Last week, on the occasion of the 37th Pruning of the Old Vine, the city of Maribor gifted the grafts of the oldest vine in the world to the selected friendly cities around the world. This festive moment is very important for the people of Maribor who pride themselves with this over 450 years old vine protected as a natural monument and listed as the oldest vine in the world in the Guinness Book of Records.
The pruning of the vine is an honorary event, celebrated by the presence of the mayor of Maribor Andrej Fištravec, the wine queens and other city grandees. This year it was Stane Kocutar who performed the honorable duty of pruning.
The grapevine grows at the frontage of the long solid two-storey old town house, named “The old vine house”, situated nearby the serene Drava River. The old vine was planted at the end of the Middle Ages when the Old Vine House was once part of the city walls and the vine managed to survive the fierce fighting when Maribor was besieged by the Turks in 15th century.
The vine still bears precious fruit and usually produces from 35 to 55 kilograms a year what gives about 25 litres of red wine annually. This indigenous Slovenian wine variety known as “Modra kavčina” or “Žametovka” or “Žametna črnina” (Hainer Blawer) is stored in specially designed bottles and is used by Maribor municipality for protocol purposes. Each year no more than a hundred bottles are filled with the noble “Žametovka” wine. Queen Elizabeth II., Pope John Paul and the former USA president Bill Clinton are one of the recipients of this unique wine in its elegant container.
Today the Old Vine House is apart from being a hotspot of wine tradition and culture of Maribor, Styria and Slovenia, an exceptional event room offering wine tasting of excellent wines from the Styria region. This year, on 21 April 2016 it is celebrating its 9th anniversary. During the past 9 years almost half a million people visited this old vine house.
The Mayor of Maribor commented the event as being “important for the city, the destination and Slovenia in general, as the Old Vine House is however one Slovenia’s greatest and unique tourist attractions.”
This year’s receivers of the Old vine grafts were: the city of Pula (Croatia), the European Order of Wine Knights from Železna (Eisenstadt, Austria), the city Karmin (Cormons, Italy), the Municipality of Saint George in Slovenian hills and the Municipality of Ruše.