ICE - special An ancient grape vine in Slovenia is spreading good vibes across border...

26-09-2003 | Ksenija Samardzija

Grapes are being harvested in the Slovenian city of Maribor - not unusual in this wine-making region but in this case the fruit comes from what's believed to be the world's oldest living vine. To support this claim there'll soon be a new entry in the Guinness Book of records.

The sound of a glass of 'modra frankina' being poured. It's a wine made from grapes grown on what's thought to be the oldest vine in the world - the Old Vine or 'Stara trta.' The vine grows against a house in the old town of Maribor in Slovenia, - and Vasja Samec of the Maribor tourist board, says it's been around for a long time...

"The old vine is definitely more than 400 years old, maybe almost 500 years. At the moment this is the oldest living vine in the world."

Considering the fact that this really is a vintage vine, how many kilograms of grapes are harvested?

"It depends on the harvest which is from 30 to 50 kg. As far as I know they produced 15 litres of wine last year. It always depends on the harvest, this year has been a dry year, and we probably won't have a lot of wine."

The produce of the Old Vine is not just enjoyed by the locals here... but has also become a symbol of cross-border friendship

" The old vine (stara trta) has become popular also because we've started using it for promotional and tourist purposes for Maribor. The mayor of Maribor, the current mayor, as well as his predecessor started to give grafts from the vine as a present to other towns. Grafts of the old vine are now growing in 25 municipalities and towns in Slovenia and also abroad - in Denmark, France, Germany, in Austria, Japan, Australia and even the King of Jordan received a graft of the old vine. Former US president Bill Clinton is a proud owner of a bottle of wine made from the grapes in Maribor."

And, according to Vasja Samec, there's still a lot of life left in the 'Old Vine' yet:

"Two 'daughters' of the old vine are growing next to it and in the future they will produce more grapes and wine. Being asked how long the old vine will still bear fruits, I would say with the proper treatment this may go on for ever."

Speak to the people of Maribor and you'll soon find the Old Vine is just as deeply rooted in the Culture of the City as it is in the soil of the hills it grows on....

PERSON 1 " You can find the old vine in the old part of Maribor. The vintage takes place every year and many people come and want to be part of it." PERSON 2 " I am not from Maribor but I have heard about the old vine. I do not know a lot of details - I know a lot of tourists come to see the old vine and I know it is very old."

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