While the valley stretches only some two dozen kilometres from the imposing Mount Nanos in the east to the city of Nova Gorica in the west, the Vipava Valley’s unique location at the meeting point of several different climate zones gives rise to no less than five distinct micro-regions, namely the Lower Vipava, Middle Vipava, Upper Vipava, Vipava Hills and Branica Valley.
While the effects of this varied geography are clear even to first-time visitors, with plants like figs and palm trees growing at one end of the valley but not the other, the region’s most notable feature is the Bora (or Burja in Slovene) wind, which gusts down from Mount Nanos at speeds exceeding 200km/h. The wind is strongest during the wintertime, and is the reason why buildings in villages are built so close together, roofs are piles with stones and the local highway is often closed.
However, far from being an inconvenience, the valley’s 20,000-plus inhabitants seem to revel in their constant battle with the forces of nature, and have been rewarded with some of the finest winemaking conditions in the world. In particular, Zelenand Pinela are two must-try indigenous varieties, and as is so often the case, where there’s great wine there’s also great food. Culinary highlights in the region include jota (a rich sauerkraut or pickled turnip, bean and pork soup), štruklj (cheese- or walnut-filled dumplings) and burja (cured meats and cheeses).
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