THE BALKANS – GRAPE GROWING AND WINEMAKING
By Nikolin Svetlana
ECOULTOUR le mulțumește tuturor celor care sunt alături în lupta pentru educație și cultură!
Grape growing and wine production in the Balkan peninsula, southeast Europe have one of the most ancient histories in the world and it is not surprising that there are many colorful traditions connected with grapes and winemaking which can still be seen today in almost all regions of the Balkans. One of the most beautiful of them is held every year on February 14 and is called St Trifon Day.
In Orthodox Christian tradition, St Trifon is considered a patron saint of grape-growers and winemakers and on his day – 14th February, especially in Bulgaria and in some other central Balkans states, people go to their vineyards and ritually cut, prune, old grape branches with the prayers for good grape crop and successful wine-making in the autumn.
This tradition is always accompanied by symbolic ritual bread and wine and specially made food just for that day. Many times there is music and dance as well. This day dedicated to wine is national holiday in Bulgaria, great wine producer, where this beautiful tradition of grape branches pruning in vineyards is accompanied by lots of other events like folk dances, music, stalls with different wines and other grape products as well as other foods.
The whole family of my maternal grandfather was a family of grape-growers and winemakers and I remember well how they celebrated St Trifon Day with a lot of enthusiasm. It was a day when all wine-makers and grape-growers from the region got together, held a wine competition, had some wine experts give lectures on winemaking, and at the end had a good dinner together. I still have pictures in my mind of lovely decorations with grape leaves and branches all around the place where they held this celebration and still remember some songs they sang dedicated to grapes, wine, and nature.
For us, children, it was such an astonishing day as everything with winemaking and grape growing is where we enthusiastically used to assist as much as we could. The whole of the Balkan Peninsula today annually produces around 2 million tons of wine and is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world, after the largest wine-producing countries Italy, France, Spain, and the USA. In the last decades, the Balkan Peninsula “has made enormous progress in terms of the quality of its wines and can rightfully insist on its claim of becoming one of the key players in the global wine industry,” according to experts.
journalist/ editor in chief monthly news paper ‘Trgoprodukt’ (1982-1990)
freelance journalist from1990
editor in chief – non profit
intercultural magazin “XXI Century” (2006-2016)
independent researcher on intercultural dialogue, minorities and small ethnic communities of the Balkans (Banat Bulgarians, Aromanians)
specialised ”XXI Century” magazine editions:
”Palchens in Banat”
”Aromanians of Pancevo city”
Aegeo (Egej) travel book
‘Small anthology of Aromanian poetry’
‘ Aromanian old songs’
‘Aromanians in south Banat’/project book)
‘The nomads of the Balkans’ -(translation project book)
coordinator in NGO”In Medias Res” department for small ethnic communities and intercultural dialogue ( from 2006 to 2016)