Tikveš Winery is without doubt the founder of modern day wine making in Macedonia. Their 130 year story is heavily intertwined with Macedonia’s agricultural past and culturally embedded into the fabric of wine consciousness throughout the Balkans. As the oldest and one of the largest and most powerful wine producing institutions in South East Europe, they are fundamental to understanding the existing wine traditions in Macedonia.
Back in 1885, Pano Velkov, a merchant, nobleman and landowner added trade in wine and grapes to his commercial interests. As the 20th Century approached, little could he know the extent to which Tikveš Winery would progress to become a regional institution and at the heart of pioneering the development of the modern Macedonian wine industry.
Since the winery’s modest creation though, the winery has faced many challenges, been through many different stages of development and experienced its fair share of structural change. Many voices and ideas spread across multiple generations are responsible for the Tikveš we know today.
The company has seen two World Wars and a prolonged period of political and ideological intervention. In 1946 the government enforced the nationalisation of and by 1968 it had been merged with several other agricultural companies to ensure it became the largest facility in the Balkans. Nevertheless, production and sales continued to grow and have always remained impressive. By the closing years of the 21st century Tikveš was producing over 20 million liters of wine annually.
In 2003, the M6 investment group took over the reigns and began to implement a new vision for the company. It involved preparing the Tikveš name for a new era by increasing the number of bottled wines it produces. This required a new focus, one that concentrates on the production of high quality, bottled wine. Investment in all aspects of the winery has been made with particular attention to the wine making process, from cultivation to vinification and bottling.
Tikveš owns nearly 1000 hectares of vineyards throughout both the Tikveš and Veles districts, as well as dealing with a plethora of growers that give the company access to an additional 3000 hectares. It’s clearly a massive operation and at harvest time the winery site looks and feels like a small town.
Given that good wine begins in the vineyard, one of the greatest challenges for the new vision is changing old habits. Therefore, the winery continuously invests in education and communication, proudly building a network of contractors that share their grape growing philosophy.
As you would expect of a winery of this size, Tikveš works hard to identify new high potential vineyard sites and in recent years this continued research has facilitated the aquisition of additional plots in Manastirec and Demir Kampija. The much smaller localities of Bela Voda and Barovo are held in particularly high regard.
In terms of numbers, much of the company’s production is still focused on bulk wine and is of little interest to the genuine wine enthusiast. However, the Tikves brand is spearhead by a range of wines bottled under the Special Selection label. These provide the best window into the company.