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Discover the Wines of Macedonia at Bellavita Chicago 2024

Wines of North Macedonia at Bellavita Chicago 2024

We had the opportunity to engage in a brief discussion with Nina Pendaroska of the Association Wines of Macedonia, representing the Republic of North Macedonia, the guest country at the Bellavita Pavilion during the National Restaurant Association Show 2024 in Chicago. Wines of Macedonia is showcasing 11 great wineries from the country, offering attendees a comprehensive Southern European experience.

Nina, what unique qualities make Macedonian wines stand out from others?

Macedonian wines have a unique character that sets them apart from other wine-producing countries. Our diverse geography, with its mountains, valleys, and microclimates, creates various terroirs suitable for grape cultivation, enabling winemakers to produce a wide variety of styles, from bold reds to crisp whites. The history and tradition of winemaking in Macedonia date back thousands of years, and our winemakers blend traditional and modern methods to create a truly unique experience. Above all, we are committed to providing premium quality wines at a value-for-money price compared to other wine regions with similar quality, making them an attractive option for everyday enjoyment and special occasions.

What Macedonian wines are currently popular in the international market?

Wines of Macedonia (WoM) takes pride in showcasing all Macedonian wines, but our true triumph lies in the Vranec red wines. The word “Vranec” translates to black stallion, alluding to the wine’s alluringly dark color. With its warm-blooded and robust character, this local Balkan variety is a true embodiment of the people and the climate conditions in the Republic of North Macedonia. We invite show visitors at Bellavita Chicago to experience this exceptional wine and form their own impression.

Where do you see the future of Macedonian wines, especially in relation to the US market?

North Macedonia is known for exporting a large portion of its wine production, which accounts for 85% of its total production. The United States wine market is crucial for Macedonian wineries as they rely on exports. As the awareness of Macedonian wines continues to grow, especially among wine enthusiasts and professionals, we can see a potential increase in demand in the US. To tap into the US market, we need to focus on strategic marketing efforts, participate in international wine fairs and events such as Bellavita, and collaborate with importers and distributors. The future of Macedonian wines in the US market is dependent on continuous efforts to build awareness, improve quality, innovate and capitalize on export opportunities while staying true to the unique identity and heritage of Macedonian winemaking.

Can you give us a little preview of the wines that WoM will showcase at Bellavita Chicago?

At the Bellavita show, you will have the opportunity to taste our local varieties like Vranec (red) and Temjanika (white), providing a unique experience for those who haven't tried them before. Moreover, you can also savor popular international varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Black, Grenache Blanc, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and many more. Each wine expresses a distinctive flavor of the Macedonian terroir that cannot be found anywhere else.

What are your expectations for WoM's participation at Bellavita Chicago, particularly in terms of the US market?

Our association’s mission has been to raise awareness of North Macedonia as a premium wine producer with excellent quality wines and to increase export opportunities for the Macedonian wineries. At Bellavita Chicago, we expect to meet new clients and potential connections who are challenged by novelty and creativity—we offer a unique wine-tasting experience to remember.