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Drop by drop, glass by glass, wine by wine
6 days / 5 nights
Following the famous motto In vino veritas – which probably means the joy of life, we offer you the 6 days road ride, where you will taste the best wines from the region of Macedonia. Along the road we will visit the best wineries as Stobi, Elenovi, Kamnik, Tikves, Kir-Yianni, Alpha Estate, Ktima Ligas, Dalamara. In the same time we’ll see some holly places from the history of European civilisation like: Stobi, Heraklea, Naoussa, Veria, Vergina, The tomb of Filip II, the father of Alexander the Great, the city of Pella, his birthplace and former capital of Antic Macedonia.
After arrival transfer to the 4* hotel Romantik situated at the Mladost Lake, near the city of Veles, 40 km south from Skopje airport. Accommodation and welcome drink including canapés. Overnight.
After the breakfast, morning is free for leisure, walking and strolling around the lake and the beautiful nature. At 11 AM - excursion is planned to visit one of the most impressive, the best, and by the highest new technology equipped, Stobi Winery. The first stop on our route, is at the ruins of the ancient city of Stobi - Dating from Hellenic period 217 BC was a part of Paeonia, later conquered by Macedon, and later turned into the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris. Located on the main road that leads from Danube to the Aegean Sea, where the Erigón River – now River Crna, joins the Axiós River – now Vardar, making it strategically important, as a center for both trade and warfare. It is considered by many, to be one of the most famous archaeological sites in this area.
In the beginning of the 20th century all public and private buildings in the city, as the main theater, dating from the 3rd century, and religious artifacts from the central and western part of the town was discovered. Later on 23 Slavic graves, the Bronze statues from the classical and archaic periods, ceramic objects from the Neolithic era, Synagogue and as the most significant - Casa Romana. The aqueduct network of Stobi 2 revealed more mosaics. When in eighties Episcopal basilica was unearthed, it confirmed predictions concerning the religion, culture and daily life of its population. After 1,5 hrs with a local English speaking guide on the very place, we are on the way to Stoby Winery.
Located in the municipality of Gradsko, just near by this beautiful ancient city of Stobi, where it gets its name and a logo from - extends on thousands of hectares around - the newest and most modern designed Stobi Winery. About 12,000 hectares are planted in the Tikvesh wine region. As the Mediterranean climate from the south collides with the Continental climate from the north, it creates an area most remarkable for grape growing and wine production on the entire Balkan Peninsula.
This unique wine region has its own local, traditional varieties that are well known. Thus, the most famous grape variety is Vranec, which accounts for almost 50% of the total vineyards planted with red grapes. However, this region has proved to be an excellent breeding ground for international grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Traminec and many others. The capacity of the winery is 4.5 million litres, out of which 1.2 million litres are projected for fermentation. Stobi production is based exclusively on grapes grown on their own vineyards treated by the latest technological advancements in the overall process and all the steps of production in order to ensure not only the top quality, but also to be approved by their consumptions by the message: "Taste our wine and give yourself the passion of life". The most popular from the Stobi winery are: R’kaciteli, Antigona, Stobi Cuvee, Chardonay Barrique, Merlot Barrique, Vranec Veritas, Rose Allegro, Roxana and ect. Our program includes visit to the Stobi vineyard, visit to the Winery and the whole process of production, as well as refreshment, tasting of wines and at the end, late lunch in the modern Stobi restaurant.
It will be the historical, cultural and culinary experience you’ll never forget.
At 6 PM – return back to the hotel.
At 8 PM – Dinner. Overnight
After breakfast check out from the hotel Romantik. At 9 AM - starts our whole day road ride throughout Macedonians well known wineries.
After half an hour drive we are in front, of one of the biggest and oldest wineries in Balkan region – The Tikvesh Winery. As early as in Roman times, a tradition in Macedonia was flourishing - a tradition to craft enchantingly powerful wines exhibiting the scent of the south, having a symphonic flavor and epitomizing the joyfulness of Macedonians. Tikveš Winery is one of the most important creators of this tradition. For more than 1250 years, the sky, land, sun and vineyards in the south of Europe, each with its own share, have been a part of the story about Tikveš wines. Tikveš Winery has been crafting and aging premium Macedonian wines, ever since 1885.
At the late 70's of the 20th century agro-combine Tikveš is founded by merging several smaller agricultural cooperatives. Tikveš becomes the largest winery in Southeast Europe. At 1973 the wine "T’ga za jug", in honor of Struga Poetry Evenings, was crafted. A star is born. Winery TIKVES produces 24 types of wine, out of which the most attractive are: T'ga za jug, Traminec, Kratoshija, Chardonay, Alexandria – Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexandria – Riesling, and the famous Tikveš grape brandy – Lozova rakija – Zolta. At the Wine Innovation Forum in Paris – 2008 Tikveš Winery was ranked among the world’s 30 most innovative wine brands. Visiting winery in 2,5 hrs includes introduction of the whole process of making wine by the local English speaking guide as tasting the best wine products.
In continue, we’ll visit the last winery for today. More than 80 years old and well known as Royal Winery of ELENOVI, Kralska Kapia, built under the protection of the former Serbian King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and his wife Marija.
Winery Elenovi has capacity to maintain 4.500t of grape. It fabricate both white and red sorts of grape but most of all: Vranec and Smederevka. Part of the produced wine of 400.000 l is stored in wooden barrels, and the rest of the vine goes to in-ox tanks. Elenovi as one of the oldest winery in the Balkans. It was built to serve the king. The royal winery continues for nearly a century, to produce quality wines. Surrounded by the beautiful low green hills with the small church just in front, Elenovi winery with its royal elegancy and quietness of its old shadow threes, is the best place to finish the day by tasting the best of their brand wines, as Vila Marija including the lunch.
At 6 PM – we continue our tour by the coach to the city of Bitola one of the oldest in Macedonia.
At 8 PM – Arrival to the 4* Hotel Rustico, located in Sirok Sokak Street, just in the city centre. Accommodation and dinner at the hotel.
At 9 AM – after breakfast, we check out from the hotel and continue our tour towards Greece to explore the best wineries in this area as some of the most important ancient, cultural and historical sites.
First stop is HERAKLEA - Famous for its dazzling mosaics, ancient theater and Roman baths, Heraclea is the most vividly preserved city from the surviving Ancient Macedonian Empire in the country. Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Macedonian city situated 2 km south of the present-day town of Bita. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC, after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis and incorporated it into his kingdom of Macedon. The city was named in honor of the mythological Greek hero Heracles. The epithet Lyncestis means "the Land of the Lynx" in Greek and was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon's border with Epirus to the west, and to the non-Greek world to the north, until the middle of the 42nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The Romans divided Macedonia into 4 regions and Heraclea was one of those.
First excavations were done before World War I, but it’s since then have the full glories of the ancient city been discovered as beautiful Roman baths, the Episcopal church and baptistery, a Jewish temple, portico and a Roman theater now used for summer concerts and theater performances, all stand proud in excellent condition. The Roman Theater on the hill, whose ruins where unearthed in the late 1960's, was constructed during Emperor Hadrian's 20-year reign. He is credited with building as well as restoring many structures in the province of Macedonia.
After 1,5 hrs guided tour through Heraklea we are on the way to the small mountain city of Florina and the first well known Greece Winery ALPHA-ESTATE – where Alpha represents the "new beginning", the "birth" of a new era in the world of Greek wine. Makis Mavridis, a third generation skilled grape grower, and Angelos Iatridis, the winemaker, educated in Bordeaux, trained in France, Italy and Greece and ''good father'' to many international well known Greek wines, planted a 65ha vineyard in the Amyndeon region in the late 1990's. The winery equipment installed satisfies the winemaker philosophy: Absolute respect to the ecosystem, the winegrower and the wine lover. Upon the tasting of the best wines of Alpha Estate Winery, as Xinomavro - extremely special red sort of grape characteristic for this area, we’ll have our original fish lunch down the Petria Lake restaurant surrounded by the breathtaking nature.
At 3 PM – we are back in our coach and on the road to the city of Naoussa and Winery KIR YANNI. The Kir-Yianni Estate in Naoussa is located in the area of Yiannakohori, at the highest point of the viticulture zone. The Estate was bought by the Boutari family in the late 1960’s. The vineyard lies on an altitude of 280-300 meters and has a total surface of 58 ha (40.3 of which are planted). It is divided into 40 parts based on the soil properties, the relief and the different varieties-clones. The vineyard’s soil is representative of the different soil types of the Naoussa zone, dominated by sandy clay to sandy clay loam soils. The climate of the region is characterized by abundant rain and snow during winter and spring, and dry conditions in summer. The vineyard is planted with Xinomavro (50%), Syrah (15%), Merlot (20%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), while the rest of the area is planted with various experimental varieties. The winery is a modern unit, fully equipped for making, ageing in barrels and bottling all the products of the Estate. It has inox fermentation tanks with temperature control systems and a total capacity of 350 tons. The underground cellar has 800 American and French barrels of 225 and 500 L used for ageing and fermentation. An above-ground, air-conditioned storage room is used for keeping the bottles destined for ageing and for final packaging. In the Estate, there is an old listed building called koula or konaki, which is in restoring process to be used as a residence of the family. We’ll be introduced with the winery production and have a routine wine tasting, where after we continue to the city of Veria.
Even by the standards of Greece, Veria is an old city, first mentioned in the writings of Thucydides in 432 BC. Veria was an important possession for Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) and later for 5 the Romans. Apostle Paul famously p,reached in the city, and its inhabitants were among the first Christians in the Empire. Later, under the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Veria was a center of Greek culture and learning. Today Veria is a commercial center, the capital of the regional unit of Imathia and the seat of a metropolitan bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece.
At 8 PM – Arrive to Veria, accommodation at the central located 4* Hotel Makedonia. Dinner in the national restaurant just near by. Overnight.
At 9 AM – After the breakfast we leave the hotel and again take our step, into the old world of Hellenic history visiting archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) The city of Aigai, the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece. The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground with more than 300 tumuli, some of which date from the 11th century B.C. One of the royal tombs in the Great Tumulus is identified as that of Philip II, who conquered all the Greek cities, paving the way for his son Alexander and the expansion of the Hellenistic world. You will be amazed by this extraordinary historical site. At 11 AM – We continue our trip to the small, private ecological Winery of DALAMARA, where wine is produced after the French methodology and by the organic grapes. Very original, picturesque, old fashion and romantic place owned by the Dalmara Family since 1840. Wine tasting here will include the lunch in the old cellar – restaurant. At 2,30 PM – We continue to Pella, the ancient capital of King Archelaus of Macedonia at the end of the 5th century BC, and birthplace of Alexander the Great. Originally known as Bounomos, the city developed rapidly under Philip II, but, after the defeat of the last Macedonian king by the Romans (168 BC), it became a small provincial town.
Around 4 PM after Pella and half an hour drive, we arrive to the next organic well known winery KTIMA LIGAS. Since ancient times, the region of Pella was associated with wine making and described as "the mother of wine, where vines abound". The god of wine, wreathed in vine leaves in these extraordinary mosaics, seems to have found fertile, hallowed ground here in Pella. The region has always been host to great vineyard with a long tradition. It was here, that the tragic poet Euripides wrote and staged his last play, Bacchae. Having studied oenology in France, Thomas Ligas began, in 1985. to study the local ecosystems, exploring viticulture and vinification, and seeking to accentuate the distinctive qualities of this terror. The grape varieties that grow in Ktima Ligas estate to produce wines are Roditis, Assyrtiko, Kydonitsa, Sauvignon blanc for white, and Xinomavro, Limniona, Merlot for red. Short walking tour, wine tasting and we continue back to Gevgelia, situated on the banks of Vardar River just across the border of Greece.
Accommodation at the 4* luxurious Hotel Flamingo – amazing casino “Mecca” for all who like to play some game of luck, where we’ll have our dinner first and the whole night free for fun, gamble and games.
In the morning after the breakfast, we have some time free for a walk, through the beautiful hotel’s park. At 10 AM we will continue our last day tour, towards Skopje. We’ll have 1 hrs panorama city tour, passing by the main sites as the Main Square, Old Railway Station, Rustic Palace, Parliament, The City Theatre, the Old Charshia…
In continue we’ll have refreshment and the lunch stop, in one of the city's oldest restaurant, well known by its traditional Macedonian cuisine. For the topic of our wine road ride we’ll visit the Winery KAMNIK, located by the northern side of Skopje, just on our way to the airport. One of the best, Macedonia original wine producers, Kamnik is not well known only by its highest wine qualities but also by the original and the best of its kind restaurant and the whole estate area worth to be seen. Having the wine tasting in highest range of decorated hunting interior of Kamnik winery up to the absolute perfection, we are at the end of our first visit to the wineries of Macedonian Region. But we are sure - this will not be the last one.
At 4, 15 PM – We are at the Skopje Airport – checking in for the flight back home. Skål! Cheers!