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Rooted in Tradition
Winegrowing boasts a rich and storied tradition in the Dolenjska region (historically Lower Carniola). Vines were cultivated in these lands already by the Ancient Romans, in the vicinity of their town Neviodunum whose remnants lie on the site of the village Drnovo near Krško. They likewise planted vineyards across the slopes of Dolenjska's hills, around Leskovec by Krško and the contemporary Šentjernej. The fall of the Roman Empire carried with it a decline in local wine production, revived eventually by the Catholic Church in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Then, one of the largest and most splendid wine cellars in Lower Carniola was the Bajnof Cellar in Trška Gora. The Cistercians of Bajnof shipped their wines to imperial Vienna, proof of their outstanding quality. Winemaking flourished on in the 13th century when the diligent monks of Kostanjevica began planting their vines on the ideal sites of Dolenjska. In the 15th century, this part was thus criss-crossed by extensive, nicely kept vineyards. In that age of history, the local wine specialty Cviček was popular far and wide, being transported by cart or boat to Ljubljana and from there distributed across the Habsburg Monarchy. Indeed, the history of Cviček is full of ups and downs.
Organized winegrowing and winemaking across the Dolenjska district began with the establishment of the Winemaking Cooperative in Kostanjevica on Krka in 1928. The state of the economy and the phylloxera epidemic decimating the vineyards compelled the local producers to form a specialized cooperative, working on restoring the land and directing the sales and marketing of Dolenjska wines, especially the already established Cviček.
Commercial and political consolidation grew further post 1970 with the opening of the first cooperative bottling plant, the expansion of cellar spaces, purchase of vineyards and thriving long-term relationships with private producers.
The current Agricultural Cooperative Krško was founded in 1993 and also owns its own vineyards on the Sremič estate where we make premium white, red and predicate wines. Grapes for the production of Cviček PTP are purchased from cooperative members.
The Cviček Consortium was established soon after, with the intent of preserving the traditional ways of making our specialty Cviček PTP and reaching for higher price tiers to ensure the prosperity of the winemakers of Dolenjska. We do this through common promotional efforts, characterised by our staple screw cap design displaying the trademark majolica jug and the consortium's name.
In our authentic yet contemporary castle cellar, the winemakers of the Krško Agricultural Cooperative make wines catering to the higher price bracket, satisfying the growing demands of the market. The cellar's capacities hold four million litres. We produce 1.5 million litres of wine yearly, of which 90 percent is Cviček PTP and the rest local varietals and premium wines from the Sremič sites.
Most important among our wines is certainly Cviček PTP, a wine like no other. The local specialty is a blend of red (Blaufränkisch, Žametna Črnina) and white grape varieties (Rdeča Kraljevina, Welschriesling, Rumeni Plavec, Grüner Silvaner). Aside the Chianti of Tuscany, the Cviček is the only established wine in the world blending red and white varieties together. Cviček PTP, with its characteristic red label portraying the old castle cellar, is a popular staple in Slovenia. Its qualities are low alcohol, a pleasant acidity and wholesome health benefits.
Throughout the years, good practices in the production of Cviček raised it to a level of respected and appreciated wine, though legislation was slow in admitting its protection and historical significance. The pressing need to legally protect Cviček emerged after the first restoration of the vineyards, when Cviček of considerably higher quality and production cost struggled to compete with cheaper mass product.
The people of Dolenjska finally succeeded in protecting their Cviček in 22 February 2001, when the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the Wine Act, granting the wine the title of Recognised Traditional Denomination (PTP), rewarding the long years of the Cviček lovers of Dolenjska's efforts and merits by specifying that Cviček PTP wine can only originate from the right bank of the River Sava, meaning the Dolenjska winegrowing district.