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Sonja And Nataša Vrkatić, Owners Of The Verkat Winery

Women Today Are Also Working With Wine

The success of the Verkat winery is the product of the vision of a lawyer and an art historian, the two sisters Sonja and Nataša Vrkatić, their relationship with Fruška Gora, as a special place they grew up in and love, and immense support from another two women in the family, their mother Marica and third sister Ivana

For the next harvest we are hoping for a sparkly wine made of Grašac and perhaps an orange, but every year is different and we adapt to what the grapes give us, always looking forward to surprises – the Vrkatić sisters announce.

What brought you two sisters to the vineyard and the winery?

Our decision to be vintners grew out of a desire to preserve our family vineyard of Malvasia. For us, this line of work means doing something in a community, it is not an individual project. Basically, this is what brought us into the wine world.

The need to do something together in addition to our individual occupations, and to jointly maintain something that is important to all of us, and that binds us. Our relationship to Fruška Gora, as a special place we grew up in and love, certainly contributed to this. Our greatest support came from our mother Marica and sister Ivana, who is getting increasingly involved in the work of the winery.

Only those not in the know can ask how come women are leading a winery. How can we change this?

Precisely, caring for a vineyard was traditionally women’s work, if we’re talking about the division of labour in farmsteads. However, because of the patriarchal society we live in, it was rare for the women who tended the vineyard to also be the owners of the land or means of production. So, it is not surprising that the overall impression is that wine is men’s work. This, of course, is not only the case in wine product. The work of women is traditionally invisible in many areas, and it should be noted that many still wonder how come a woman is at the head of anything. This is really devastating and shows that the emancipatory project for women is nowhere near completion.

Change is, of course, possible, but it requires a long-term programme of economic empowerment of women in agriculture, education, and help with exercising rights.

The work of women is traditionally invisible in many areas, and it should be noted that many still wonder how come a woman is at the head of anything

As for the wine scene in Serbia, it is undergoing a period of interesting changes. Not only the appearance of women working with wine, but also a change of approach, the entry of young people with a different view of winery and vineyards, the expansion of the assortment and manufacturing technologies, strengthening of small wineries, and the use of diverse approaches. In any case, an interesting time for our business activity in Serbia. In this kind of environment, women working in this field are gaining a bit more space and incentive than before. We hope this trend will continue.

Will you celebrate the five-year anniversary of your business with a new wine or new plantations? What are your plans for expanding your business?

We certainly have to celebrate our five- year anniversary with a party. But jokes aside, we have many plans. One of the most important steps is a change in the approach to caring for vineyards and transition towards organic protection. This is something we have wanted for a long time, and we decided this is the right time to take this step. Since we have based our business thus far on the production of white and rosé wines, we are taking a small step towards making red wines. To start, we chose the Blaufränkisch variety, and hope to soon raise a plantation of varieties for red wines, an assortment that would complete our portfolio and be in harmony on Fruška Gora.

In any case, we endeavour to gain something interesting from every vintage. The 2021 vintage produced small series of Malvasia Barrique and a special Grašac 4.0, declared to be the best wine among native varieties of white wines at this year’s Wine Vision event.

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