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The 50th F.I.C.B. Congress in Macedonia: a grand cru

The 50th  F.I.C.B. international congress was open in Skopje, capital city of the Republic of Macedonia, on Thursday 31 May 2018. It gathered participants from wine brotherhoods from a dozen countries for a magnificent programme which allowed them to appreciate the cultural and wine richness of this wonderful and sunny country. It was  organized by the Consulate of Macedonia of O.E.V.E., under the leadership of its Proconsul 1, Iki Malinkovski and of Dimitar Bozadjiev, Proconsul 2, Chairman and organizer of the Congress, with the assistance of the travel agent Macedonia Travel.

We report here the events of the Congress and of its extension.

Site of the Congress: http://vinskivitezi.mk/congress-2018/  

Site of the travel agent: http://www.macedoniatravel.com/
 
We give below the sites of the wineries having supplied the wines served , when they have a website. Some wineries supplied wines for several of the events. All wineries are presented  on the site of the Wines of Macedonia: http://winesofmacedonia.mk/
 
- Day 1 : 31 May
Before the official opening of the Congress, the Mayor of Skopje, Petre Shilegov, welcomed the participants and underlined the more than 4000 years of wine tradition of the country and the efforts made in recent years to achieve world quality level.

          

Opening ceremony and dinner

                                             

The opening of the Congress was pronounced by the F.I.C.B. president, Alan Bryden. The Chairman of the 2018 Congress, Dimitar Bozadjiev, was presented with the F.I.C.B. flag by Buddy Hagner, the Grand Commander of the Knights of the Vine of America, which organized the previous F.I.C.B. Congress in California in 2016, chaired by Pat Pingitore, also present. Around them stood the dignitaries of the wine brotherhoods present.  

- Day 2: 1 June

Academic session
The academic session was held at the prestigious Macedonian philharmonic amphitheater. Two presentations of the Macedonian wine history, economy and varietals were made by Prof. Dr. Klime Beleski and Prof. Dr. Mihail Petkov of the Faculty of agricultural and food sciences of the St Cyril and St Method University of Skopje.

Procession

A procession of the participants in wine brotherhoods' attire, led by a band, with each national delegation preceeded by two young Macedonians in folkloric costume, took the participants to the St Mary Church through the center of Skopje.

            

Enthronization (or induction) ceremony

At the St Mary Church, after a short religious ceremony, some 15 participants were enthronized (or inducted) in the Consulate of O.E.V.E. of Macedonia. In addition, Iki Malinovski, Dimitar Bozadjiev, H.E. Igor Popov and Alan Bryden received a special recognition (« signum honoris ») presented by Prof. Dr. Ing. Alfred Racoczi Tombor-Tintera, Magister Generalis and Consul Senatus 1 of the O.E.V.E.

Dinner at the Museum of Contemporary Art

The dinner took place at the Skopje Museum of Contemporay Art, facing Mount Vodno, the « black mountain » which overlooks Skopje and is  topped by an  illuminated cross, installed in 2000 to celebrate the entry of christianism in its third millenium. Music by the famous Macedonian  pop  star Vlatko Stefanovski (see photo hereunder on the left) entertained and thrilled the participants !

http://bovin.com.mk/

- Day 3: 2 June

Visit and wine tasting at Château Sopot

This young estate created in 2006 is located in the Veles wine region.

www.chateausopot.mk

Visit and wine tasting at the Lepovo and Tikves estates

 

              

 

With some 600 Ha of vineyards, the Tikves Group is  the most ancient and largest wine producer in South East Europe. It markets its wines under the Tikves brand, but has also « boutique » wines such as Lepovo where the Congress visited, or Barovo, whose wines were served. Several wines produced by the Tikves Group have been awarded high Parker ratings.  The consultant wine maker is Philippe Cambie, elected as world’s best winemaker in 2010. The lunch at the Tikves estate, prepared by a world class French  chef,  was accompanied by folkloric danses and music of the region.

http://tikves.com.mk/

Tasting of the wines of the world at the Macedonian Ethnic Village

Located on the slopes of Mount Vodno, the Macedonian ethnic village presents all the types of traditional habitat and furniture of the country. It served as the setting for the traditional « tasting of the wines of the world » which enabled the participants to taste the some 60 different wines brought by the participants.

 

 

- Day 4 : 3 June

Visit and wine tasting at the Queen Maria Winery

This winery was created in 1928 by Alexander Karadjordjevic, first King of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which afterwards became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and his wife Queen Maria of Romania who spent time on the estate.

Visit of the archeological site of Stobi

Stobi was the capital city of Northern Macedonia under the Roman Empire, and occupied until the Turkish invasion. It contains wonderful archeological remains, in particular a Roman amphitheater and beautiful mosaics.

Visit and wine tasting at the Stobi Winery

The visit of the nearby Stobi winery was followed by a lunch entertained by a feminine  string quartet which performed an amazing range of music, from classical to charleston and rock n’roll !

http://stobiwinery.mk/home.nspx

Gala dinner at Château Kamnik

          

         

                                                              from left to right: I. Malinkovski, A. Bryden and D. Bozadjiev

The Château Kamnik Winery produces some of the most prestigious Macedonian wines, having received numerous international awards. Hosted by its owner, Iki Malinkovski, Proconsul 1 of the O.E.V.E. Makedonia wine brotherhood, and his wike Ishkra, the architect who designed the castle, it was the venue for the Congresses’ Gala Dinner. A sensational fireworks’ show concluded this memorable 2018 edition of the F.I.C.B. Congress.

http://www.chateaukamnik.com/

EXTENSION IN THE REGION OF LAKE OHRID

The two days’ extension gave the opportunity to visit the region of Lake Ohrid in the South of Macedonia, well known for its beautiful scenery and many churches.

- Day 5 : 4 June

Visit of the St John Bigorski Monastery and lunch at the nearby Kukja na Mijacite restaurant with a selection of wines from the Popov Winery:

www.popovwinery.com.mk/en

Visit of the archeological site of the city of Ohrid and the old town:

Dinner at the St Sophia restaurant with selected wines from the Lazar Winery:

- Day 6: 5 June

Cruise on the lake to the St Nahum Monastery and fish menu at the local floating restaurant, with excellent white wines from Kamnik, Tikves, Stobi, Bovin, Popov and Lazar:

    

Visit of churches in Ohrid city and farewell dinner at the Noa restaurant on the lakeside, with game and venison, with excellent red Vranec wines from Kamnik, Tikves, Stobi, Bovin, Popov and Lazar:

  

(photo credit: Zdravko Mitic/Skopje for most photos)

(We will soon post a gallery with more photos)