Usually around this time of year thoughts turn to preparations for wine picking parties. A whole weekend is dedicated to the picklng of the grapes at family-owned vineyards and the whole family comes to lend a hand. The hills resound with encouraging music, often an accordion player comes to give the proceedings a really traditional feel. And at the end of a hard day's work, there's a big meal to satisfy the hungry crew. Despite being tired, the party usually goes on well into the early hours.
This year Slovenia's commercial winemakers have harvested a few weeks earlier than usual. There are two reasons behind the earlier ripening of the grapes. The first is that there has been plenty of rain, which is good news for winegrowers. The other is the the real heat of the summer came a little later than usual. In Istria on the coast, the first grapes were picked in mid-August. These grapes will be used for sparkling wines. The large companies are extremely positive and are predicting not only a bumper crop but good quality too.
Those who prefer the less exhausting activity of tasting the wine, rather than growing and picking the grapes, will have to wait a little longer. Slovenia celebrates the arrival of the new wine on 11 November, St Martin's Day with at roast goose and all the trimmings at home, or at big open air events in town centres, one of the most anticipated events of the year.