Wine Marathon in Orahovica concludes Wine Month VPŽ - Slavonija & Podravina wine not?

Wine & Run in Orahovica concluded the Wine Month of Virovitica-Podravina County, which took place under the motto “Slavonia & Podravina wine not?”. And if someone has so far had dilemmas whether VPŽ eno has tourist potentials, now there is definitely no doubt. This event in Orahovica is side by side with the Baranja wine & walk, and the wine bike race in which we participated two weeks earlier with the Erdut wine & bike.

Orahovica is one of those places that shatters the myth of "Ravna Slavonia". Virovitica-Podravina County has three cities; two plains - Virovitica and Slatina and one mountain town - Orahovica. The southern rim of the western part of the county leans on the wine-growing Bilogora, and the southern rim of the eastern part of the county on Papuk. The cadastral municipality of Orahovica itself is divided into a smaller northern plain part and a larger southern hilly part that thickly encroaches on the Papuk Nature Park.

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From Orahovica, the road leads to Kutjevo, the eastern edge of the nature park - it is one of the three roads that can be reached from the north side of Papuk to the south. The other two roads that cut Papuk in half are Voćin - Novo Zvečevo - Vučjak Kamenski on the western edge of Papuk and Slatinski Drenovac - Velika which goes through the center of Papuk, cutting it to the eastern and western part.

Halfway through the route Orahovica - Kutjevo, on the Međa pass, there is a lookout point with a fantastic view of the monastery and the Podravina plains. On the other side there is a hiking trail that leads to the top of Kapavac and the eponymous lookout. The road forks further and you can use it to reach Lake Orahovac, which is located in the suburb of Duzluk.

On the lake was the start of our wine odyssey, which the organizers called Wine & run or wine marathon, and the mostbolji description would be wine & walk because the concept is very similar to the eponymous event that has been held for years in Istria and Baranja or as Ideš & piješ which was held in Kaptol for the first time this year.

After downloading the starter pack that includes a backpack, a glass with a carrier, a raincoat and half a liter of water, we made a detour around the lake admiring the purity and transparency of the water. It is an artificial lake that has the status of a swimming pool, and is actually a hybrid of a lake and a swimming pool because everything is arranged, concreted… Unlike a swimming pool, it is supplied with real water from a spring, not city water from a water supply. The ambience of the lake itself is beautiful; dense mountain forest all around and a lake in the valley. Because of this visual backdrop, even concrete does not disturb naturalness.

The team gathered, a joint photo was taken, the mayor addressed us and will join us on the route, announcing new large tourist - infrastructure projects for which funds from EU funds have already been approved and after that introductory part everything was ready for Wine & run. In the end, however, no one ran; it is a pity to go through everything that has been offered to us too quickly.

We get on the bus and after a short drive from the lake we arrive at Jezerce - a vineyard site PP Orahovica where grapes ripen for their Silvanac green. PP Orahovica is best known for this wine in Croatia and beyond. Their Silvanac green once won the first prize in the category of white wines at the Chinese wine fair "Interwine", and is exported to the Chinese market, as well as medals at the London Decanter.

It was exactly the first wine we tasted. Silvanac green line Martin Albus from 2020, who won a bronze medal at this year's Decanter. For those who don't know Martin Albus, there is a line of wines in which, in addition to Silvano, there are also Sauvignon, Pinot Gris and Frankovka. Martin and Albus, on the other hand, are wine-growing micro localities named after the people responsible for the development of viticulture in Orahovica. Martin Nagy had a wine cellar built in the late 19th century that is still used today, and Albus was a local winegrower and landowner. At the Martin position, Silvanac and Frankovka are grown, and at the Albus position, Sauvignon and Pinot Gris.

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All this and much more was told to us by Ivana Nemet - moderator of all events within the wine month of Virovitica - Podravina County and former chief oenologist of PP Orahovica, and recently director of the new Technology - Innovation Center in Virovitica. The agricultural company Orahovica is a real combine, and in addition to viticulture and winemaking, they are also engaged in farming, animal husbandry, fruit growing and fish farming.

So, among other things, we tasted great canapes with smoked carp "Panona Mare". The whole atmosphere was raised by tamburitza players and horse-drawn carriages, so it was a bit surreal scene when wine walkers descended from the pond to the main road, behind them a horse-drawn carriage with tambourines, and behind it a police car securing the procession.

Our next hedonistic point was the Patkoš winery which is surrounded by vineyards and has a large spacious gazebo that could easily accommodate all wine walkers. We tasted their white and red wines and continued towards the point of OPG Jović where Stanko Jović greeted us with an accordion and singing friends. We were all thrilled with their Rhine Riesling.

The next point was "Iskrena vina Matković", where we were greeted by refreshments and "vitamins" in bread / fat / pepper format. We tasted their cabernet franc and frankovka and then made a detour around the wine cellar. We continue further and again we reach the starting point on the lake where we were greeted by Krešimir Kostelac with his blackberry and cherry wines, and then he made a presentation of his guineas. The last one, with sequins is a real hit, especially among the female population. We sit on a tent set up on the lake and enjoy the stillness of the day descending on the lake and the view of a flock of carp on forks that were lightly prepared by the fire.

From Jezerac to the lake - a real hedonistic tour that makes every wine lover and gourmet happy. This event ended the Wine Month of VPŽ. After "done" this event and the wine bike race in Virovitica two weeks earlier, I must conclude that this is an event not to be missed.

Photos: Mario Jukić

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