VIDEO: The state encourages the production and promotion of Macedonian wine

Goran Jakovlevski, president of the Tikvesh family wineries association and Gjorgi Naumchev, oenologist/Photo: Sloboden Pechat/Dragan Mitreski

A few years ago, the Macedonian winemakers estimated that they could process their own grapes into wine and try to offer that product on the market. For this purpose, they formed an association and as a legal entity they approached the Ministry of Agriculture with the intention of making changes in the legal regulation.

- The Tikvesh Family Winery Association was established by several winemakers from the Tikvesh region in 2019 in order to achieve certain rights as farmers and wine producers. We requested changes to the wine law and that is our first activity. Apart from our formal presence, we wanted to show the institutions that we practically exist and that we can produce quality wine. However, since we were not registered as a manufacturer, it was necessary for us to do certain activities by amending the legal regulation in order to be able to register. At the meeting with the Minister of Agriculture Ljupco Nikolovski, we asked for an understanding of our situation, i.e. the law on wine and other acts to be adapted to the needs of Macedonian winemakers following the example of the countries of former Yugoslavia, now members of the EU, Slovenia and Croatia. In the period when we requested appropriate registration for us in Macedonia, there were about 70 registered producers, while in these two countries there were more than 40 thousand producers. In 2020, as a result of specific measures from the Ministry of Agriculture, we registered about a hundred family wineries, said Goran Jakovlevski, president of the Tikvesh Family Wineries Association in the "Utrinski Pechat" show.

Gjorgi Naumchev, oenologist and one of the first winemakers, pointed out that his beginnings as a wine producer date back to two centuries ago, on the one hand, and the motivation to start this type of business came from the need to process the grapes, which at that time were of low price, on the other hand. According to him, they wanted to have a final product - wine, contrary to the attitude of the majority of farmers at the time to sell grapes.

- My education is oenologist and that was the key to deciding on wine production. I know that good wine requires a selection of good grapes, and we have that. After the establishment of the Association, I had the opportunity to participate twice in a wine festival in Bologna, Italy, promoting my own wine. I have also participated in wine presentations in Slovenia, Poland and Albania. From participating in Italy, I have had a positive experience and the winemakers, wine lovers and citizens there were positively surprised by our Macedonian wine and had nothing but compliments - noted Gjorgi Naumchev.

The number of winemakers will increase, and thus the competition, so that in the end we will all be satisfied because we can have quality wine in the country that can represent us in the world.

- Macedonia has a real potential to achieve growth and development in the wine industry and wine production. Our association has grown and we have about 60 members from different cities, but most of them are from the Tikva region. Our determination is for Macedonia to be recognized in Europe for the production of quality wine. With the registration of small family wineries and with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, we have the conditions and potential to increase wine production. Just as an example, I would emphasize that the tourists who visit our country have the opportunity to try our wine and from their reactions to the meetings with them we can be satisfied, but also motivated to continue - Goran Jakovlevski pointed out.

The state both previously and now encourages the promotion of Macedonian wine, for which it allocates funds, says Jakovlevski and adds that he is one of the recipients of a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture in the amount of 10 thousand euros for the provision of wine production equipment.

- In several cities in Macedonia we have wine promotion activities, says Naumchev. It is becoming a hub for wine events in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Demir Kapija and Kavadarci, where our wine is offered. There are standards and this is characteristic of the Tikva region as a region with a protected vine, that is, a certain structure of the wine is standardized. For this I can say that in Macedonia there are many more experts and consulting agencies that help family wineries in this regard. According to the total quantity, we are still small producers and this aid of 10 thousand euros is appropriate to our "strength and power" as producers. For example, my quantity ranges up to 30 thousand liters per year, while other members can produce less or about 5 thousand liters per year, which is a small amount, noted Gjorgi Naumchev.

Watch the entire conversation with Goran Jakovlevski, president of the Tikvesh family wineries association and Gjorgi Naumchev, an oenologist and one of the first winemakers, in the video:

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