His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander received with great pleasure the news that the Royal Winery Oplenac won two gold medals at the Seventh International “BEOWINE FAIR” in Belgrade. In the competition of over a hundred wines, an international jury, chaired by Mr. Vladimir Puskas, declared Pinot blanc from the Oplenac Royal Winery champion in the category of white wines. The expert jury also awarded a gold medal to the Oplenac Royal Winery Chardonnay white wine.
Proud of the Royal Winery Oplenac’s success, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander sent his warm congratulations to Mr. Dragan Reljic, manager of the King Peter I Foundation, within which the Royal Winery operates: “To all employees of the King Peter I Foundation I warmly congratulate you on this significant recognition.
I am proud that the Foundation with great success continues the glorious tradition started by my great-grandfather King Peter I, and I hope it will continue that way in the future” – emphasized Crown Prince Alexander.
Within his famous estate in Topla, Karadjordje was the first to plant vineyards on the slopes near the peak of Oplenac hill. The old documents from the times of the First Uprising testify that the Topola vineyards yielded so well that there was not enough space to store the abundance of grapes and wine. Although Prince Alexander the great great grandfather of Crown Prince Alexander paid great attention to the vineyards in Topola, it was during the reign of his son, King Peter I, that the Oplenac region had its first boom. King Alexander I continued his father’s and grandfather’s enterprise by planting over 50 hectares of Traminac, Chardonnay, Gamut and Pinot Noir vines purchased in France, but also local sorts, which produced excellent coupages. In time, famous wines were created – Triumph, Oplenka, Žilavka and Rosé. The King’s vineyard became seedling nursery for quality grape sorts, wanted by experimental estates, agricultural schools and households. The wines from the King’s vineyards were served at the official visits by European heads of states and found their way to the dining tables of foreign courts. In 1931, the King’s Winery was built in the foot of Oplenac slope, on the French model. As one of the most modern wineries, it was an example to other wineries how to cultivate vineyards and produce wine.
Today the Royal Winery Oplenac produces wines in limited quantities exclusively from grapes from their own vineyards. The wines are produced from the same named varietal grapes of certified origin and are in the process of control of geographic origin and quality. The Winery produces white wines Sauvignon blanc; Pinot blanc and Chardonnay and red wine “Sovereign” (Cabernet Sauvignon).
The Royal Winery Museum keeps pieces of equipment from 1931, fillers, closers, filters, manual pump for refilling and hydraulic presses for grapes, imported from France. The cabinets contain bottles of different colors and sizes with the coat of arms, made by the Italians and Czechs, characteristic of the period from 1931 to 1934. There are also wine books, receipts and certificates of buying land and grape varieties. The museum also displays the chair of King Alexander made of walnut, brought from his hunting lodge in Han Pijesak, today in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Royal Winery also contains archive wines, which are certainly the oldest national wines in Serbia. Among others, Oplenka, Žilavka and a White Burgundy from 1931, in uniquely shaped bottles with the Royal coat of arms, and Prokupac, Hamburg and Plemenka from later vintages. At that time, about 150 thousand vines were planted in Oplenac, mainly white grape varieties. For red wine, the grapes arrived from the Royal Estate in Demir Kapija, today in Macedonia.
The part of the Winery that was turned into a museum contains some of the first barrels in which the Royal wine aged. Among them are the three barrels that King Alexander received as a wedding gift in 1922 from the representatives of the three constituent peoples of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Each one is carved with verses of those people’s national anthems.
After World War Two, Oplenac vineyards were neglected until 2000. After their renovation, the first harvest took place in 2006, and from the following year on, wines from the King’s vineyards are once again served all over the world.