Wine cultivation in Negotinska Krajina dates back to Roman times (3rd century AD). The valley between the mountains Miroč, Crni Vrh and Deli Jovan, the Danube and the Timok rivers, enjoys a specific microclimate with hot, sunny summers and cold winters ‒ this is the soul of Eastern Serbia. Popular wines (and old grape varieties) are Bagrina, Začinak, Prokupec, Cormorant, Vranac and Smederevka.
Negotin (population: 16,700; municipality: 36,900) is worth a visit. Check out the Holy Trinity Church (1876), Hajduk Veljko’s gunpowder magazine behind it, the equestrian statue of Hajduk Veljko (the leader of the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottomans) and the Hajduk Veljko Museum, the ethnographic collection of the Museum of Krajina, the birthplace of the famous Serbian composer Stefan Mokranjac, the Old Church (1803) and the monasteries in the municipality. Or pay tribute to Bacchus and visit Negotin’s many vineyards and wine cellars. Visit Matalj Vinarija for wine tasting. Check out the recently discovered Roman residential area and mausoleum (built in 293–311 AD) at Vrelo Šarkamen. This is where they found beautiful royal gold jewellery from the reign of Emperor Galerius and Maximinus Daia (3rd‒4th century AD). Ongoing are the excavations at Selište near Rogljevo, 22 kilometres south of Negotin, in the hills.
Rogljevo is famous for its rich fauna and flora, medicinal herbs, high quality wine, and festivals. The architecture of the nearby Rogljevske Pivnice (also: Rogljevo Pimnice) is outstanding. The village consists of 150 wine cellars (10–15 still in use). It was built around 1861 but was never inhabited. Its main purpose was to allow people to harvest the grapes in the nearby vineyards and stay here during the harvest. In the 19th century, there were several “wine” villages like this one in Negotinska Krajina. Today, only a few are left and they are now candidates for the UNESCO World Heritage List. More and more wine lovers discover this unique time capsule, which once sold the best wines to France for gold coins, as recorded in an inscription in a French wine cellar. Visitors can stroll around and explore the stone buildings and storages half-buried in the ground, old barrels, viticulture tools, a portrait of the patron saint of wine makers, St Trifun, carriages and modern art. Tihomir, Mirjana and Bata Petko will show you the Wine Museum and its cellar. All wines here are aged for at least 7 years. As they also run the local Vinarija Vino-Grade, they offer wine tastings accompanied by frugal meals. Check out their almost biological Black Tamjanika, Rhine Riesling, the spicy local Začinjak, the famous red Kadarka, the Serbian opal-coloured Ružica or the red blend of Merlot, Black Tamjanika, Gamay, and Cabernet (17 %). Learn about the local wine makers who do not produce red but “black” wine. See what the grappa made of rose berry, white sugar and Serbian rakija are all about. There are also special walnut, basil, cherry, blueberry rakijas, and the “winemaker’s secret” (51 %).
Further pivnice to visit are Smedovac and, especially, Rajac, just 2 kilometres from Rogljevske Pivnice, where 270 wine cellars used to be active. Today, only 20 are still in use. Rajačke Pimnice was also used as a setting by some international film makers. When in Rajačke Pivnice, visit the only restaurant in the village and treat yourself to some traditional Serbian dishes (booking: www.toon.org.rs). On your way back you can stop and taste Trajan (red wine) or Gamay (barrique). There is also Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Tabula. To find out about other wine cellars contact the Winemakers Association of Negotinska Krajina visit www.vinaiznegotina.info or go directly to the Negotin tourist office.