Macedonia - A Hidden Wine Gem on the Balkans


Have you ever tried Macedonian wines? If not, you're missing out on a true hidden gem of the wine world.

With a history that dates back thousands of years, the winemaking traditions in Macedonia are deeply rooted in the country's culture and heritage.

The diverse landscape, ranging from mountains to valleys, allows for a wide range of grape varieties to thrive and develop complex flavors. Whether you prefer a crisp white or a bold red, Macedonian wines offer a taste of the country's rich history and character.

In recent years, Macedonian wines have been gaining international recognition for their quality and unique character.

Let's take a tour of the top wine regions in Macedonia, where we'll visit renowned wineries and learn about two of the most successful grape varieties. From Povardarie to Tikvesh, we'll explore the unique characteristics of each region and discover what makes Macedonian wines so special.

Macedonian Wine Regions

Macedonia is divided into 3 main wine regions, and each has a distinct microclimate and soil composition, which affects the flavor profile and character of the wines produced there.

  • Central (Povardarie)

  • North (Pchinja-Osogovo)

  • South (Pelagonija-Polog)

Central Wine Region (Povardarie)

Povardarie is the country's largest wine region, encompassing the valley of the Vardar River. The Povardarie region is known for producing a wide range of grape varieties, including both indigenous and international varieties, and for its diverse wine styles, from dry reds and whites to sweet dessert wines.

The region's climate, which is characterized by hot summers and mild winters, is well-suited for grape growing and winemaking. Many of Macedonia's most renowned wineries are located in the Povardarie region.

Tikvesh region

North Wine Region (Pchinja-Osogovo)

The Pchinja-Osogovo region is one of the smallest wine regions in Macedonia, covering an area of only around 100 square kilometers. The climate in the Pchinja-Osogovo region is continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The region's vineyards are situated on hilly terrain, at altitudes ranging from 350 to 550 meters above sea level.

The Pchinja-Osogovo region is known for growing the Prokupac and Kratoshija red grapes, and the Zilavka and Belan white grapes.

Osogovo region

South Wine Region (Pelagonija-Polog)

Located in the southern part of the country, this region is known for its high-altitude vineyards and diverse microclimates, which allow for the cultivation of a wide range of grape varieties.

The region is primarily known for its red wines, particularly those made from the Vranec grape. In addition to Vranec, other red grape varieties grown in the Pelagonija-Polog region include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. The region also produces several white grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. Many of the wineries in this region are located near the city of Bitola.

Pelagonija region

The Most Renowned Wineries in Macedonia

Macedonian wineries are gaining recognition for producing high-quality wines that are reflective of the country's unique climate and geography. Some of the most important to mention are:

  • Tikveš Winery: Located in the town of Kavadarci, Tikveš Winery is one of the largest and most well-known wineries in North Macedonia. Some of its most popular wines include the Bela Voda red blend, the T'ga za Jug red blend, the Alexandria Cuvee wines, and their Special Selection. Tikveš Winery owns over 2,000 hectares of vineyards in the Tikveš sub-region, making it one of the largest vineyard owners in the country. Its vineyards are planted with a variety of grape varieties, including Vranec, Kratosija, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Smederevka, Temianika, and Chardonnay.

  • Bovin Winery: Located in the Tikveš sub-region, Bovin is a family-owned winery Bovin that specializes in red and white wine production. Bovin Winery produces a range of high-quality wines, including reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling wines. Some of its most popular wines include the Merlot Reserve, the Chardonnay Premium, and the Riesling Selection. The vineyards are planted with a variety of grape varieties, including Vranec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

  • Popova Kula Winery: Located in the Demir Kapija sub-region, Popova Kula Winery produces a variety of wines, including white, red, dessert, and sparkling. Demir Kapija is the southernmost part of the Tikveš region, where the soil and climate are ideal for growing grapes. The vineyards are planted with a wide range of grape varieties such as Stanushina, Vranec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Chateau Kamnik: Located in the Skopje sub-region, Chateau Kamnik is a boutique winery that produces a range of high-quality wines, including both reds and whites. Kamnik Winery is situated on the slopes of the Vodno Mountain, which provides ideal conditions for grape growing. The winery's vineyards are planted with a variety of grape varieties, including Vranec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

  • Stobi Winery: Located near the ancient city of Stobi, this winery produces a variety of wines, including whites, reds, and rosés, as well as dessert wines. Stobi Winery's vineyards are located in two different sub-regions of Povardarie: Gradsko and Negotino. Some of its most popular wines include the Stobi Chardonnay, the Vranec Veritas red blend, and the Rubin red blend. The vineyards are planted with both indigenous and international grape varieties, including Vranec, Temjanika, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The Grape Varieties That Thrive Better in Macedonia Than Any Other Wine Country

Today, there are many grape varieties grown throughout Macedonia, of which two are the most recognized and thrive the best in the terroir of the wine regions:


Vranec is a red grape variety that is native to the Balkans, and is the most widely planted grape in Macedonia. It is known for its deep color, bold tannins, and intense flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and plum. Vranec is typically aged in oak barrels, which impart additional flavors of vanilla, spice, and smoke.

When pairing Vranec with food, it is important to consider the full body of the wine, and therefore it is best paired with high-fat food such as roasted lamb, grilled pork chop, or maybe grilled beefsteak.

If you like heavy, rich, and juicy red wines, Vranec is a must-try, recommended by Stan Kushkin, a sommelier and founder at Wine Rooster.


Temjanika, on the other hand, is a white grape variety that is very light and gentle. If Vranec is the Beast, then Temianika is definitely the Beauty.

It is known for its delicate floral aromas, crisp acidity, and subtle sweetness. Temjanika wines are typically dry or off-dry and are often made in a refreshing and lively style.

"Temjanika pairs very well with lighter dishes, such as fish and seafood. For example, Ohrid Lake Trout is a great match. Due to its sweetness, it also makes a great companion to spicy foods!

Final Words

Both Vranec and Temjanika have become increasingly popular in recent years, and are now among the most exported wines from Macedonia. The high quality and unique character of these wines have made them a hit with wine lovers around the world.

In addition, many Macedonian wineries have embraced modern winemaking techniques, such as stainless steel fermentation and temperature-controlled aging, which have helped to further improve the quality of their wines.

Temjanika grapes