Drone shot of the Plantaze Vineyard, the largest single vineyard in Europe. Photo courtesy of 13-Jul Plantaze
You might think it’s odd that someone would plant the largest single vineyard in Europe, in Montenegro, one of its smallest countries.
Plantaze, translated is “plantation,” is also known as “13. Jul Plantaze” was established in 1963 and today is the largest viticultural and winery in Montenegro.
Scientists and researchers Anita Gazivoda and Jovana Raicevic of 13-Jul Plantaze
Covering 2,310 hectares (about 9 square miles or 5,700 acres), Plantaze’s Cemovsko polje vineyard contains 28 different grape varieties, of which 70 percent is Vranac, which translates to “black horse,” a dark grape that yields an almost black red wine.
The rocky and harsh soil conditions are perfect for growing grapes at Plantaze in Montenegro.
A map of the huge Plantaze vineyard operation.
One landmark uncovered by this research is proof that the true origin of Montenegro’s most important varietal, Vranac, stems from the ancient varietal of Kratosija. Kratosija has the same DNA profile as Italian Primitivo, American Zinfandel, and Croatian Crljenak Kaštelanski. Through extensive testing and analysis of thousands of grape varieties, the Plantaze team found that Kratosija is the father of Vranac.
The research spans more than a decade, including working with research partners from leading viticulture institutions in Italy and Spain. Not only did they discover that Vranac is a direct decedent (offspring or “father”) of Kratosija, but that Kratosija originates in Montenegro.
While you can find Vranac in Macedonia, Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans, it’s a native Montenegrin red wine grape. Another indigenous grape is the white varietal Krstač, named because the grape clusters are shaped like a cross.
Montenegro is a small country. It’s smaller than the state of Connecticut, where I grew up. Even so, Montenegro exhibits some of the highest diversity of unique and autochthonous wine grapes in the Balkans.
A peek at the soil and rock composition of the Plantaze vineyard.
It’s also a grape that isn’t grown anywhere else—only in Montenegro.
After an extensive analysis, they discovered that 63 grapevines that are unique and only found in Montenegro. Important riches for the country’s national heritage. Not only did they discover Vranac was first grown here, but another 63 varieties are not grown anywhere else in the world. Imagine finding 63 new types of animals not found anywhere else.
Everything is big at Plantaze—the flagship grape Vranac, translated as Dark Horse, yields a full-bodied, near black wine with great character and structure.
The tasting areas of Plantaze’s Šipčanik Wine Cellar are designed to handle large groups in an attractive setting. Yes, there is wine in all those large casks.
One of the oldest archive wines available at Plantaze is the 1979 Vranac.
You can read the whole beautiful article from the link below and explore this unique place and its owners.
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