A short drive south from the capital, not more than 50 km, the Veles district is one of the most exciting wine regions in the Republic of Macedonia. Historically it has always been an important cultural center, situated as it is on the road to the Aegean Sea.
Here a continental climate meets what is known as a sub Mediterranean climate, so although winters are not excessively harsh, hot temperatures with over 40°C in July and August are not uncommon. One of the biggest viticultural challenges in the Veles district is the lack of wind or obvious ventilation.
In wetter years rot can be a problem while in the very hot years the lack of breeze can deny the grapes the opportunity to cool down. There is a very small amount of rainfall and the intense drought periods last during the summer months. Hotter and flatter than Skopje for example but not as hot as Gevgelija to the south, climatically Veles offers tremendous potential for quality grape growing.
Red varieties by implication will do well here. Cabernet Sauvignon in particular has demonstrated an ability to ripen evenly and Merlot also accumulates enough even ripening to produce full bodied, well rounded wines full of dark, velvety fruit such damson, plum and prune. Notes of chocolate and balsam are typical for Merlot produced in the centre of Macedonia. White varieties are planted here also, mainly Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
The potential is high; start up wine making projects are attempting to harness the intricacies of local terroir with new plantings. Their aim is produce organic wines from Vranec and Cabernet. Soils vary throughout the district and have a big impact on the aromatic profiles.