Wine, The Eternal Inspiration of Ohrid
History of Wine and Life in The Ohrid Region
Since the beginning of wine, preparing and consuming quality red and white has been an unavoidable practice in the Ohrid region. If you are lucky enough to be born under this sky you are bound to have your life intertwined with the grapevine. It is believed, in Ohrid, that wine is considered to be God’s blood flow and God itself can be felt in every single grape and drop of wine. To be able to make, drink and share quality homemade wine means to be blessed and fortunate.
Wine always was, still is, and always will be a part of everyday life in Ohrid. From newborns’ celebrations to birthdays, name-days, holidays, weddings, and funerals. It is inevitable to find tables full of the wine on any of these occasions. Wine is much more than a drink here, it’s an entity and is often compared and spoken of in the same way as of a person. The life cycles of wine have the same traits as our lives. The wine is born, has its youth, matures, and dies away. And most importantly every wine has its own character. The most characteristic wines are long remembered and spoken of.
Ohrid Region Homemade Wine Tradition
The famous traveling writer Evliya Çelebi in his journals writes about Ohrid and the relationship between the locals and the sweet grape nectar. From his writings, we learn that viticulture was a huge part of everyday life and one taken as seriously as any other agricultural work. You could hardly find a household without at least a small garden planted with grapevines. Even just a little piece of land, to at least have enough wine for the family festivities and house guests.
The Secret Ingredients of Ohrid Family Wineries
Winemaking and wine imprinting were very important for the wealthier Ohrid families. Every one of them had its own wine, often named with the family name, that they made in a special way only known to them. These wines would all differ in taste and smell. This was achieved by adding secret ingredients to the wine. Fruit, berries, spices, pieces of different aromatic wood, etc… Some of them would travel to Istanbul and Thessaloniki only for that one special ingredient. A couple of kilograms of a unique spice or dried fruit from the orient is hardly found in the Ohrid region. They would also experiment with wood and make different wine barrels to achieve a different and more exquisite taste that would put the name of the family on top of the Ohrid wine chart.
Evliya Çelebi also mentions that the people in the Ohrid region are making a lot of wine, but consuming even more than they make. To make up for this they had to import more wine every year. Which we can confirm to be true, as it still happens today.
The Great Ohrid Winery of St.Naum Monastery
Some of the oldest records tell us about the great Ohrid winery of St.Naum Monastery. The most beautiful monastery by a lakeshore anywhere in the world. This can be considered the first mass-producing winery in the region. The monastery and church still exist today and can be visited, but there is nothing left of the winery. From the written archives we know that this winery had a huge wine cellar and was making around 65.000 liters of wine per year. It was also known for having the biggest wine barrel. A massive wooden cask that could hold 11.000 liters of wine.
We would love to host you in our winery and tell you more about the legends and tales of Ohrid winemaking. Wine tastes so much better accompanied by lively conversation!