done, check out Deliz Wine Bar around the corner, it has a wide selection of Slovenian wines and liquors.
Getting Around Slovenia’s Wine Country
Slovenia has a train and bus system, but winemakers agree a rental car is best. Ljubljana has ample rental options at the airport and in the city. Driving is on the same side of the road as the U.S. Be sure your rental comes with a vignette toll pass to avoid fines. However, if you’re not able to secure a designated sober driver, try booking a wine tour with Enjoy Slovenia. They offer long weekends and complete holidays for up to seven people.
Last Updated: June 6, 2023