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The small, still undiscovered Montenegro on the Adriatic coast offers good wine between the sea, steep mountains and lots of forest. Anke Sademann travelled there - and made some surprising discoveries.

The mountain ranges outline the horizon like a dark border. They give the Balkan state its name: "Black Mountain", Monte Negro in Italian, Crna Gora in Serbo-Croatian. As part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro formed a union with Serbia in 2003 and has been independent since 2006. The Romans were already cultivating wine in the region in the second century. Today, the country's vineyards cover around 9,000 hectares with an annual production volume of around 160,000 hectolitres. Krstač is the star among the indigenous white wine varieties, alongside Smederevka (Dimyat), Župljanka, Ugni Blanc, Chardonnay and Malvasia. In addition to the autochthonous red varieties Vranac, Kratošija (Tribidrag aka Primitivo or Zinfandel), Kadarun and Zizak, international varieties such as Merlot, Marselan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Noir and Carignan Noir are also cultivated.

11.5 million vines belong to Plantaze


State winery and boutique wineries

The 70 per cent mountainous terroir and the mix of Mediterranean, continental and alpine climates characterise the spectrum and aromatic potential of Montenegrin wines, which are produced purely from autochthonous varieties. Winegrowing has been professionalised in recent decades. Word of the quality and originality of regional wines - such as those made from the "national grape variety" Vranac - has spread far beyond the country's borders. As a result, wine tourism is becoming increasingly attractive in the country.

90 per cent of Montenegrin wines are produced by the state winery 13.jul-Plantaže, founded in 1963. The 13 July plantation is named after the date of the country's first independence in 1878. Plantaže has around 2,300 hectares of vineyards, which produce around 22,000 tonnes of grapes every year. The resulting wines are particularly appreciated for their price-quality ratio.

In addition, many small, family-run boutique wineries offer tastings and tours. Their wines are only produced in small quantities and can only be tasted on site or served in local restaurants. From the centre of the country to the coast, earthy brown signs with stylised grapes guide you to the scattered wineries.

Topographical and climatic diversity

Montenegro's topography offers plenty of variety: mountains up to 2,534 metres high, deep gorges, extensive forests, the largest lake in the Balkans and the 293-kilometre-long Adriatic coast. 240 days of sunshine a year - that's what wine, the country, its people and visitors like. The best time for wine tasting is from May to October. In the hot summer months, it is advisable to avoid the overcrowded coast and rather hike through the mountainous hinterland with its five national parks.

The central region with its wine-growing areas of Crmnica, Nahije, Komani and Bjelopavlići around the capital Podgorica has a continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The soils are mostly calcareous. However, the influence of the Mediterranean coastal climate extends across the wide valley of the Bojana River to Podgorica and the Skutari Lake wine region.

In Podgorica, you will find well-stocked wine lists with family estate and Plantaže wines in hotel restaurants. The boutique Hotel Boscovich is considered the establishment with the best wine selection. Pure wine bars or wine shops are still few and far between. However, an urban wine gastronomy for tourists and young people is developing.

Wine guide and sommelier Bojan Bracanović gives a tour of the Plantaze winery

Anke Sademann

In Europe's largest vineyard

The most important liquid national heroes are the white Krstač and the red Vranac, whose main producer is the Plantaže w inery. As if it had adapted to the mountains, the Vranac grape has a thick, heat-resistant, black skin that gives the dense, high-alcohol wine its ruby red colour. The flavour reveals aromas of dark fruit, spices with earthy undertones, as well as mint. The red signature wine "Pro Corde" ("For the Heart") from Plantaže is drunk by the locals as an immune booster: "During fermentation, an extra portion of grape seeds with lots of antioxidants is added to the Vranac," explains sommelier and guide Bojan Bracanović.

"The Krstač is harvested by hand at night or in the morning," reports Bracanović. "In the past, it was not easy to produce premium white wines due to the hot climate. Today, we can give the wine the necessary freshness and finesse by processing the grapes cooler." The pale yellow white wine has a refreshing, floral character with subtle citrus notes and a hint of green apple. A sparkling wine is also made from Krstač together with Chardonnay, and recently even a Vranac sweet wine in Trockenbeerenauslese quality has been produced.

The Plantaže wine cosmos is gigantic. In Europe's largest vineyard, the terroirs are also oversized. The three wine cellars in Lješkopolje, Ćemovsko Polje and Šipčanik can hold up to 33 million litres of wine from 11.5 million vines. In the Šipčanik cellar, which is located in a former military aircraft bunker, wine tourists can choose between 50 wines during the two-hour tasting tours. These are accompanied by Montenegrin mountain cheese and ham.

Sommelière Milja Zenović always has the right wine at the Besac restaurant

Anke Sademann

Fine dining in the fortress

From the heart of Montenegro southwards, the terroirs become increasingly fertile and Mediterranean. Lake Skadar or Skutari is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula and lies on the border between Montenegro and Albania. The wines taste best on the organised boat trips with freshly caught or smoked fish such as carp, eel or uchel. The terraced southern slopes of its banks are predestined for viticulture.

The Besac fortress in Virpazar - one of the oldest military monuments in the country, renovated in 2022 - offers a journey through time to the 15th century. But also through the chronology of wines: In the small, fine wine museum in one of the stone rooms, all of the country's wines are gathered together. In the resort's fine dining restaurant, sommelier Milja Zenović recommends the perfect wine to accompany chef Dejan Mugosa's plate paintings. One of her favourites is the "Unique" from the biodynamic Mola winery in Rogami: the unfiltered Chardonnay from 2016 matured at a depth of 35 metres under water.

The octopus wines mature under water

Anke Sademann

The most climatically spoilt wine region in Montenegro borders Croatia in the far west. In the coastal region between the sea and the mountains, which stretches as far as the fairytale Bay of Kotor, Venetian-Italian history is present in the baroque architecture. The Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers allows the grapes to ripen very well. The land, characterised by sandy or loamy soils, produces full-bodied, fresh, fruity and light wines.

Probably the most unusual project in the bay is Krake's underwater wines. The Vranacs and Muscats, which are tightly sealed with wax and special corks, mature 20 metres underwater. They are served with mussels and fish on a floating wine bar or can be found à la carte in some restaurants in the region.

The Savina winery offers cinematic views

Anke Sademann

Wine is sacred

Wine is revered like a religion in Montenegro. The martyr Tryphon is considered the patron saint of gardeners and winegrowers. He found his final resting place in Kotor, in the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in the south-east Adriatic, which dates back to 809. Many churches and monasteries here produce wine from their own vineyards. Nowhere is the wine more aesthetically pleasing to drink than at the Savina vineyard below the monastery vineyard of the same name near Herceg Novi, which dates back to the 18th century. Based on old maps of the private estate, the family has revitalised the old wine tradition. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache mature in old French oak barrels from the family winery. The sweeping views over the sea during the tastings lull wine lovers into seventh heaven.

Our tips: Wineries, bars and restaurants in Montenegro

Mola Winery


The extraordinary Mola Boutique Winery is located in the wild and beautiful Rogami region. On an area of 20,000 square metres, winemaker Mirko Mola produces biodynamic wines and 1,000 bottles of the unfiltered Chardonnay "Unique", which matures 35 metres deep in the lake. The wine cellar for production and tasting is located five metres below the vineyard. Be sure to book a guided tour with tasting!

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Lipovac Winery

Gradani bb, Cetinje

Montenegro's largest private winery is sheltered on the mountain slopes of the Skadar Marine Reserve. Wine has been made here since the third century, as evidenced by the amphorae and jugs found in archaeological excavations. Balanced Vranac and Zizak mature in stainless steel, French barriques, Italian vats and amphorae. Wine tour with tasting.


Savina Monastery

Manastir Savina, Manastirska 21, Herceg Novi

The Savina monastery wines are always consecrated on 14 February - the day of the martyr Trifun. Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay and rosé are beautifully labelled with old Cyrillic script. Wine tastings in summer from 10:00 to 13:00 and on request. Monastery shop sales.


Casa del Mare Boutique Hotels

The Milić family's six boutique hotels are all about taste In Focus: stylish maritime interiors meet the modern signature seafood cuisine of chef Eros Picco (tip: the risotto duo!). Sommèlière Tamara Todorović brings "winespirit with a twist" to the glass and rare wines from local vineyards à la carte!


Lipa Cave wine tasting

Lipa Dobrska nº, Cetinje

Wine tasting in a 2.5 kilometre-long system of underground corridors and surreal speleothemic galleries. Three exquisite wines are served at cave temperature accompanied by classical music. At a constant 8 to 12 degrees Celsius: dress warmly!


Salon Vina

Njegoševa 50, Podgorica

Walk-in wine shrine that defines itself as a "wine tasting room with a unique concept". 20 wineries present 120 local wines and special spirits. A harmonious concept for a new generation of wine lovers in the capital.

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Bucca Wine Bar

Baku br.140, Podgorica

Wine - food - design. Popular, cosy and stylish wine temple and meeting place for hip wine amateurs. French, Italian, but above all Montenegrin wine selection.


Gradsa Kafana

Njegoševa, Herceg-Novi

Grand café in Herceg Novi, like something out of a film set in Viennese Art Nouveau style. From the terrace, the view sweeps across the Bay of Kotor. The town's former theatre from the sixth century is a central meeting place for locals and visitors alike. The wine list has everything you need for a successful evening.


Fine & Wine Kotor

Ulica 1, Kotor city centre

Very well-stocked wine and delicatessen shop in the centre of Kotor's old town. Here you can fortify yourself before or after a visit to the cathedral and stock up on good Montenegro wines or delicacies. Exclusively local manufactory and wine products from small producers and traditional producers without any tourist nonsense.


Kod Pera na Bukovici

In Bukovica Njeguši, Cetinje

Run by the fifth generation since 1881, this kafana (tavern) is considered the oldest restaurant in Montenegro that has been open to tourists since 1936. The homemade honey wine is served with platters of mountain cheese and home-smoked ham.


Further information about Montenegro as a holiday destination:


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