Share This Article
Polish winemaking has been developing rapidly in recent years, and vineyards occupy hundreds of hectares in the country. Have you ever wondered where the largest vineyard in Europe is located and what it looks like? Get to know Ćemovsko Polje – the Plantaže vineyard. I can tell you that it is located in Montenegro, and during my last stay I had the opportunity to visit its cellars where the wines are aging and taste unusual wines!
Ćemovsko Polje – location and access
When going to the vineyard, your starting point will probably be Šipčanik. It is a hill that hides an amazing secret, which I will talk about in a moment. The Ćemovsko Polje vineyard is located next to Podgorica – the capital of Montenegro, but it’s safe to say that Podgorica is located next to the vineyard ;)
There are several ways to get to it. If you are traveling by car, from Podgorica take the E762 road towards the south. The exact address of the wine cellars and launch site is Tuzi 81206, Montenegro. You can also get there by taxi. They have different prices, but we paid 4.10 Euro for ours, which took us from the vineyard to the Podgorica bus station (a vineyard worker ordered it for us over the phone).
We paid more for the taxi from the airport to the Ćemovsko Polje vineyard (12 Euro!) because it was like an airport taxi. We were pressed for time, so we took advantage of it. We entered the vineyard from the other side, accessible only to pre-arranged visitors. If you are a group and you are going for sightseeing and tasting, and this is your first attraction after getting off the plane, then you can go to the cellar in this way. There are asphalt roads leading through the vineyards to the cellars.
Availability and sightseeing possibilities
The vineyard area is fenced and closed. Let us remind You that, especially in the season, normal work takes place there, as in every vineyard. However, you can order a tour of the vineyard and tasting of local wines in the cellars.
In the season there is no problem with tastings – these take place regularly every 1.5 hours, so you can take a chance and come even unannounced (unless you are in a larger group, then it is worth letting us know in advance). Tasting prices start from 15 Euro, depending on how many wines you want to try. The tasting price also includes Montenegro delicacies – bread, olive oil, cheese, cold meats and olives. They match perfectly with wines, especially white ones.
Information about tastings, packages and the booking form can be found on the winery’s website.
Information about the Ćemovsko Polje vineyard
29 grape varieties are grown in the vineyard. It occupies over 2,300 hectares and, as I have already told you in the title, it is the largest vineyard in Europe. It is worth noting that all Polish vineyards do not exceed 1,000 hectares in total.
About 22 million kilograms of grapes are harvested annually in the vineyard, from which about 17 million bottles of wine are made. It is sold on the local market and exported to over 40 countries around the world. Around 11 million vines grow there throughout the complex. The vineyard places great emphasis on native grape varieties, among which Vranac and Krstač are at the forefront. The former is a local pride and covers about 70% of the cultivation area! Seedlings of this variety are also sold on site. Every wine lover can buy this.
The Ćemovsko Polje vineyard is located on a plateau between Lake Skadar and the mountains. The altitude there varies from 45 to 70 meters above sea level. Apparently, it is thanks to the mixture of Mediterranean and continental climate that the grapes feel so good here.
About 600 people work in the vineyard permanently, and during the harvest season this number doubles or even triples!
Šipcanik wine cellar
The Plantaže company, which manages the vineyard, has three cellars for storing and maturing the wine. Right next to the vineyard is Šipčanik, which holds over 2 million liters of wine. If this number impressed you, it’s worth knowing that there are even more in the others! In the Old Cellar (Stare Podium) there are 3 to 5 million liters of it, and in the new cellar 28 million liters are stored for maturation!
The Šipčanik cellar is a unique place. If you imagine a small wine cellar, you have to imagine it again. Šipčanik is the name of the hill in which a huge tunnel, several hundred meters long, was carved. There was a military jet base here. It was partially destroyed during the 1999 bombing. Later, the shelter was abandoned and very quickly adapted into a cellar.
There are currently tasting rooms in the pilot briefing rooms, and the wines produced next to it mature in oak barrels and bottles in the tunnels themselves. Thanks to the unique location in the cellar, the temperature and humidity are relatively constant, thanks to which the wines can develop the desired taste qualities in peace.
The unique climate means that various types of grapes are grown in the vineyard. In addition to local genres, you will also find world classics here. Vranac and Krstač make up the majority, but next to them grow such varieties as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Negro Amaro and others. This is the only vineyard in the world producing Krstač wines, apparently this grape is not accepted in other conditions and locations than Ćemovsko Polje.
The vineyard produces over 30 types of white, red and rosé wines. Some are seasoned for a long time in wooden barrels, others a little shorter, but they have one thing in common – they are made only from grapes from the vineyard. Their prices have a wide range – they start from 3-4 Euro, but can reach up to 150 Euro per bottle. You will also find sparkling wines produced using the champagne method.
My visit to this place could not do without tasting. In addition to sensational cheeses and ham, I tried 5 types of wine and brandy. My glasses included:
- Krstac 2021
- Pro Anima 2021 (Chardonnay and Sauvignon)
- Epoh 2018
- Vranac Reserve 2015
- Vranac Premiere 2013
- Rakija Breskva
My feeling for white wines is stronger and the drinks tasted were up to the task. Fresh, fruity and tasty. Beautiful aromas and colors, finished with a sensational taste. The red wines were also very good. Intense and deep color, very interesting flavors. Each of them had something different to offer. Vranac Premier is the flagship product of the vineyard, and also one of the most expensive. Despite the long aging in the barrel, its flavors did not overshadow the whole – if you like red wines, you will certainly not be disappointed either. It is worth noting that Vranac Premijer is seasoned in oak barrels for 7 years.
Wines from the Ćemovsko Polje vineyard have so far won almost a thousand awards at competitions around the world. Among them, it is worth mentioning Decanter World Wine Awards in London, Decanter Asia Wine Awards in Hong Kong, MundusVini in Neustadt-Germany, BIWC in Sofia and AWC in Vienna.
What besides grapes?
However, Ćemovsko Polje is not only vineyard. Despite the fact that it is a vineyard, olives are also grown there, from which olive oil is pressed and sold under the Plantaže brand. Walking through the vineyard, you will surely see olive trees along the way. There are about seventeen thousand trees on the plantation, which makes it the largest facility of this type in the country. The olives are picked by hand, and the oil is made from varieties such as Leccino, Maurino, Arbequina and Barska žutica.
Peach trees also occupy a special place in the vineyard. From them, an excellent Rakija is produced under the name Breskva. It is a fruit distillate obtained from ripe local fruits. It matures for at least a year, and tastes best when served at a temperature of about 10 degrees.
The company also has a water reservoir where it breeds over 100 tons of trout. They are intended for sale and for company restaurants. It is located not at the main vineyard, but in the vicinity of the old cellar.
The river Cem flows through the vineyard area. It has its source in northern Albania, from where it flows to Montenegro. It is not the river itself that is interesting, although it has an amazing blue color, but the waterfall and the canyon it hollowed out. From the vineyard you can see it from the viewpoint. It is also accessible from the other side, from the public road by Restoran Niagara.
Although you may not notice it at first glance, it is not a completely natural creation. Its creation was helped by a concrete partition on the river, thanks to which the water could pile up. This does not change the fact that it looks very nice, and we know from a reliable source that many people come to it during the holidays to cool off.
Is Ćemovsko Polje worth visiting?
If you are going to Podgorica and you will be landing at the airport in the city, look around as you approach the ground. Ćemovsko Polje – the largest vineyard in Europe is spreading around you! If you are wine lovers and enotourists, this is the place for you. You can easily spend half a day there and only then set off on your way to the mountains, to the Adriatic Sea or to Podgorica itself!