Viticulture has a long and rich tradition in the Dolenjska region. The Romans were the first to plant vines in the immediate vicinity of the town Neviodunum, on the ruins where today we find Drnovo pri Krškem. The Romans were supposedly planting vineyards on the slopes of the Dolenjska hills in the heart of today's wine-growing hills around Leskovec pri Krškem and near Šentjernej. The downfall of the Roman Empire also signified the decline of the wine-making in these parts, which was revived only in the 11th and 12th century by the Catholic Church.
One of the biggest and best designed vine cellars in the Dolenjska region at that time was the cellar Bajnof at Trška Gora. The Cistercians from Bajnof sold their wine to the imperial Vienna which testifies to its quality. The Dolenjska wine-making experienced special development in the 13th century when the Kostanjevica monks started making wine in the ideal surrounding for this branch. In the 15th century this part of the Dolenjska region was intertwined by vast and well-cultivated vineyards and cviček was much esteemed. Horse and river carriers regularly delivered it to Ljubljana and from there it was transported to other towns of the Habsburg Empire. All these peaks were through history of cviček also followed by numerous downfalls.
Organised viticulture and wine-making in the Dolenjska region started with the foundation of Vinarska zadruga in Kostanjevica na Krki at the end of 1928. Economic circumstances and from the grape phylloxera ruined vineyards demanded from the manufacturers to unite in a specialised cooperative, which was to stimulate the restoration and act in the fields of sales and promotion of the Dolenjska wines, especially the already established autochthonous cviček.
Economic and political cooperation started developing mostly after 1970 when the first wine bottling plant was opened, the cellar capacities extended, the proprietary wine-growing land was acquired, and successful (sustainable) relationships with private growers were established.
The present day Kmečka zadruga Krško z.o.o. was founded in 1993 and has its own wine-growing territory at the estate Sremič, where high-quality white, red, and predicate wines are made. Grapes for the production of cviček are bought from members of our cooperative.
At the same time, the Consortium Cviček was also established to preserve the traditional production of autochthonous quality wine and through the sale of wines of the higher price range ensures the existence of the Dolenjska region wine-growers. They are already succeeding in doing so, mostly through joint market entry, promotion, and standardised wine quality. Cellarmen of the Kmečka zadruga Krško z.o.o. try to produce wines which are agreeable to the increasingly demanding market and belong to the higher price range and do so in a modern and beautiful cellar. Cellar capacity is 4 million litres. Annually they produce 1.5 million litres of wine, among which cviček PTP represents 90 %, while the rest are regional wines and high-quality wines from Sremič.
The most important among wines is certainly cviček PTP which is a true wine specialty. It is produced from red (Blaufränkisch, žametna črnina) and white grape sorts (Portugais rouge, Italian Riesling, rumeni plavec, Silvaner). Namely, cviček PTP is the only wine in the world beside the Tuscany chianti that is made of red and white sorts. Cviček PTP with its typical red label featuring the motif of the old castle cellar is well known among the Slovenians. It is distinguished by the low alcohol content, pleasant acid and healing powers.
Cviček PTP developed throughout the years to become a renowned and valued wine but could not find its place and protection in the legislation. The need for legislative protection was revealed during the first vineyard restoration when the wines of higher quality and greater cost production had a hard time competing with significantly cheaper ones.
The people of Dolenjska finally managed to protect their cviček PTP on 22nd February 2001, when the Slovenian parliament adopted the amendment to the Wine act and thus protected the wine with the name recognised traditional denomination (PTP). This concluded the years long argumentation and striving of the Dolenjska cviček PTP enthusiasts that the real cviček PTP can only be the one grown on the right bank of the Sava river, therefore, from the Dolenjska wine-growing district.