Grape vine story

Descendants of The World Oldest Vine from Slovenia in Australia

Modra Kavčina -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 centre 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 450 years old. The ripe old age is proved by two paintings dated 1657 and 1681 and is 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.

The Mayor of Maribor, Boris Sovič, gifted descendants of the vine to the Shire of Yarra Ranges, in Victoria in 1999. After two years of required quarantine in Australia, one graft was planted at McWilliams Lilydale Vineyards on 23 September 2001 by Councillor Di Moore of the Shire of Yarra Ranges. This established the connection between the region of Štajerska, 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, 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 – Štajerska and Victoria.

Authorised by SAATCE-Vinko Rizmal koordinator