By Paul Caputo

Gevgelija-Valandovo wine district is an agricultural area situated in the southeast of Macedonia. This area is distinctly flat and at an altitude of just fifty metres above sea level, it is the lowest wine district in the country. Consequently, this low altitude makes for an extremely hot micro-climate. In addition to this, Gevgelija sits just behind the Kožuf Mountain which stops cold northern winds from alleviating temperatures reaching as high as 45°C. Despite this, Gevgelija’s vicinity to the Aegean Sea classes it as a Mediterranean climate, mostly felt down the flow of the Vardar River.

The best area for viticulture is around the commune of Valandovo. Here there is a considerable emphasis on the cultivation of figs, but even so, the prevailing Mediterranean conditions are favourable for grape growing. The Anska River which flows into the Vardar also provides a slight cooling effect against the district’s notoriously hot temperatures. Likewise, in the commune of Bogdanci access to water comes from the Paljurci and Dorjan lakes which also have a moderating affect.

In Gevgelija-Valandovo the main challenge is often drought and water stress. In some years wines made here have a higher skin to juice ration and conseqeunlty an abundance of tannin and anthocyanin. In poorer vintages, grapes grown in the district are often purchased to bolster fruit and structure of the wines coming from other wine districts. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular is planted here due to the need for a longer ripening season.