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Slovenia is a very young country. Until 1991 it was part of Yugoslavia, but now this population of two million people, with 21,500ha (53,000 acres) of vineyards between them, is striking out on its own.

Although in wine terms Slovenia produced just 6% of Yugoslavia's annual output, this was always the more prosperous part of the country. Along with Serbia and Kosovo, it was a major wine exporter. Now Slovenian wineries are relatively well-equipped - stainless steel rubs shoulders with old oak casks and cement vats. Although most of the vineyards have been quickly passed into private hands, every region has its huge central winery and 97.5% of the country's 660,000-case annual production (which divides fairly equally between red and white) comes from them. The rest is made by an increasing number of private producers, about 150 of whom already bottle their own wine. Their cellars may be minuscule - just a steel vat or two, a row of black oak barrels - but they are fuelled by an enormous sense of pride.

Under the Communist system in Yugoslavia, everybody was permitted to own up to 10ha (25 acres) of land. In fact, the average holding is much smaller and, since farming is mixed, many growers have less than a hectare of vines. Most opt to grow a mixture of grape varieties, and these vary in some respects according to the region.

Of the rest of the eight republics of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia was the biggest wine producer (46%, two-thirds of it white), followed by Serbia, which produced 17% (70% red). The rest was divided between Kosovo (60% red), Montenegro (90% red), Vojvodina (95% white), Macedonia (half red, half white) and Bosnia Herzegovina (79% white).

When peace returns to the region Serbia could have the greatest potential for quality. Croatia makes some good, juicy red, but of fairly everyday quality so far.

Amselfelder, the biggest-selling red-wine brand in Europe, used to come from Kosovo. It was a Pinot Noir wine aimed originally at the German market. The threat of war in Kosovo has led the brand's owners to move production to Italy, where its rather sweet commercial style will be replicated.

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