One beautiful jubilee
On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in the Radovanović Cellar, a beautiful jubilee was marked – 10 years since the founding of the Association of Wine Roads of Serbia (WRS).
The idea that there is a need for such an association, which will deal exclusively with wine tourism, was born a year earlier, at the beginning of the project “Signaling on Wine Roads of Serbia”, implemented by the then Ministry of Economy and Regional Development (MERD) and the author of these rows.
On May 26, 2010, the team of Wine Roads of Serbia headed to Krnjevo, to the Radovanović Cellar, in order to, in agreement and cooperation with the owner of the winery, Miodrag Mija Radovanović, establish the story of the association. Mija Radovanović, a legend of Serbian winemaking and the owner of the first private winery in Serbia, became the honorary president of the association.
In these ten years, Mr. Radovanović and his associates were the top host every May 26, he welcomed and sent off us and our guests: winemakers, writers, artists, journalists, tourism experts, members of the Pannonian Wine Corridor, and many more. .. I will remember the incredible traces and pairing of food and wine, long walks through the vineyards, tastings and Rain Wine and Caberner Sauvignon 25 Reserve and Gray Pino and all the other wines that position this winemaker at the very top of Serbian winemaking. There are no words of gratitude for everything they have given us in all these years. In one modest confession, the letter “Temple of Wine Roads of Serbia”, we tried to bring all the love we feel, first of all, towards Mr. Radovanović as a man, and then towards everything he created.
The team of Wine Roads of Serbia has changed during these years, but the goals have remained the same as at the beginning: promoting wine tourism, indigenous Serbian grape varieties as well as food and beverages with protected geographical origin, nurturing the tradition and cult of vines, spreading wine and gastronomy culture, would Serbia return to the map of developed wine and tourist countries as soon as possible. We dedicated the first ten years to that.
The first two years were “spent” on field visits and visits to registered wineries, winemakers’ associations, wine shops, hotels, restaurants, ethno-villages, and data collection that was later used to successfully implement the project “Signalization on Serbian Wine Routes”. . In May 2012, about 140 facilities on wine roads were marked with vertical traffic signals with the help of which invited and uninvited guests come to the doors of wineries and cellars. Thus, the first phase of the proposed project was realized, without which no story about wine tourism or wine roads could make sense.
Unfortunately, there was no time for the other two phases of the project, and they have not been realized until today. There is hope that in some of the times ahead we will have far more ear for wine tourism than there is today.
In the period after 2012, the work of the association was very recognizable in the world of wine lovers and admirers of wine culture, both in Serbia and in the region. Together with the Croatian Wine Routes, we founded the “Pannonian Wine Corridor”. Through various programs, the wine and tourist offers of the countries that once covered the Pannonian Sea are united. To date, associations and individuals from Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Austria have joined this project. The door is also open for wine lovers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania.
As part of the popularization of all those who participate in the wine and tourism offer of Serbia, representatives of the WRS Association were guests of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Prague and represented Serbia at the humanitarian “International Christmas Festival” held at the Hilton Hotel, under the auspices of Ivana Zeman. Of the Czech Republic.
At the “16 + 1”, the third forum of mayors of the capitals of Central and Eastern Europe and China, which was held in Belgrade’s Sava Center, representatives of the Wine Roads of Serbia held a lecture on “Wine Tourism: Visit Wine Roads of the Balkans”.
Among other activities such as organizing and participating in numerous events,
organization of exhibitions, ceremonies, wine-tourist excursions and promotional tours, as well as presentations and education, we highlight the presentation of the wine-tourist offer of Serbia at the SITCON conference at Singidunum University with the topic “Connection of spiritual and wine tourism”, as well as participation in the conference organized by the Tourist School in Belgrade within the “LANDS Project – Next Destination Balkans: Development of Opportunities for Agrotourism in Serbia and BiH”.
When we look at those from whom everything starts from this distance, the impression is clear. Winemakers and winegrowers have been doing everything for years to raise their offer to a higher level. And that, in continuity, they succeed. The quality of the wine is getting better, the tasting rooms look more beautiful, the parking lots and toilets are tidier, and the cellars and equipment are more modern and functional. Most have learned that a large part of the annual production can be sold on the “doorstep”. It’s faster, they have more money left, and the guests come back because they like to drink wine in the winery itself, talk to the one who produces that wine and in the end, buy wine at lower prices than in the sales facilities in their place.
Through all its activities, the wine roads of Serbia have done a lot to make that awareness reach both producers and consumers of wine. There was one more step left. The new goal we have set for ourselves is to design and form the offer of wine tours, to present that offer outside the borders of our country and to attract as many tourists from abroad as possible. We used this Corona break to present the program of our wine-tourist tours called “Imperial and Royal Wine Routes through Serbia” via the website www.serbianwinetravel.com. In order to comply with world standards, and complete the whole story, in cooperation with the Association of Tourist Guides of Serbia, we organized training for certified tourist guides of wine tours through Serbia.
We are happy to welcome this jubilee 10th birthday of the association. Much of the work has been done. We leave wine tours to the travel agency that operates on the market, and everything else that winegrowers and winemakers need – the Ministry, whose job is to take care of that.
All that remains for us is to strengthen this unique tourist product of Serbia together with all those who want to get involved in the work of the association, in the years to come.
We’ve been doing that for ten years. We continue even stronger and more efficiently.
Zoran Rapajic, president of WRS
Belgrade, May 27, 2020