With wines from the heart

The Šipčanik wine cellar is set in the restored Yugoslav People’s Army underground aircraft hangar, where an explosion in 1999 incinerated seventeen type Galeb G4 aircraft in the interior of the building. One of the biggest wine producers in Eastern Europe, 13 Jul Plantaže AD from Podgorica, Montenegro, ordered the reconstruction of the underground facility that is today a wine cellar and a wonderfully arranged area for special events. They host everything here, from protocol events to conferences where the participants can learn about the unique culture of wine production. You could say that with the restoration of the aviation hangar in 2007 a new era of wine tourism in Montenegro was set in motion and a visit to the cellar has quickly become popular among tourists and congress organisers.

The hotel scene in Podgorica is very lively and offers everything from boutique hotels to the first Montenegro Hilton hotel, which opens its doors this year (the owners of the Hilton also managing two congress hotels in the city). Among the international hotel chains Ramada and Best Western Premier are worthy of a mention and the Podgorica boutique hotel selection is truly rich, with Hemera Hotel and Hotel Ziya particular standouts. If you’re more excited by the picturesque Montenegro coast, it is at your fingertips here – Budva is located about 45 minutes away and you can already choose from the best Adriatic hotels in Budva and Tivat.

The estate, which employs 700 people, is harvesting 11.5 million vines planted across 2,310 hectares, and as they like to say, this is the largest vineyard in one complex in Europe. It is quite interesting that before 1970 in this region vines practically didn’t mature with any success, although experts knew back then that the geo-morphological conditions and more than 2,500 hours of sunshine a year is ideal for wine production. They now fill about 15 million bottles of wine each year and the assortment is very wide, as 28 varieties were planted, 65% of them being red wine and the leading of these being Vranac, the indigenous Montenegro variety, which they’ve been cultivating traditionally in Crmnica, the area around Lake Skadar towards the Adriatic Sea, at an altitude of 500 metres. Of the white wines the dominant variety is the indigenous Krstač. You can taste the richness of all of the wine varieties at an event, or have a guided tasting that is held in the wine cellar.


1. Wine Route – Visiting estates with guides is possible on foot in the form of a wine trek or with a small tourist train.

2. Guided wine tasting – A professionally managed “wedding” of wine varieties with local Montenegrin cuisine, which can last from 2 to 8 hours.


3. Photo Safari on Skadar Lake – Photo safari by boat on Skadar Lake, which ends with lunch at a Lakeside restaurant (one of the estate’s restaurants).

Estates are today synonymous with Montenegrin wine and Vranac is the unique Montenegrin varietal known worldwide. Over the last 50 years Vranac has won more than 600 awards, a testament to its quality. It is produced in eight versions and the one they are most proud of is the Vranac Pro corde, which has a typically dark red colour and pronounced aromas of berries, with cherries, dried herbs and coffee all discernible in the background.

The wine is served at a temperature of 16 to 18°C with beef (steak), roast lamb or dark poultry – goose or duck. It also goes well with spicy goulash and grilled tuna, and perfectly with hard cheese.

A guided oenological tour in a very special atmosphere is the most authentic part of Šipčanik, where you get to feel the full power of the ‘terroir’, including the microclimate, the exceptional location of the vineyards and most especially the local winegrowing tradition. The guided tasting is peppered with exquisite cuisine, as the estates have quite a few restaurants. The temperature in the basement cellar is favourable, with a constant temperature of 17-19 degrees. Organisers can use the conference room for 50 participants, which is very popular, and the whole facility can accommodate up to 600 participants.

The remains of the former military airport is a highly conserved airstrip that is perfect for various automobile events. It is 3,000 metres in length and 30 metres wide. By agreement with the estate it can be used for automotive industry events.

The Šipčanik wine cellar is just a short hop from Podgorica. Montenegro is an increasingly accessible aviation destination and also becoming more available in the off-season, when in our opinion it is the most beautiful time for visiting the wine cellar.

The indigenous Montenegrin wine varieties are Kratošija, Vranac, Krstač and Žižak. In 2004 DNA analysis discovered that the Montenegro Kratošija variety has a similar genetic profile to Zinfandel and that they are direct relatives. Experts are unanimous that the Californian Zinfandel originates from Montenegro and not from Croatia (Plavac variety), as has been claimed in the past decade.

Put Radomira Ivanovića 2
81000 Podgorica, Montenegro
T: +382 67 099 099


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