Wine in Serbia seems to have begun in a serious way with the Roman Emperor Probus, who lifted a prohibition on wine-growing outside Italy and planted grapes on the Fruška Gora mountain in today’s northern Serbia.
There’s much older evidence of grape pips in Neolithic sites in the region, though definite evidence of wine begins with the discovery of Greek amphorae holding traces of wine, and statuettes of the god Dionysus, dated to the 4th or the 3rd century BC.
Today’s Serbian wine industry is a fraction (in volume terms) of its recent past – but has transformed into a scene of smaller, dynamic family wineries. Local grapes such as white Grašac and Morava, red Probus and Prokupac are being reinvented as quality wines after decades of being overlooked.
At the same time, international grapes are important and can really showcase how good the terroir is. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot do particularly well – demonstrated by numerous Decanter World Wine Awards medals (including several Gold Medals and Platinum awards).
There’s a burgeoning natural and orange wine scene, too. The most important wine zones include Vojvodina to the north of Belgrade and central Serbia, and this guide will highlight the most important regions and most exciting producers.
Alongside wine, there’s been a huge development of great restaurants using local ingredients, as well as wine bars where you can explore the wines. This guide will also highlight wineries to visit and places to stay to get the most out of exploring this fascinating country.
Caroline Gilby MW is a widely published wine writer, awarded author, speaker and consultant, with a passion for the wines of the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea.
A regular Decanter contributor, she is also joint Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Chair for North, Central & Eastern Europe. She holds a PhD in plant biology, and her first book, The Wines of Bulgaria,Romania and Moldova, was published in 2018 (£35 Infinite Ideas).