Slovenia boasts a rich cultural heritage. Known for its spectacular Postojna Karst Cave and the fairy-tale like Lake Bled, yet this country has so much more to offer.

Surrounded by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, this mountainous country has historically been the crossroads of Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages and cultures. Over half of the territory is covered by forest so when you are going to Slovenia by plane, make sure you get a window seat in order to enjoy the view of magnificent mountains dotted with lush and rolling green valleys.

Rolling Hills in Brda Slovenia

The Lush Rolling Hills in Brda


Slovenia is also a paradise for foodies and wine lovers. Just flip through this mouth-watering online magazine called ‘Taste Slovenia,‘ published by its tourism board, featuring all the regional Slovenian cuisines and you might already want to book a flight!

Wines are equally exciting. Slovenia has a very long history of winemaking and grapes are mainly grown in three wine regions: Primorska (west), Posavje (southeast) and Podravje (northeast).  In 1823, the Archduke Johann of Austrian ordered “all noble vine varieties that exist” to be planted on his property in Maribor, Podravje. Since then, many international grape varieties, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Noir were introduced to inland Slovenia.

The westernmost Slovenian wine region, Primorska, is the most important amongst the three. There are around 6,490 hectares of vineyards in the region. Being close to the Italian border, you can no doubt sense the Italian influence.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Goriška Brda (or ‘Brda’) in the north of the Primorska region, which is right across the Italian border. Though in fact, it is very difficult to know the real border line, Brda can probably be seen as a continuation of Collio Goriziano region across the border in Friuli, Italy.

A view from Ljubilana Castle in Slovenia

A View from Ljubljana Castle


Coming from the capital city Ljubljana by car, it takes around 1.5 hours to reach Brda.  Not long after leaving the motor way, you will find yourself in Italy, driving around somewhere in Udine!  But then, all of a sudden, you will see a verdant countryside and notice a tiny sign saying “Slovenia,” you know you are back in the country again.

My destination was the biggest wine cooperation in Slovenia, Klet Brda, in the village of Dobrovo. Driving pass some picturesque villages surrounded by undulating hills and vineyards, it is easy to see why Brda is dubbed “Slovenia’s Tuscany”.


Klet Brda Wine Cellar and Klet Brda Rebula Sparkling Wine and Krasno Wines

Klet Brda’s Wine Cellar and Bottle of Klet Brda Rebula Sparkling Wine and Krasno WInes


Being the biggest in the country, Klet Brda works with around 400 wine growers and only processes and produces wine from grapes grown in the region.  They have an impressive range of wine, white, red, rosé and sparkling, made from familiar grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon etc.  Not to forget also some local specialties such as Rebula (Ribolla Gialla in Italian) and Pikolit (Picolit in Italian).

Rebula is an ancient white grape variety from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, typically with light body, hint of floral and has refreshing acidity but can also be made in various styles. Here in Brda, the best Rebula are grown in the higher slopes to allow them to develop the flavours slowly but also to retain the acidity. Additionally, they make a special blend of Rebula and Sauvignon Blanc just for the UK market and can be purchased through Majestic Wine.


Pikolit Dessert Wine from Slovenia

Dessert paired with Pikolit Dessert Wine from Slovenia




Pikolit is another local specialty in the Italy-Slovenia border.  It is a white grape and became famous throughout Europe in the 18th century when Conte Fabio Asquini started to export the wine bottled in exquisite hand-made Murano glass and sold at a high price.  It is said that even the Pope liked it at the time.  However, the variety was almost extinct due to the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century.  Luckily some survived through it.  The plantings of Pikolit remain quite small in Slovenia.  Klet Brda has around 2 hectares and uses it to make a fantastic Pikolit dessert wine that has floral, peach, dried apricot and acacia honey aromas but sadly not yet available in the UK.





Quercus Pinot Bianco from Slovenia




Klet Brda has made some stunning Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco from their Quercus, Krasno and Bagueri ranges. Both are full of characters and expressive. Pinot Grigio is flavoursome, not the lighter style as their Veneto counterparts in Italy.  Pinot Bianco here is opulent on the palate.  It’s dry and refreshing with green apple and grapefruit flavours but also very food friendly.  Krasno Pinot Bianco can be found in Majestic Wine and Quercus Pinot Bianco is available through hundreds of Young’s Pub in the UK.








Klet Brda is open to tourists and wine lovers who love to try their wine. Tastings can be booked through their website .

Apart from wine tastings, don’t forget to visit the charming fortified village of Smartno, Dobrovo Castle, and to appreciate a panoramic view of Brda from Gonjace Tower.

And of course, make sure you enjoy lots of local wine and food!


Where to stay


The view from Hotel San Martin overlooking Smartno in Slovenia

Hotel San Martin 

They have a fantastic restaurant in the hotel and you can enjoy the striking view of the village Smartno from here.



Where to eat



Grad Dobrovo Restaurant

Address: Grajska cesta 10, 5212 DOBROVO V BRDIH

*They are right inside the Dobrovo Castle, offering regional cuisines.

Tuna capaccio in Primula Restaurant in Nova Gorica in Slovenia

Primula Restaurant 

Address: Soška cesta 40, 5000 Nova Gorica

*This is a fish restaurant by the river in Nova Gorica. Make sure you go to the roof terrace to enjoy the view before you go for the meal.





Leona de Pasquale wine correspondent for The Vintage Magazine


Leona de Pasquale DipWSET, The Vintage Magazine’s Wine Correspondent

Originally from Taiwan, Leona has been working in the wine industry for more than 10 years as freelance wine writer, translator and educator. She wrote and translated for Decanter Magazine (Chinese Edition in Taiwan), Le Pin Magazine in Hong Kong and is the UK & Europe Correspondent for the most influential wine and spirits magazine in Taiwan (Wine & Spirits Digest). She is also the translator for The World Atlas of Wine, American Wine and Natural Wine. She obtained her WSET Diploma in 2016.


Chalet St Peres in St Martin de Belleville

The Vintage Magazine, that is the editor and his wife, two daughters with accompanying husbands and their respective two children apiece recently spent a fabulous week skiing at St. Martin de Belleville, actually that is not technically correct, we stayed in St. Martin but skiied in the vast area of the Three Valleys (aka Les Trois Vallées if you are French) which incorporates,  Courcheval, Val Thorens, Méribel, Les Menuires, Saint Martin De Belleville, La Tania, Orelle and Brides les Bains; that makes 600 kilometres of slopes to explore and a resort to suit every taste and budget and every level of skiing ability from wonderfully groomed blue pistes to vertiginous couloirs.  There are in fact 321 Alpine ski runs made up of 51 green, 132 blue, 106 red and 32 black making this area perfect for families.

We chose St. Martin de Belleville as we had stayed here about 12 years ago and had fallen in love with the authentic charm of this Savoie region village but also because of the high speed gondolas and chairlifts which whisked us off and up into all the other ski areas.

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October 2015




Well, what a disastrous autumn we are having at least on two main counts: first the rugger World Cup. Not one home country or even a European one through to the semi finals. England failed to overcome their killer of a draw – by far the most difficult group in the entire competition – but my gut feeling is that they weren’t good enough to win the Cup anyway.  The same applies to Wales; Ireland had all their best players hobbling around on crutches for their last group match and Scotland were denied victory in the dying seconds by an incorrect decision by the referee.  As I write we are being slaughtered by the Pakistanis at cricket with the games being played in the UAE because it is not safe to play cricket in their own country.  What is the world coming to?  Secondly, our power stations are to be designed and installed by the Chinese.  As MATT portrayed in his Daily Telegraph cartoon, if we talk about the Dalai Llama all our lights will go out.  Why can’t we build our own power stations?  We always used to.

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It was Samuel Johnson who first pronounced that, ‘When a man tired of London, he was tired of life’, – well I believe that the same can be said about Provence.  In spite of the crowds in the height of the summer there is something very special about this vast area which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône River on the west, to the Italian border on the east, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the south and the Alpes Maritime to the north. So we made it our duty to visit as many of the iconic hotels and restaurants that we could manage in one week and to add a few of our personal favourites that we believe will become ‘must visit’ places on any bon vivant’s bucket list!

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, and a good wife, must be in want of a Caribbean Island.  Apologies to Jane Austin but these words could have been written for Colin Tennant.

He was born into an aristocratic, landed family with enormous wealth.  His education followed the well trodden route of the privileged, Eton, Irish Guards, and Oxford, ensuring the most advantageous start in life and affording him the luxury of doing whatever he liked.

What he liked doing was travelling, partying, and being in ‘Society’.

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The Young Colin Tennant on his Island of Mustique

The Vintage Magazine travel correspondent Paul Thomas is a former Fleet Street journalist and founded and ran what became a major consumer and tourism PR company in the 1980s and 1990s.  Today, taking it a little easier to enjoy vintage lifestyle, he is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, aids charities and also runs a film-making company,

Paul Thomas visits this unique, for some, eccentric time-warped country and asks if its time for a change.  Cuba, a communist land of vintage characteristics, prize cigars, rum, 1950s cars and music, music, music, is facing a classic challenge – change may be on the way.

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The farmer makes cigars

With the first recorded round of golf taking place in Edinburgh in around 1456, Brits have a deep and long-lived passion for this sport.  At first glance, the idea of a golf lover taking a cruise appears to be the strangest of matches – however look a little deeper and the opportunities a golf cruise offers become clear.

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Golf Course destinations on Golf Cruises

This quite fabulously beautiful, productive and wonderfully sensational land has, sadly, become synonymous in recent years with one of the most hated and despised abuser of all forms of human rights, torturer, genocidal maniac, destroyer of his country and all round big time baddy, Robert Mugabe.  But from the ashes of destruction, the land and hope of resurrection is gradually rising like the glimmer of sunlight in an early dawn.  So, let us go back a while and look at this bejewelled piece of God’s earth as it was only 130 years ago.

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Hwange National Park

Patagonia.  What does the word conjure up in your mind?  Its not a country, therefore has no demarcation line, no boundaries, no government or status in its own name.  It does, however cover a huge area and is a most important part of two countries – Argentina and Chile.  It’s really all the land roughly speaking south of latitude 42 degrees down to the Straits of Magellan.

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