The Serbian wine industry is showing signs of significant growth, as evidenced by In Vino, an annual international wine festival that has been held in Belgrade since 2004 on an annual basis. Also, since 2010, an annual international wine fair is held at the Belgrade Fair, named "Beo Wine Fair".
Harvest season in Serbia begins in July (first grapes for eating fresh) and ends in October (last grapes for wine making).
The history of wine-making in Serbia dates back to prehistory. Viticulture was rich during the Roman period. Wine has been part of Serbian culture since the establishment of statehood, especially during the reign of the Nemanjić dynasty (XII-XIV century), which encouraged and promoted viticulture.
Former Yugoslavia was among the top-ten world wine producing countries. At its peak in the 1970s, it produced over 6 million hectolitres annually. However, largely due to the constraints of the socialist state, emphasis was put on quantity rather than quality. Many wines were mass-produced in large agricultural combines such as Navip and Rubin, with generally low quality standards in all stages of the wine-making process. The 1980s saw a sharp decline in production and exports, a development that continued in the 1990s with the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the subsequent breakdown of the Serbian economy.
But in the 2000s, Serbian winemaking started not only to recover, but to take a sharp and decisive turn towards quality and distinction. Numerous small and medium privately owned wineries entered the market, often run as family businesses, and with very high regard for standards of quality and taste.
Some near-forgotten traditions, such as Bermet of Sremski Karlovci, have been revived. The country's economic recovery also contributed to increase of domestic consumption. Wine production in 2004 was 1,550,000 litres. Wine consumption per capita is 16 liters (2006). Still, only 5% of domestic production is exported (2004-2007 data), most of it into neighboring countries, and chiefly in bulk. High-quality and quality wines constitute about 35% of production.
The most important Serbian vineyard areas are situated in Timok valley (250 km to the east from Belgrade), in the area of Vršac (100 km to the north-east from Belgrade), on the slopes of Fruška Gora (80 km to the north-west from Belgrade), in the Subotica area (200 km to the north from Belgrade), Šumadija (100 km to the south-west from Belgrade) and Župa (230 km to the south-east from Belgrade).
According to a classification from the 1970s, Serbia has nine winemaking regions, each with several subregions:
- Timok region, in eastern Serbia, around Timok river valley
- Nišava-South Morava region in southern Serbia, in valleys of eponymous rivers
- West Morava region in central Serbia, along the lower flow of the river
- Šumadija-Great Morava region in central Serbia, the largest one by area
- Pocerina region, in western Serbia, around the mountain of Cer
- Srem region, around Fruška Gora mountain in the province of Vojvodina
- Banat region, around Vršac Mountains in eastern Vojvodina
- South Banat subregion
- North Banat subregion
- Subotica-Horgoš region in northern Vojvodina
- Kosovo (Metohija) region, in central Kosovo[note 1]
In light of revival of winemaking industry of Serbia, Serbian Ministry of Agriculture in 2008 launched an initiative for reform of Serbian laws on winemaking, and re-classification of wine regions. A revised region classification was issued in 2013, defining 22 regions without subregions, and specifying their borders and characteristics in detail.
- Pocerina–Valjevo region
- Negotinska Krajina region
- Knjaževac region
- Mlava region
- Toplica region
- Niš region
- Nišava region
- Leskovac region
- Vranje region
- Čačak–Kraljevo region
- Three Moravas region
- Belgrade region
- Šumadija region
- Srem region
- Subotica region
- Telečka region
- Potisje region
- Banat region
- South Banat region
- Bačka region
- North Metohija region (Kosovo)
- South Metohija region (Kosovo)
Major varieties include the Belgrade Seedless, Prokupac, Sauvignon blanc, "Italian Riesling", Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc and Pinot noir, Hamburg, Muscat, Afus Ali, Vranac, Tamjanika, Krstač, Smederevka, and Dinka. Some rare varieties survive in Serbia, too, such as the Muscat Crocant and Otelo.
The eldest authentic grape sorts are considered to be Prokupac and Tamjanika. Prokupac is the sort of red wines and was known even in early Middle Ages, while Tamjanika is a Muscat sort originated from Southern France, known in Serbia for more than 500 years.
White wines constitute about 64% of production, and red about 36%.
- Prokupac, dates back to Middle Ages
- Krajinsk Tamjanika Crna-Muscadel of roses black (indigenous in Negotinska Krajina, but also other EU regions)
- Tamjanika, a Muscat sort that originated in Southern France, but has been grown in Serbia for more than 500 years.
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by 112 out of 193 United Nations member states, while 12 states have recognized Kosovo only to later withdraw their recognition.
- "Fruit industry of Serbia" (PDF). Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency.
- "Wine Fair announced in Belgrade". B92. 2011-02-16.
- "Yugoslavia". The Oxford Companion to Wine. Archived from the original on 2008-03-28.
- As an example of a yet earlier than 2000s return of family vineyard plot to the family after having previously been expropriated by the Communists, see Miodrag Kojadinović's piece Nostalgia, the Colour of Wine.
- Vlahović B; Puškarić A; Maksimović B. (2009). "Competitiveness of wine export from the Republic of Serbia" (PDF).
- "Vinogradarski rejoni Srbije (granice i sortiment)" (PDF) (in Serbian). Serbian Ministry of Agriculture. 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
- "Poziv ministra" (PDF) (in Serbian). Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. 2008.
- "Rejonizacija". Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy (Serbia). 14 November 2013.
- Vitis International Variety Catalogue VIVC. Julius Kühn-Institut Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen (JKI) http://www.vivc.de. Retrieved 01.12.2017. Check date values in:
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- Pilipović Sanja (2013). "Wine and the vine in Upper Moesia archaeological and epigraphic evidence". Balcanica. 44 (44): 21–34. doi:10.2298/BALC1344021P.
- Map of wine regions of Serbia according to the 2013 classification (in Serbian)
- Wine Style, Serbian magazine specialized for wine and spirits (in Serbian)
- Serbian wine routes, Serbian Tourist organization
- "Istorija i geografija srpskog vinogradarstva i vinarstva.pdf" (PDF) (in Serbian). Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. pp. 24–26.