By Paul Caputo

A short drive south from the capital, not more than 50 km, the Veles district is one of the most exciting wine regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Historically it has always been an important cultural center, situated as it is on the road to the Aegean Sea.

Here a continental climate meets what is known as a sub Mediterranean climate, so although winters are not excessively harsh, hot temperatures with over 40°C in July and August are not uncommon. One of the biggest viticultural challenges in the Veles district is the lack of wind or obvious ventilation.

In wetter years rot can be a problem while in the very hot years the lack of breeze can deny the grapes the opportunity to cool down. There is a very small amount of rainfall and the intense drought periods last during the summer months. Hotter and flatter than Skopje for example but not as hot as Gevgelija to the south, climatically Veles offers tremendous potential for quality grape growing.