Vranec is the principal indigenous red grape variety in Macedonia and an offspring of Kratosija (aka Zinfandel). With a tendency for darkly colored wines, bright blackberry, and blackcurrant flavors, Vranec from Macedonia is famous throughout the Balkans. At Tikves, their Vranec comes from vineyards planted at an elevation of 300-500 meters above sea level, where cool breezes moderate temperatures. Fermentation occurs in large concrete vats, followed by aging in mostly neutral French oak barrels.
Founded in 1885, Tikveš Winery has witnessed the independence movements in the Balkans, two world wars, and one cold one. Yet, through it all, they have continued to make wines from grapes native to the region: the white Rkaticeli, which originated in the Caucasus, and Kratosija, Vranec, and Plavec, which are all indigenous red varieties to the Balkan peninsula. With the fall of communism and the independence of The Republic of North Macedonia, this historic estate was privatized, and new investments were made to update the vineyard and cellar practices. Sustainable farming has replaced industrial agriculture, yields have been reduced, and indigenous varieties have been preserved and replanted. With Philippe Cambie’s assistance, they have modernized their cellar practices by utilizing temperature-controlled stainless steel for fermentations with concrete and French oak barrels for aging.