St. Martin's Day

St. Martin’s feast in figures

In Slovenia exactly 200 Martins celebrate their birthday on 11 November. A Slovenian drinks on average 43 liters of wine in one year, which ranks Slovenia third in the European Union. The largest wine producer in the EU is Italy, which is also our top import and export country.   

  • 11/8/2017
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'St. Martin makes must turn into wine' says the Slovenian proverb about St. Martin's feast, which is celebrated on 11 November. The legend says that in the winter the humble Martin met a beggar without clothes and gave him half of his cloak. After this people were looking for Martin to appoint him bishop but he hid among geese which betrayed him with their cackling.

Are we self-sufficient for St. Martin's feast?  

For St. Martin's feast typical food is served which is different in different regions. Definitely we cannot miss a goose or some other poultry, mlinci (thin dried flatbread), red cabbage and wine.
In Slovenia 95,000 tons of grapes were produced in 2016. Slovenia produced 823,100 hl of wine, of which about 70% white wine. The self-sufficiency rate in wine was 91%. In Slovenia 65,000 tons of poultry were produced, the self-sufficiency rate was almost 107%, and the average annual consumption per capita was almost 30 kilograms. Additionally, we always serve mlinci, which in 2016 we sold about 140 tons in the total value of EUR 320,000. In the same period the merchants bought from farmers nearly 170 tons of red cabbage.

In the last 10 years, the price of high quality wine has increased by more than 50%

In 2016 a bottle of high quality wine cost on average EUR 3.05, while the same bottle in 2006 cost EUR 1.92. In the last 10 years the price of wine changed; it was the highest in 2013 at EUR 3.35. 

In 2016 a kilogram of grapes cost EUR 3.45. One year before, for the third less (EUR 2.62).   

Slovenia imports more wine than it exports

In 2016 Slovenia imported more than 13 million liters of wine from fresh grapes worth about EUR 13 million. The top import countries were Italy, Macedonia and Hungary. Slovenia exported 4.5 million liters of wine from fresh grapes worth almost EUR 14 million. The top export countries were Italy, the United States and Austria. In recent years the export to China has been increasing; in 2007 we exported EUR 91,000 and in 2016 almost 10 times more.  

How much wine do Slovenians drink?

Wine is very popular in Slovenia during the whole year, not only for St. Martin’s feast. In 2015 the average wine consumption per capita was 43 liters, of which more than 68% white wine. With this amount Slovenia was third in the European Union behind Portugal, 48 liters, and Luxembourg, more than 50 liters. In the European Union the average wine consumption was 23.9 liters per capita. People in Poland were drinking the least, 2.1 liters per capita.

Some more interesting facts about wine and Martin:
  • In 2015 more than 91% of grape growers in Slovenia were cultivating vineyards smaller than 1 hectare
  • The word wine comes from the Latin word vinum meaning both wine and vine
  • Several thousand years BCE people in Mesopotamia were using the same sign for wine and for life
  • In the marketing year 2015/2016 the largest wine producer in the European Union was Italy (more than 50 million hectoliters), followed by France and Spain
  • In Slovenia 8,969 men are named Martin (of all men's names Martin is the 25th most common) and 7,503 women are named Martina (of all women's names Martina is the 26th most common)
  • In Slovenia 5,571 people celebrate their birthday on St. Martin’s Day, of whom exactly 200 are named Martin


Detailed data and time series are available in the SI-STAT database.
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