Thanks to its owner’s dedication, willingness to take on challenges and clear vision, the Aleksandrović Winery has grown to become a producer of top wine that are highly regarded both at home and abroad
The Aleksandrović Winery has spent more than two decades continuously building its business model, which is based on a commitment to producing top quality wines, innovation and the introduction of the highest standards throughout the production chain. Owner of the winery, Božidar Aleksandrović, entered the world of wine in 1991 when he began to carefully match elements on his family’s estate near Topola that enabled him, over time, to establish solid foundations for this renowned wine house. Today this winery produces 300,000 bottles of premium wines annually, while its entire organisation – from the entrance to the building, through the entrance hall, tasting rooms and conference rooms, to the production facilities – appears to satisfy the requirements of serious winemaking, in combination with the latest technological solutions.
What is the secret of the success of your winery?
– There is a proverb: Even though you are on the right track if you stop then someone will overtake you. That is why we invest continuously in people, equipment and new technology. Today we have seventy- five hectares of vineyards, and I started with four.
The Aleksandrović Winery was the first in Serbia to produce barriqued white wine, we launched a premium line of wines and produced sparkling wine using the champenoise method that has won significant awards internationally.
How much risk is carried by introducing new products?
– That solid and sumptuous sparkling wine actually opened the story of one of the latest enterprises of the Aleksandrović Winery. After just a few years on the market, that line of sparkling wines started to live its own life, although our initial decision to launch production of this wine had seemed strange to many. The winery already had quite a wide range at the time, but this was another challenge – to produce sparkling wine from Serbian grapes according to a French winemaking philosophy.
Our best-selling wines in the U.S. are Charisma (Harizma) and Triumph Noir, in London Triumph (Trijumf) sells well, while consumers in Russia, China and Japan want powerful red wines, such as Regent and Rodoslov
How did you acquire the knowhow to produce sparkling wines?
– In Épernay, in Champagne, we met oenologist Pierre-Yves Bournerias, who became our consultant, especially for sparkling wines. We wanted to apply best practices from the original production system, but with our own local base. Production of sparkling wine requires a special approach because there are a lot of fine points, the grapes are harvested greener, with a smaller percentage of sugar, but it seems to me that when you master these skills it is easier to achieve continuity of quality than in ordinary, still wine. I think we succeeded in creating a truly authentic sparkling wine, which we jokingly call “Šumadinac”. Our entire production of sparkling wine has been led since 2009 by our oenologist Vladan Nikolić.
And that’s not the end of this sparkling story?
– No, because it was soon followed by Triumph Noir, a sparkling wine made only from the Pinot Noir variety. Gentler and more elegant than its predecessor, it was an excellent introduction to the story of white wines. And, naturally, it began with Triumph. Triumph (Serbian Trijumf)) was the first wine I bottled and it has been produced according to the same recipe since 1992.
I was fortunate enough to get hold of a manuscript with the description of the king’s wine cellar in Oplenac and I still adhere to that system today. Now we also have Triumph Gold, a wine that is fermented and aged in Slavonian oak barrels with a volume of 4,000 litres. For me, that is our dearest wine, as it has somehow marked this past twenty or more years of the Aleksandrović Winery.
There are also other equally compelling wines?
– It would be very easy to conclude that the wines Rodoslov grand reserve 2006 and Rodoslov grand reserve 2009 will play a prominent role in the market in the years ahead. Our current leading red wine was done in the style of a Bordeaux blend – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Prokupac in 2006, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in 2009 – giving these wines a very complex aromatic-fruity character, which is followed by a full body of great extractives, ripe tannins and an elegant long finish. This red wine changed the image of the Aleksandrović Winery as a treasury of good white wine.
How much of an advantage is having such a wide range of wines and how much of a challenge does that present for a winery?
– It is a challenge to have different assortments and clones. As for the breadth of the palette, my opinion is that this is not a shortcoming. Some like chardonnay, some sauvignon blanc, and in this way you give consumers a choice, especially when it comes to the export segment. For example, the best-selling of our wines in the U.S. are Charisma (Harizma) and Triumph Noir, in London nobody wants Charisma (Harizma), but Triumph (Trijumf) sells well, while in Russia, China and Japan people want powerful red wines, such as Regent and Rodoslov. We have a lot of labels, but we are not overloaded. All of our wines are different and in different price categories. A problem might arise if you had very similar wines and a lot of labels. In that case, identity is lost.
The aim of our association is to show tourists from around the world all of Šumadija’s beauty, tourist potential, and the peculiarities of climate that make our wines specific
How important is powerful marketing in your work?
– We are constantly active on the market, in all segments – whether that means fairs, evaluations, promotions, media coverage. This winery enables intensive contact with consumers and feels their pulse.
Winemaking is a highly professional job. Producing top quality is high science, and ensuring continuity is even higher. It is only when you have made the wine and packaged it that the next stage comes – how to sell it? For that, you must listen to the market, because tastes change.
At the same time, you have to keep your identity and to do so by monitoring the market and not losing connection with what that wine is. I have always tried to construct my own style of wine, but for it be in step with trends in consumer tastes.
You can produce wines that are one hundred per cent an expression of your dedication and approach to winemaking, but then you can’t count on occupying a significant market position in the long run. Anyone who produces large amounts must follow the market.