Pivnice – Wine Cellars

Wine CellarsVine cultivation has to a great extent preserved a traditional way of growing vineyards, cutting, processing and making wine. This was accompanied by a particular techhology, tools, mechanisms and wine containers and cellars used for wine preservation. Winegrowers marked the start of the vintage with clean cellars and dishes, while the first vintage day was marked by the flowers covered wagons and casks. The picked grapes are pressed and made into white and red or blush wines. Grape processing and vine cultivation is carried out in particular rooms, called wine cellars ( pivnica, pimnica ) .

These cellars are very fascinatings buildings built in villages or out of them. They are situated in the areas where they could be protected of any pollution, floods or snowdrifts. They are built of stonei, often ashlars, of beams, with thick walls, even over 60 cm. The wine cellars are partly dug into the ground (up to 1 m) to keep a constant air temperature. As a rule, they are square, and can contain several large barrels containing 5 000 liters each, dozen of casks containing 700 liters each, many small casks, as well as wine dishes and mechanisms. Upstairs are rooms for winegrowers during the vintage, but they are also often used for weddings, parties, and in other occasions. Because of family ties, there are often two, three and even six such buildings in a row.

They are situated in a way to allow regular communication, and between them are streets 3 to 4 meters wide and allow entry into the cellars. On certain places, inhabitants dug several wells and that water was used for washing wine dishes, but was also for personal use. In the central part of the complex are central squares, so called cultic places. These places were built as a symbol of respect of the patron saint and represent protectors of vineyards, winegrowers and wine cellars. During the religious holidays, inhabitants organized all gatherings and festivities ( joint meals and dances that lasted up to several days ) in these places.

Many villages had complexes of wine cellars called ” wine preservation villages “, which were architecturally very remarkable. One of the biggest was the complex of cellars in Tamnič with stone laid streets, squares and stores. However, the last wine cellar with upper floor in this complex was demolished in 1955.

Wine cellar are not built anymore, and in a large numbers of villages they disappeared, but some cellars in Rajac, Rogljevo, Smedovac, Štubik and Bratujevac  are preserved. Those in Rajac, Rogljevo and  Smedovac are still in a good condition and are still used. Some of them are turned into modern functional space, keeping the specific ambient. That space is ofered to tourists where one can try or buy wine. There are some redecorated buildings for visiting and accommodating of tourists that preserve tradition and customs of a Serbian host.

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