Medals from the International Wine Competition in Ljubljana have shone for 50 years
by Marjan Kveder (April 1, 2004)
This year the international wine competition in Ljubljana celebrates
its 50th anniversary of existence on the international wine scene and,
as no other wine competition has such a long tradition, it can be called
the oldest international wine competition in Europe and the world. And
where there was no other international wine competition there was the
Ljubljana wine competition that right from the start abided by strict
international rules and for many years was the only international centre
for the sensory analysis of wine.
The roots of the wine competition in Ljubljana go back even further,
deep in the past to 1811, when the "Tasting of Illyrian Wine"
was first held. Various forms of wine exhibitions and tasting events followed,
especially in the first half of the 20th century, that sought and selected
the best quality in wine produced. The first exhibition in Ljubljana to
include wine tasting was held in 1926. It is not therefore coincidental
that Ljubljana has such a long tradition in evaluating wine. Ljubljana,
the centre of Slovenia, has throughout its history been a trading city
on the Vienna and Venice axes, between the Mediterranean and Central Europe,
and has always lived from the wine trade that was carried out through
countries to the north and south. The result was the occasional wine tasting
events right up to 1954.
1955 was a milestone in that the first modern international wine competition
was held. Even then it was held under the auspices of the International
Organisation of Vine and Wine from Paris (OIV) and has continued under
its wing without a break every year to today. A little later the international
wine competition was to come under the auspices of the International Union
of Oenologists from Paris (UIE) and was to become a member of the World
Federation of the Largest International Wine and Spirit Competition from
Montreal (FMGCIVS). At the establishment of the World Federation of International
Wine Competitions in Montreal in 1994 Ljubljana took the presidency until
Constant patronage, control and cooperation with the three international
wine organizations OIV, UIE and FMGCIVS and strict adherence
to international rules has brought the Ljubljana wine competition the
greatest fame both for the organizers and within the profession. Due to
its professionalism, the wine competition in Ljubljana has become an example
for all other international wine competitions and a reference for the
three international organizations. The objectivity and quality of the
competition has awakened trust in world wine manufacturers who sent their
wine to Ljubljana.
Medals awarded at the international wine competition in Ljubljana have
quickly become recognized as an authentic measure of quality of the wine
tasted. The Ljubljana wine competition is said to have become the most
neutral event of its kind in the world. Producers do not send their samples
to Ljubljana for the market or for marketing but for the reputation the
competition brings and its extraordinary objectiveness in proving quality.
With the constant and high-quality judging, the medals awarded in Ljubljana
have become the highest sought after in the trade. Ljubljana has become
a centre for sensory activity with various international and global meetings,
congresses and assemblies being held at the same time as the international
wine competition all on the theme of sensory appraisal of wine.
In 1976 in Ljubljana the General Assembly of the OIV adopted an international
definition for oenologist and the rules of international wine competition.
All the new rules have been adopted and tested in Ljubljana. Because of
its long and rich tradition in wine, Ljubljana was named by the general
assembly of the OIV in Rome 1987 as the "City of Vine and Wine."
In 1990 the European Community recognised the International Wine Competition
in Ljubljana in its official gazette, number C 289 of 17 November, 1990,
and provided the opportunity for the prize-winning wines from the Ljubljana
competition to be advertised in the EU-countries.
To today, over 50 years, 50,000 wines from 40 countries (practically
all the wine producing countries) have been appraised. The oldest foreign
wine appraised was from Spain in 1885 that was sent to Ljubljana in 1969.
Every year more than 400 wine producers from all over the world send their
samples to Ljubljana. Around 70% of all wine judged comes from abroad.
Each year 40 recognized tasters from all continents participate in the
wine competition. Many are recognised and appointed by the OIV and UIE.
International rules are adhered to in that each judging committee has
one representative from the home country and each of the others come from
In Ljubljana only 30% of samples tasted are awarded medals. In this way
the reputation of the medals is preserved. The judging procedure takes
place without commentary and totally anonymously. Tasters are provided
with only data on the year and category of wine tasted, not the producer,
sort, origin or country. The purpose of this is to ensure the objectivity
of the event and to provide judges with the least possible burdensome
In May 2004 Slovenia becomes a full member of the European Union and
Ljubljana's international wine competition will become even more solid
among the numerous other wine competitions in Europe and the world.
Address: Ljubljanski sejem, d.d., Dunajska 10, p.p.3558, 1001 Ljubljana,
Phone: +386 1 300 26 13, +386 1 300 26 00, Fax: +386 1 300 26 48
Contact person: Stane Kavcic