Slovenian descendants of the World's Oldest Vine from Maribor

Shire of Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia

Australian project

  Historical Facts


The world’s oldest grapevine, the queen of grapes from Maribor, Slovenia is over four hundred year old is still giving fruit and is going strong .

Modra Kavčina/Žametna Črnina-Velvety Black, is one of the oldest varieties of vine in Slovenia. In the wine growing region of Maribor the grapevine was widely spread as early as the times of the Celts and Romans. In the Middle Ages Maribor became the center of successful wine trade that contributed to the economic development of the town. Documents of the Benedictine monastery from St. Paul in Carinthia dating back to 1091 are the first evidence for the wine growing in the area of Maribor. The Old Vine growing in the central part of the city of Maribor Slovenia is over 400 years old. The ripe old age is proved by two paintings dated 1657 and 1681 and are kept in the Provincial Museum in Maribor. These paintings show the old vine growing on a pergola on the façade of the house in Vojasniška 8 on Lent. However the venerable age of the vine was proven in 1972, specialist measurements carried out by the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana.
Today wine growing is an important activity in the wider area of the region. The biggest classical underground wine cellar in the middle of the city is as big as 20.000 m2.
Thus it is no accident that in the central part of the city on Lent next to Drava River a more than 400-year-old grapevine still grows today. It is due to its old venerable age that the vine got a nickname the “Old Vine” – Queen of grapes.
The Old Vine was protected in 1981 by the special decree of the Municipality of Maribor, and at that time a group of specialists started rescuing the decaying of the Old Vine.
After the revitalization of the Old Vine the yearly pruning has become a resounding event. Each year the city of Maribor gives a graft as a present to another town or community as a sign of friendship and co-operation. The grape harvest has also become a real city festival. Thousands of citizens of Maribor and prominent representatives of the state and of Diplomatic Corps and many others come to watch the grape harvest. On average the Old Vine has yielded 35 to 55 kg of grapes yearly in the last decade.
After fermentation the wine is filled into 2,5 dcl bottles which Oskar Kogoj artistically designs. Each year up to 100 bottles of wine made from the Old Vine are filled. They are at the mayor’s disposal for protocol. A Certificate with a serial number and the vintage year accompanies each bottle. The originality is guaranteed by the Maribor seal from the year 1520 and by the city vinedresser. Among others, pope John Paul II and the American president Bill Clinton were the recipients of the bottle.     

The OLDEST VINE in AUSTRALIA – Handover Ceremony: 25th June 2001

The Vine was handed over by Mr. And Mrs. Razdevšek, official representative of Mayor of Maribor Mr. Boris Sovič. 

A Graft from more than 400 years old vine known as THE OLDEST VINE from Slovenia planted in Australia on 23rd September 2001 

International and local representatives witness the handover of a 400 year old grape vine from the Mayor of Maribor to the Mayor of Shire of Yarra Ranges.

The handover took place at a function at Prahran Town Hall on 30 June 2001.

The Mayor of Maribor, Boris Sovic, gifted a graft of the vine to the Shire of Yarra Ranges, in Victoria in 1999. After two years of required quarantine in Australia, Councillor Di Moore of the Shire of Yarra Ranges planted the graft at McWilliams Lillydale Vineyards on 23 September 2001. This established the connection between the region of Stajerska, the association of winegrowers of the Yarra Valley and the Shire of the Yarra Ranges. The facilitator and the initiator of the Old Vine Project, Vinko Rizmal has, with the vital support of Australian and Slovenian participating organizations and individuals, made the festival into an important local community event; as well as of intercultural exchange, linking the two wine-growing regions – Stajerska and Victoria.

One cutting from the famous 400 years old Vine from Slovenia was planted by Cr Di Moore – Mayor of the Shire of Yarra Ranges Victoria Australia, on 23rd September 2001 in the presence of some 400 joyful guests.

As a sign of respect and cooperation, the City of Maribor each year donates a graft of the Old Vine with an official document of its originality to a selected friendly city.

List of recipients of the Oldest vine graft from Maribor


Tours – Francija * Lipnica – Avstrija * Vatikan * Katsunuma – Japonska * BadReichenhall – ZRN * Shire  of Yarra Ranges – Vic Australia *Gap – Francija * Stuttgart – ZRN * Petange – Luksemburg * Gradec – Avstrija * Fredensborg Castle severno od Kopenhagna – Danska * Malbork – Poljska * Zagreb – Hrvaška * Kolan – Hrvaška * Herisau – Švica *Malta * Sant Sadurni d ‘Anoia, Barcelona – Španija


Brežice, Dobrovnik, Gornja Radgona, Koper, Kranj, Kungota, Lendava, Ljubljana , Ljutomer, Maribor, Metlika, Moravske Toplice, Novo mesto, Pesnica, Ptuj, Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenske Konjice, Šentjernej, Šentjur pri Celju.

List of official recipients of The Oldest Vine graft in Australia:



Donated as a gift to the devoted organisations and individuals for their contribution and support of the Oldest vine project in Australia by Vinko Rizmal – SAATCE / Australian Old Vine Coordinato

* Vinko & Elica Rizmal – SAATCE Monbulk – Project Coordinator
* Shire of Yarra Ranges – Burrinja Cultural Centre Upwey Vic
* Slovenian Religeus Centre – Kew Melbourne
*Slovenian Sport Association St Albans
*Slovenian Club Ivan Cankar Geelong
*Slovenian Club Planica Springvale – Bangholme, VIC
*Slovenian – Australian Association of Canberra
*Family Mimica & Frank Vodusek
*Family Jozica & Brian Paddle-Ledinek on belhalf of Lestro-Ledinek company from Maribor Slovenia
*Ms Janet Holmes a Court WA – International supporter and promoter of Slovenian Festival Maribor

 September 2010 Župan MOM Franc Kangler – protokolarna predaja – zahvala dosedanjemu mestnemu viničarju Tonetu Zafošniku in predaja odgovornosti novemu mestnemu viničarju Stanetu Kocutarju

September 2010, protocol transfer – The Mayor Franc Kangler – thanking to the retiring city’s vinedresser  Mag.Tone Zafošnik and transferring responsibility to
 Mag. Stane Kocutar, who was honoured to have been chosen for this job by his predecessor Mag. Tone Zafošnik.

Mayor – Shire of Yarra Ranges Len Cox & Mayor – City of Maribor Franc Kangler 
Old Vine Project Coordinator  Vinko Rizmal

Yarra Ranges Festival Melbourne  & The Oldest vine Festival Maribor

Avstralski ambient na domačiji “The Oldest Vine Estate” , koordinatorja projekta na področju občine Yarra Ranges
The Oldest Vine Estate Shire of Yarra Ranges

” The Australian story” – THE OLDEST VINE ESTATE – Monbulk Australia

HIMNA POTOMKI NAJSTAREJŠE TRTE v AVSTRALIJI  /   The Oldest vine hymn – Australia

Music Vinko Rizmal / Lirics Metka Ravnjak Jauk / Artists Duo Platin