Grape Varieties

White Grape Varieties


Macedonia’s leading white grape variety, predominantly used for production of everyday white wines and for distilling into grape brandy, known locally as “rakija.” Smederevka is considered to be of Balkan origin, due to its significant presence in Bulgaria’s vineyards as Dimyat (or Dimiat). It’s also grown as Smederevka in Serbia and in Greece as Zoumiatico (meaning sugar-rich fruit). Genetic analysis has recently shown its parentage to be Coarna Alba and Heunisch Weiss though no one knows when it first appeared

 It is a highly productive grape variety, which is why growers are so keen to continue cultivating it and it can still give a generous crop, if mediocre in quality, in warm climates and where the soil is rich in nutrients. It produces wines that are aromatically neutral, light to medium bodied and with refreshing acidity, sometimes up to 7 g/l. It is often blended with Welschriesling for a more refreshing blend, as consumers here often mix such wines with sparkling water to make spritzers on very hot summer days.

Temjanika is a local synonym for white grape variety recognized worldwide as a Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains. You can still find some arguments that Temjanika is a synonym of Muscat de Frontignan, but that is now recognized as another name for Muscat Blanc, specifically destined for sweet wines from village Frontignan in France. However, Temjanika has found a place among Macedonian whites as a much-loved aromatic wine. Although this versatile grape variety can be used to produce many different styles of wine, its main role globally is in producing sweet and fortified wines thanks to its high acidity and intense aromas. In contrast, the vast majority of Macedonian Temjanika wines are made in a dry and fruity style, which has become quite fashionable worldwide in the last decade. It is typically vinified in tank using reductive techniques to protect the aromatic varietal compounds.

Temjanika | Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains

Temjanika is characterized by intensely fruity and floral aromas (e.g. elderflower, white grapes) and a dry palate with refreshing acidity, light body and medium length. It is a good companion with green salads seasoned with fruity dressing, or even with some fruity and creamy desserts, especially for wine styles with slightly higher residual sugar.

Temjanika suits a warm climate and is able to retain acidity along with sufficient sugar to produce wines with light to medium alcohol. Cooler climate wine districts such as Tikveš (here mostly south-east facing and/or high-altitude vineyards), Veles, Ovche Pole, and Skopje may offer more expressively aromatic wines. To appeal to consumers who prefer less aromatic wines, Temjanika may be blended with more inferior Muscat Ottonel and/or Chardonnay.


Stanušina is an indigenous Macedonian black grape variety recently revived by Prof. Klime Beleski and launched commercially by a few wineries. The name etymologically comes from “Strnušina” that literally means ‘steep slopes’, ‘hard-to-reach location’, often with poor soil. Actually, the name explains how this grape variety survived the programme of uprooting in Ottoman times, together with its ability to survive drought. The styles of varietal wines are described through the nickname of this grape variety – “Macedonian Girl” pointing to beauty, seductiveness, and tenderness.

Traditionally this grape variety produces relatively light red wines, which usually feature some red fruit aromas led by cornelian cherry and raspberry, and a refreshing mid-bodied palate with silky and ripe tannins. Research continues and there are some promising results with other styles of wines such as rosé and even white wines.

In terms of wine styles, feedback from the market suggests that rosé is most style successful so far, offering mid-intensity, fruity aromas, followed by some vinous notes. It typically has a crisp, refreshing and enjoyable palate which is a perfect match with fish such as salmon, trout or carp. It’s also a good option with dishes with lots of fat due to its palate-cleansing high acidity.

Stanušina is often used in blends with bolder and more tannic reds to increase freshness and help provide more elegance. The regions of Ohrid, Tikveš, Bitola, Veles are regarded as good locations for producing high quality from this grape variety.


As for the white grapes , our autochtonous grape variety Krstač is the leader. Krstač has been grown in the microlocality Nikolj Crkva, Ćemovsko polje and all efforts to be transferred to other world regions failed. Plantaže is the only winery in the world that produces the wine of this autochtonous variety. A cluster is medium size , tight, its shape reminiscent of the cross, by which this variety got its name.


It is very difficult to give an exact answer about the origin of the name Žilavka, but it can be logically assumed that its name symbolizes fine veins, visible in the period of the full maturity of grapes in the berry, through its thick but transparent skin. Its attribute, „hercegovačka“ seems to want to express its unique grandeur, delicacy, boon , and abundance, as if to redeem the concern and effort of the winegrowers. It also symbolizes the region of Herzegovina, where it grew, formed its characteristics, assimilated and identified with the sunny and karst ambience of Herzegovina.

The variety of Žilavka gives quality wines, while premium quality wines are produced from grapes growing at selected locations(vineyards), very often with the addition of 15% of Krkošija and Bena , which are also autochthonous grape varieties of the region of Herzegovina.

Everybody experiences the Žilavka wine in a personal and individual way. It with its singularity and peculiar qualities, particular fragrance, roundness, and strength typical of southern wines. It bears the impression of Herzegovina. The beautiful crystal clear yellowgreen hue, specific aroma, harmonious proportion of alcohol and acidity, and a rich extract, distinguish Žilavka from all other wines. It’s a strong wine with 12 to 14 % of alcohol, 5 to 6 g/l of total acidity, with a total extract of 20 to 27 g/l. It gains its genuine plenitude and features the longer it is aging in the bottle. I Inhabitants of Herzegovina drink Žilavka with boiled or grilled lamb, eel and other fresh-water and sea fish, as well as with cheese from sheep skin sackand ham. It is best served refrigerated at 10 to 12 ºC.


Bena is a white wine grape variety. It has normal and regular pollination and fertilization. It ripens in the first half of September and the average weight of a grape cluster is about 130 grams. This variety is grown in warmer areas and it is resistant to grape downy mildew and fungal spores – grapevine diseases. With regular narrow pruning it gives good yields. It can grow on weak soil and hardly accessible terrain due to its resistance. Bena’s musk contains 16 – 22 % of sugar and 4, 9 – 7, 8 percent of total acidity. The wine from pure Bena is of medium quality because it contains less alcohol than Žilavka. Bena has the sweetness of Krkošija and Žilavka but due to the greater level of acidity it is a good supplement to Žilavka – in smaller amounts. It can be eaten raw.


Krkosija ripens in the third quarter of the year, same as Žilavka but it has irregular fertilization due to the anomalies in the flower structure. A grape cluster weights from 100 to 200 grams. Narrow pruning suits it and it likes permeable soil with enough moisture, such as ultisols (red soil) around Brotnjo, Dubrava and Ljubuški. It does not like dry and infertile soil. On fertile vineyard soil it produces good quality grapes with a high level of sugar and acidity so it could be said that this variety is very generous with the amount of sugar which percentage is similar to the one in Žilavka but the acidity level is a bit higher.Krkošija gives greenish-yellow wine with good quality extract, without aroma and a nuance of acerbity. In a pure form it is not a good quality vine but mixing it with Žilavka could improve its quality and that is its utmost value.

Red Grape Varieties

Vranac | Vranec

Vranac is the most famous Montenegrin grape variety which is also widely spread in Herzegovina, Dalmatia and Macedonia. Grape clusters are big, egg shaped with long stem. The berries are big, round and the skin is of a rich dark blue color, thin and smooth. An average grape cluster weights 150 – 350 grams. This variety has good and regular fertilization with the amount of sugar 22 – 25 % and 6 g/l of acidity, so the wine has 12 – 13, 5 % alcohol and it has a very pleasant taste. Young wines made of the vranac variety of grapes are tart, with intensive aroma, almost wild. They are tamed by aging in wooden barrels, barrique or other types. Well aged vranac wines are strong and full bodied. Vintages rich in acids may produce wines suitable for years long aging.

Plavac Mali

Plavac Mali is grown in Herzegovina although in smaller amounts. It has regular and good fertilization and yielding. It is resistant to fungal deceases. Berries are thick-skinned, firm and full of sugar. It ripens late. Depending on the area, total alcohol is 12 do 13.5 vol. %, it is mildly bitter and total acidity varies between 4, 5 – 5, 5 g/l and the total dry extract is very high (up to 26 g/l). Plavac is a typical southern wine, bitter and dry; purple-dark red color with bluish reflexes and the aroma is very discreet and present. Throughout the centuries, this wine was equally drunk by the workers and royalty.


Blatina is an autochthonous grape variety of Herzegovina. It has a functional female flower autosterile), and for that reason it is always cultivated in plantations with other varieties such as Allicante bouschet (Kambuša), Merlot, and Trnjak, which at the same time pollinate Blatina.

During the period of insemination, because of the rain, it can fail in giving fruits, and it is then called „praznobačva“ (emptybarrel). Blatina is a quality and in specific locations a premium quality dry red wine, produced with the variety of grapes that has the same name, with 15% addition of pollinating varieties.It’s a strong and fresh dry red wine with 12 to13.5 % of alcohol, 5 to7 g/l of total acidity, 25-32 g/l of extract. It has a dark ruby red colour, particular and characteristic aroma, as well as a full and harmonious taste.

As a southern wine it has a satisfying concentration of acid. It is good to let it age for several years in wooden barrels, even more, the quality is the highest, they say, with up to 5 years of aging. It is recommended to drink Blatina with intensively flavoured meals, meat from game, especially roastmeat, fish stew, and beef ham. It is drunk slowly, undiluted, on 18 to 20 ºC, from nicely shaped glasses, and in a rural ambience from a wooden jug.

Beware of its strength! It condenses the sun and all of the Herzegovinian summer heat.

Kratošija | Tribidrag (Crljenak Kastelanski) / Primitivo / Zinfandel

The oldest grape variety, grown in Montenegro is Kratošija. Growing of Kratošija for centuries in the areas of Montenegro has been confirmed also by large presence of this variety in all viticultural terrains of Montenegro in past as well as today, by a great heterogenity of its population within which even 17 biotypes have been defined. The presence of its numerous descendants (21) has also indicated that Montenegro is also the country of origin of this variety , spreading from here into the region and other parts of the world . The oldest written traces concerning growing of Kratošija in Montenegro dated from the 15th century (Budva Statute) up to the present. All accessible data, including the results of the latest genetic research have confirmed that Kratošija is definitely the oldest name for the variety Zinfandel which is by the opinion of academic Ulićević, dating from 1959, identical with Zinfandel which had been transferred from Monternegro to California.

Kratošija is able to produce bold red wines with aromas of black and red fruit, with a refreshing and yet full-bodied palate. The wines are typically well-structured with an affinity for prolonged ageing in wood, predominantly French new oak, and then bottle ageing, to promote complexity and polish the tannins.


It is one of the oldest red grape varieties cultivated in the areas of Vlora, Himare, Delvina, and Permeti. It is a late-ripening variety and accumulates high levels of sugar. The characteristic color of the wines is light red.


This is a grape variety with great potential. It is cultivated in the Shkodra region and the south, Lezha, and Mirdita. The Bukmira site specializes in producing Kallmet wine with softer tannins, good acidity, and excellent aging potential, with good color and a fabulous bouquet.

Serina e zezw

It is a variety originating from the Korça region. It is also present in Pogradeci, Leskoviku, Berati, and Skrapari regions. It is a medium ripening variety. It collects sugar at a reasonable level from 19 – 21%. It produces harmonious wine with unique characteristics when aged.

Shesh i Zi

It originates from the location mentioned for Shesh i bardhw. Nowadays it is widespread in many regions, such as Durrësi, Kavaja, Lushnja, Elbasani, Kruja, Shkodra, and Lezha. The fruit accumulates high content of sugar (23-25%). From this variety are produced wines of high quality.