The Morava Region (Smederevo, Serbia)
Smederevo (population: 64,200; municipality: 108,200) is in the heart of the Morava wine region. It has existed since 1019 AD, but there is evidence of much earlier settlements in this area – a famous Bronze Age figurine, Idol of Kličevac, named after a nearby village (population: 1,300), was found here. Evidence of Roman presence was discovered here too. In fact, viniculture in this area dates back to the times of the Roman Empire, when Emperor Probus (ruled: 276–282 AD) introduced grape growing. The winemaking tradition is celebrated during the annual wine festival Smederevska jesen (Smederevo Autumn). Serbian medieval rulers also grew grapes here. Wine was exported for the first time in 1879 to traders from Switzerland and France. Local wines were awarded at the World Exhibition in Bordeaux in 1882.
Blessed with the good soil and microclimate, the area has got all the ingredients for good winemaking – the level of sugar in wine reaches 26 %. Just outside Smederevo, there is Krnjevo, a village with probably the best conditions for growing grapes, famous for its vineyards, among the best in Serbia. The surrounding hills are covered in them. However, the first written records of vineyards are fairly recent (1831).
The Radovanović family, experienced winemakers for generations, appreciates its heritage and tradition. Theirs was the first private wine cellar and company in Serbia in 1990. Two decades ago, the first 2.5 hectares of vineyards were planted on the sandy terrain between the hills Mali Golac and Veliki Golac. The vineyards face southeast, allowing them to absorb the first morning sunrays and get a steady circulation of warm air. Mali Podrum Radovanović owns only 22 hectares of land but it is the top-quality soil with good exposure to the sun. Vineyard plots are treated separately according to their specific characteristics. Harmony with the nature and understanding the wine is what this winery is all about. It produces Rhine Riesling, Chardonnay, Chardonnay Selection, Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon barrique – all of them among the top Serbian wines. The cellar accommodates 50 visitors for wine tasting. It also boasts a number of VIP guests, among them foreign ambassadors and consuls, who came here in October 2011 for a benefit grape picking. The funds raised were donated to an orphanage in Miloševac.
Živković Podrum can accommodate 30 guests eager to taste their Rhine Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bermet. Podrum Janko has been around since 2006. It welcomes wine tasters and has its own restaurant. Dragan Vasić Janko is famous for his Rosé 2010, made from Merlot (90 %), Sangiovese and Shiraz (combined: 10 %). He was the first one to introduce labels in Cyrillic, reserved for his best wines only such as Zapis (Merlot). You can also taste his Smederevka, Misija (Chardonnay), Adut (Traminer) or Zavet (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot).