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Macedonian Wine Culture

September and October are the months when the grape producers are enjoying the result of their work. Every year the grape producers celebrate the completion of the whole cycle of grape growing, ripening and harvesting. Once the grapes are picked they will be used for making various products – wine, brandy, liqueurs, preserves, “madjun” (grape honey) and in a few houses you might even find the traditionally made “rejchel”. The grapes are harvested usually in August and September, but the owners have to monitor the situation closely and decide when a particular grape variety should be picked, depending on the weather conditions and the sugar, acid and tannin content. A lot of the grape producers sell their grapes in bulk and if you are in the Tikvesh region around the harvest time you will see a lot of tractors lining up at the various collection points to sell their daily harvest. If it starts raining a day or two before the harvest the grapes will be fuller and heavier, but their sugar content will be low. That will definitely be a problem this year and due to the very rainy summer this agricultural sector will suffer big losses. Bad harvests like this one are crucial and existentially important to the boutique wineries. The big ones have higher likelihood of surviving, but it is not easy for anyone in this business when nature is brutal as it has been in the last month. Read more …