It's time for harvesting

In the extreme northeastern part of Slovenske gorice lies Radgonsko-Kapelske gorice, where the peaks and sloping slopes are planted with quality vines, which, year after year, form the basis for a noble drink.

November 28, 2019

This vine is cultivated by company Radgonske gorice Ltd and is producing one of the most famous wines and sparkling wines in our country. It is the oldest and one of the most recognized producers of top quality wines and sparkling wines in Slovenia.

Tradition and diversity
The main activities of Radgonske gorice are viticulture and winemaking. They are distinguished by their rich history and long tradition, since they have been producing and storing wines in their unique cellars since year 1852. “We cultivate about 500 acres of our own vineyards. The wine is obtained from grapes grown in our vineyards, and some of the grapes are also purchased from the surrounding subcontractors, "says Gorazd Kovačič - winemaker from Radgonske gorice, adding that the entire production process is regularly monitored, controled and inspected. "There are many factors and circumstances that affect the quality of the vine and the grapes themselves," Kovačič says. Their variety is very diversed, from ranina which is an indigenous variety, to traminec, sauvignon, gray and blue pinot and among the sparkling wine . the indispensable chardonnay. They produce between 5 and 6 million kilograms of grapes annually, which amounts to about 4 million liters of wine. The basements have a capacity of 4.5 million liters.

Utilize natural resources
Nature has endowed the Radgon-Chapel winegrowing district with a hilly landscape that extends from 250 to 320 meters above sea level and gives the surrounding area a particular attraction and vibrancy, especially for the vineyards. Excellent natural resources - sufficient sunshine, favorable Pannonian climate and perfect soil composition - are friendly for the production of all varieties of vines and give the wine top quality and special freshness. "Natural resources are not enough if they are not ennobled by a diligent human hand in the vineyard and cellar," says Kovačič, who is well aware that the management of the vineyard and winemaking is demanding. "In addition to small secrets and knowledge, there must be passion, dedication and a sublime measure of love for this culture," the interviewee continues.

Committed to quality
The pride of the house is represented by the oldest and most awarded Slovenian sparkling wine, Radgona Golden sparkling wine. It is made according to the traditional or classical method by boiling in bottles, after which real champagnes are prepared. "Radgona Golden sparkling wine is the recipient of more than 10 champions and more than 100 medals from international evaluations, which is a guarantee and confirmation that we are doing well and that we are successful," says director Borut Cvetkovič proudly, adding that all the awards received are a confirmation of the work done so far and at the same time an encouragement, but also a great commitment for the future. He is particularly pleased that the wine-growing and wine-making tradition has been gaining in importance and reputation in recent years, and that the wine and sparkling wine culture in the region is increasingly evolving.

Most sold on the domestic market
In addition to the production of wines and sparkling wines, Radgon's hills near the business address of the company, in the House of sparkling wine, offer guided cellar tours and tastings. They are visited annually by 15,000 wines and experiences of eager visitors. Despite the great competition and rapid growth in the supply of low-cost wines, they have no problems selling. “Most bottles are sold on the domestic market, which is approximately 93 percent. The remaining quantities go abroad, especially to the market of the former Yugoslavia and to neighboring Austria, "explains Borut Cvetkovič. Their customers prefer to use well-established brands such as Radgona Golden and Silver sparkling wine, Janzevec and Traminec.

For even greater efficiency
The company employs 125 people. During high season, seasonal workers come to help. They are aware that growing grapes requires a lot of knowledge, skills and manual work, so they are constantly investing in human resources and development. Furthermore they also want to simplify and facilitate and optimize production processes and are therefore actively investing in modern technology. In recent years, they have upgraded their fleet and acquired a number of new machines that give them greater productivity and a consequent competitive advantage. "Working with new machines not only contributes to greater efficiency, but also to greater safety and comfort at work," points out Kovačič. The purchase of a grape harvesting machine has also proved to be a very welcome and effective solution in the high season in recent years. "Machine harvesting has the capacity of about 50 good grape harvesters, which means faster harvesting with less cost in volatile weather," says Kovačič, adding that such a machine also harvests 4 ha a day, which in practice means 40 tons of grapes.

Longstanding loyalty
They have been working with company called Farmtech for many years. “We are loyal and satisfied users,” explains Kovačič. They own twenty older 4-ton trailers, last year they purchased two more 5-ton EDK 500 trailers, three more this year before the season. »Trailers are compact, reliable and durable. They are used year-round for different transport operations. At the peak season, when every second counts, they are in continuous use, "Kovačič added, enthusiastically saying that, in addition to quality, the trailers also retain their market value.

A new solution is in sight
The soil in the vineyards is regularly fertilized with organic fertilizers in pellets. For now, the grape residue are not composted and returned to the vineyard, even though they are suitable for composting due to their composition. "It is precisely because of the desire for a more comprehensive and affordable solution to the spread of organic fertilizers that we are looking at the Variofex vineyard manure spreader, which we want to test as soon as possible in practice," Kovačič says, who believes that the solution will meet their needs and conditions in the long run.

Challenges for the future
In Radgonske gorice they strive for even greater recognition of quality and top quality Slovenian wines and have high goals and ambitions for the future. "We are not hiding our strategy to become the largest wine producer in the region," Cvetkovič says emphatically, noting that they still want healthy growth. More and more, they are trying to offer more organic wines and are already switching to biodynamic production in certain areas. “Organic wines are certainly the future of viticulture and winemaking. Currently, our organic processing is 7 hectares, but given the trends and patterns of wine culture, we will definitely increase this number,” Kovačič concludes.