Wineyards are an important element of the Vipava valley landscape. In Vipava valley there are 2566 ha of vineyards all together. According to state rules, 18 white and 7 red varieties are allowed for cultivation. Although the vast majority of wines originate from 'international' varieties, Vipava valley is a treasury of old varieties, most of them probably autochtonous. The list of registered Slovenian varieties contains over 20 types, but locally several more are known. More care is recenlty devoted to preserve these vines for the future as they represent an important element of genetic variability.
In Lože area the following old varieties are maintained: Sladkočrn (the sweet black)(=Sladkočica) is the only red variety; Zelen, Pinela, Volovnik, Planinka, Zelenika, Rožica, Cundra, Bela glera, Briška glera, Vrtovka, Pergolin, Rečigla, Števerjana, Dolga petla, Poljšakica, Klarnica, Zunek, Verbena, Racuk, Cividin (=Čedajc). In Kromberk area they are preserving the following white varieties: Daniela, Avguštana, Pagadebiti, Pergolin, various types of Rebula, Vitovska grganja, Dišečka, Zelen.
The European Vitis database includes 30 varieties from Slovenia, of which 17 from Vipava area and 8 from Nova Gorica area. These varieties are essentialy those mentioned above for Lože and Kromberk: under Vipava subcollection Planinka, Poljšakica, Racuk, Recigla, Rožica, Sladkočrn, Števerjana, Verbena, Vrtovka, Briška glera, Zelen, Zunek, Cundra, Dolga Petla, Klarnica, Osipka and Pergolin are listed while under Nova Gorica subcollection listed are Pergolin, Daniela, Vitovska grganja, Zelen, Dišečka, Maločrn, Rumeni plavec and Radgonska ranina (the latter two evidently originating from E and NE Slovenia, respectively). Additionally, Dobrovo subcollection is represented by Poljšakica, Zelen, Pergolin and Šlankamenka.
- Klarnica is autochtonous for Vipava valley and is grown locally only. It developed in the past as a spontaneous cross of other varieties. It is also called 'meja'. Apparently only a few hectares are planted with Klarnica but the area is expected to increase in the next years. It ripens late in autumn and thus gives full body to white wines. There are at least three stories about the name of the wine, the most often told is about a certain Mrs. Clara.
- Pergolin and Poljšakica are autochtonous for Vipava valley and Goriška Brda (Colio). They are planted on just a few hectares and are still considered endangered.
- Pinela is autochtonous for Vipava valley. It was first mentioned in late 13th century. Recenlty planted more extensively; current status (2007): 25 ha.
- Rebula originated from Italy and W Slovenia where it is mostly planted in Vipava valley, Brda and Karst (in part). It used to be the most widely planted variety in Vipava valley before French varieties were introduced.
- Sladkočrn, also called Sladkočica.
- Vitovska grganja is autochtonous for Vipava valley and Kras where it is was reintroduced recently, first on the Italian side and lately also in Slovenia. It is still quite rare - only 6 ha (24000 vines) were planted with this variety in Vipava valley in 2006 (and 10.5 ha / 37000 vines in Kras area). It is sometimes called just grganja. A book on Vitovska grganja has been published recently - written by Stefano Cosma .
- Avguštana was grown for table grapes rather than for vinification. It was reported to be popular in towns of the Primorska region as well as Kranjska region (Vertovec: Vinoreja, pp. 18-19). There was a report in 1898 that rumena avguštana (yellow augustana) was grafted onto American rootstock (tolerant against Phylloxera pest). It is the variety that ripens as early as late August, thus also its name. In Upper Vipava Valley it is mostly named Greštana or Graštana, the name that refers to the name day of St. Anne (August 26) when the grape was regularly ripe to eat.
- Dišečka is another old variety. Known is the so-called colska dišečka, believed to be about 200 years old and thus possibly being the second oldest vine in Slovenia. It is grown in the backyard of one of the private houses in the village of Col (locality Orešje) above Vipava valley (altitude 580 m).
- Zelen is nowadays the most promoted old variety in Vipava valley and probably in Slovenia in general. It originates from Vipava valley. It ripens late, gives good yields, but is susceptible for diseases. Current planting status (2007): 35 ha.
Other old varieties from the region I found on the Web are: Osipek, Zelenika, Pirgula (syn. Volovnik), Gnedica, Tržaška Kraljevina, Vrhpoljska Črnina, Vremščina, Cofovka, Tržarka, Pokalica (syn. Črna Rebula) - the latter apparently originating from Idrija valley (border between Italy and Slovenia North of Brda region).
As an example of the great variety of vines in Vipava valley it is worth mentioning that alone in the village of Goče in the 2nd half of the 19th century as many as 54 different wine varieties were produced.
Further to the West, in Brda (Colio) area, some additional varieties are maintained, although in a very limited number, specially in the local ampelographic collection. It is likely that at least some of these varieties were also grown in Vipava Valley. Detailed analyses have shown that Brda cultivars could be divided into two groups. Zelenka, Verduc, Glera and Pikolit represent one group, while in the second there are Tržarka, Cencukna, Markaduška, Sušc and Pika (I. Tomažič and Z. Korošec-Koruza, Acta Agricult. Slov. 71, 1998). Verduc originates from Friuli plain but was long grown in Western Slovenia as well. Other varieties that can be found in Brda are: Pošakica (called Polšakica in Vipava Valley), Pogroznica, Cohovka, Drenik, Kozji Sis, Pergolin, Tržarka, Pokalca, Sladkamenka, Dalmatinka, Markaduška, Sevka, Kraljevina Goriška Brda Vinery and several varieties believed to be originally from Vipava Valley: Klarnica, Zelen and Vitovska Grganja.
The first book on vinegrowing in Slovenian language was written by Matija Vertovec, a 19th century vinegrower and priest from Vipava valley (1784 - 1851). In 1844 his 300-pages book entitled Vinoreja za Slovence (Winemaking for Slovenians) he mentioned 18 noble vine varieties, 16 less noble white varieties and 12 red varieties. Of all these, only 5 are still grown locally.
Nevertheless, most popular varieties today are Merlot (542 ha), Rebula (321 ha), Sauvignon (290 ha), Malvazija (283 ha), Cabernet Sauvignon (227 ha) and Laški rizling (216 ha).
With 2005 most of the old varieties were cleared from the national culivars list - see p. 46 for the official document.
//Data about old varieties are from a study entitled Survey and evaluation of the conditions and mechanisms for ex situ conservation of wild and agricultural plants, animals, microorganisms and fungi in Slovenia (available on-line with English summary). Varieties description is from governmental materials on countryside development in 2007-13. Planted area information is from a graduation thesis of Kristina Grmek, Biotechnical Faculty, Univ. of Ljubljana, 2007. The 'yellow augustana' on American rootstock information is from a Slovenian magazine Kmetovalec 1898, pp.148-9 - as found on a references page of the Web version of Annales 22 booklet "Kozarec sonca. Dežela refoška II. Vinogradništvo in vinarstvo Slovenske Istre" (A glass of sunshine. The country of refošk II. Viticulture and winemaking in Slovenian Istria), edited by Darko Darovec, Koper, 2000. Some of the old names are from an article of Goriški Panterji.//