Wine Regions of Europe – Serbia and Kosovo

Wine in Serbia goes back to Roman time, but the twentieth century saw the near total destruction of Serbia’s grapevines. First came the devastation of phylloxera, then two world wars, the post-war era of communist collectivization of agriculture in Yugoslavia, and finally a series of civil wars that shook Serbia to the core. Of course, wine will seek its own level, and the Serbia wine culture is reviving. The country has a handful of large wine companies, with some three hundred small producers, although it still imports more wine than it produces. The government has put money into equipment modernization and has already promulgated wine appellation laws that comply with EU regulations.

In Serbia, the equivalent of PGI for larger appellations is covered by their Geografska Indikacija (GI). Like the Italians they have two equivalents for the EU’s PDO: Kontrolisano Poreklo I Kvalitet (KPK) and the more exalted Kontrolisano i Garantovano Poreklo i Kvalitet (KGPK) .

In the north, bordering Hungary, is Subotica-Horgoš, which has sandy soils related to the Pannonian Plain. The region produces the whites Graševina (Welschriesling), and Riesling. Srem to the south near the capital of Belgrade is influenced by the Danube, producing whites from Graševina and Chardonnay, and reds from Portugieser and the local (for Serbia and Montenegro) Vranac. Banat near the border with Romania is the home of the rare indigenous white grape Kreaca.

In the center, Šumadija-Great Morava has large producers for its local red Prokupac. International varieties also grow here. The acidic white grape Smederevka is produced around its namesake town of Smederevo. The region also produces reds and good Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the west, the Pocerina region with its undulating hills around the mountain of Cer is a Pinot Noir specialist. West Morava gives us Prokupac, Vranac, and even some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Looking east toward Bulgaria, Timok produces Vranac, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat Hamburg, Chardonnay, Rheinriesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The large region of South Morava gives us a range of grapes, including the reds Prokupac, Vranac, and Cabernet Sauvignon, ands the whites Graševina and Chardonnay.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. More than half of the 193 member states of the United Nations, including the United States, have recognized its independence, but Serbia continues to claim the region as its sovereign territory. Serbia will have to recognize Kosovo as independent if it is to have any chance of joining the EU. War seriously hampered Kosovo’s wine industry, but now it is rehabilitating its pre-war reputation for choice Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Chardonnay.