Wine production in these areas was mention for the first time by Roman Emperor Probus who brought vine to Croatian Danube region, thus creating a wine-growing region of Baranja, which owes her name from two Hungarian words: ‘Bor’ – meaning wine and ‘Anya’ – meaning mother, so this creates a picturesque meaning ‘mother of wine’. Belje is a large producer with most modern winery and equipment. They harvest mainly Grasevina, but also international varieties and are regularly awarded by major publications around the world.
Grasevina is the most planted grape in Croatia. This is an old grape variety which is well suited for the continental climate of Central Europe where it’s extensively cultivated. It produces a straw‐blond wine, with flashes of green. It is fuller wine with a flowery aroma, with good roundness, acidity and bit bitterness on finish. For the most part Grasevina wines are fresh, fruity and best enjoyed in their youth; but the variety can also produce a delightful rich dessert wine with lasting bouquet.
Belje is a a larger grape producer from the own vineyards and cultivates the international varieties: Graševina, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Frankovka and regularly harvests medals on the global wine scene.
In addition to famous white wines from Baranja, we have arrival of the red wines on the scene, which is expected due to the favourable micro-climate of Banovo Brdo with the help of two powerful rivers: Danube and Drava which create an ideal ratio of sunlight and raindrops, which in turn results with the fullness of taste and aroma in each bottle of Vina Belje wines.
For the millions of years, winds blowing along Danube River had being bringing sand from all sides. It is delivered on the slopes of Banovo Brdo (Banovo Hill) and created yellow soil called ‘prapor’. And powerful Danube River flooded its banks and brought along Chernozem, a rich and fertile black soil where any plant flourish better than anywhere else.
For thousands of years inhabitants of Danube region planted vines on fertile black soil on the surface of vineyards, which provided sufficient nourishment for great yields, and yellow soil underneath made the grapes very special. It simply gave them a character!
For hundreds of years Danube was bringing wisdom to Croatian Danube region from imperial and royal cities. In Vienna and Budapest people studied how to get extraordinary wines from the top quality grapes. These people should be credited for Hungarians calling this region Boranya, which means ‘mother of wine’. For dozens of years they are proving that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Frankovka, Rhine Riesling and Chardonnay flourish in the Danube region and are as good as in France or Germany from where they originated.
For many years Vina Belje leads other vignerons of the Danube region and every year they create a new wine story. And the main actor is the Princess Graševina, a variety not treated properly by many countries which uprooted Graševina plantings. However, her wine mother Baranja gently embraced her and Graševina responded to this love with the gold in glass. And it gave the name of Prince of Croatian Danube to Vina Belje.