You might have heard of Tvrdoš Monastery as the cradle of Orthodoxy in southern Herzegovina, but this spiritual centre has gained a global fame thanks to something else - its renowned viticulture. Set in a pretty much scenic decor of the karstic elevation along the right bank of the Trebišnjica River and surrounded by bountiful vines and orchards, this monastery treasures a centuries-old tradition of wine-making. In fact, their winery houses a 15th-century stone cellar and hundred-year-old oak barrels. No wonder that the Tvrdoš winery and its gold-winning wines made by monks have an excellent reputation among sommeliers. All this has been confirmed recently when “Grand Reserve Vranac“ from the Tvrdoš Wine Cellars won a gold medal at the most prestigious Decanter 2018 World Wine Awards. So, if you want to know more about the best wine that Bosnia & Herzegovina has to offer, keep reading.
Just like in France, Italy, Spain and other wine-producing countries, Bosnia & Herzegovina is no exception when it comes to the wine-making origins. Thanks to the monks in monasteries, who were the first to establish the wine-making estates, the grapevine growing and wine production techniques were preserved over the centuries. After the downfall of the medieval Serbian state, the monks were those who maintained the spirituality, but also the wine-making practice. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many Serbian monasteries have a long tradition of wine-making, preserved until today. One of them, with the 500-year-old tradition, and most important monastic wine-making in Bosnia & Herzegovina, is the Tvrdoš Monastery.
Less than two decades ago, the monks of this monastery restarted the wine-production, that was put on hold for a long time. Firstly, they revitalised the 70-hectare-large grapevine in Trebinjsko Polje, where the old estates of the local sort called “Vranac” were grown. Moreover, they also enlarged the grapevine by planting an additional 60 hectares of new vineyards in the valley of Popovo Polje. Blessed by pleasant sub-Mediterranean climate and exceptionally fertile land, this region has ideal conditions for wine-producing. Besides the indigenous grape varieties “Vranac” and “Žilavka”, other sorts such as “Chardonnay”, “Merlot”, and “Cabernet” are planted as well. This unexpected fusion of varieties is what distinguishes the wines of Tvrdoš on the market. The monastery has two cellars – the 15th- century stone cellar with hundred-year-old oak barrels for “Vranac” and the new cellar with the latest technology including the gravitational transport of wines during the processing.
In less than 20 years since the monastic wine-making in Tvrdoš Monastery was revitalized, their high-quality wines have received many international awards. Since the awards list is rather long, let’s just mention the most recent one – the gold medal of Decanter 2018 World Wine Awards, for “Grand Reserve Vranac 2009“. The good news is that you can also taste those gold-winning wines made by monks if you visit the Tvrdoš Winery, located only 6 km from the lovely city of Trebinje. And before you leave, you will be able to purchase some of the best wines that Bosnia & Herzegovina has to offer.
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