Primož Lavrenčič and wine estate Burja, Vipava valley, Slovenia
Primož Lavrenčič is young but alredy well known producer of excellent wines from the Vipava valley. Winemaker with a clear vision of wine, which, for him, must be sophisticated, elegant and long – full of noble characteristics, which can already be found in his bottles.
What has brought you into the world of wines?
I was born into a family where everybody talked about vineyards and wine. My grandfather Anton had always wines in his wine cellar and there were always wine merchants and private buyers. Harvest was always the event of the year and I was always there. I decided to choose this life in the year 1991, when I decided to study Agronomy in Ljubljana.
How would you describe your company?
Burja estate is a conceptual project which was slowly developing within myself. It is very conceptual, but at the same time very simple and local. All my energy is focused on the production of local Vipava wines and Pinot Noir. next year I will receive also the certificate of the bio production, but for me this is of less importance – I want that people drink my wines because they are good and they tell them something, not because they are biological. My way of production is based on the principle that I’m trying to exclude the human influence on wine as much as possible. With my knowledge and mind I decided to control in the wine cellar only two things: temperature and oxidation, everything else I’m only monitoring. In the vineyard it’s more complicated – there is involved a complex ecosystem and it’s more difficult to decide what is more and what is less important.
The whole agronomy and later also winemaking has after the second world war because of the lack of food chosen intense way of cultivation, with chemical additives for achieving bigger production. But wine is not urgent for survival and with such a way of production it looses the expression of the terroir. So I’m trying to stop adding additives and trying to understand how to encourage nature, most of all the ground, to express itself in the best way through my wines.
What’s your wine philosophy?
My approach in the vineyard is based on a holistic approach from the Aristotel’s Methaphisics. To this should be added also my personal pantheistic approach. The key in the great amount of the wines from all over the world remains the question of dualistic paradigm – so is the idea of wine the same for all the wines? So would that idea exist in an extrasensory Platonic space or is the idea expressed in each wine separately and is its indivisible part? Here I think (and that are the wines I like and want to make them myself too), that wines from different parts of the world, from different wine cellars and from different wine makers contein their own idea, or their essence, bottled as their own expression. This is most evident in the wines that leave to the space (“terroir”) the freedom of expression. But it’s true that recognition of the idea of wine depends of the knowledge, culture and experiences of the drinker – so it’s a fact that the same wine can generate different, even contradictory, experiences.
Between your wines, which one do you prefer?
The white Burja.
Are your wines the way you want them?
Already since a few years I’m trying to step back or better diminish my influence on the wines and let the bigger influence to nature, surroundings in which the grapes and wine matured. So yes, I believe my wines are the way I want them.
Which wine of some other winemaker would you want to be yours?
This is per definition impossible because wines of others wine makers which I like have too strong personal touch, too strong own idea and space in it, that I could identify them as mine. All wines were already made once in the past, so I would love to travel in time into one of the upper Vipava wine cellars, for example in 18th or 19th century. Maybe I would be happy to create Zelen or Vipavec in the Tavčar’s wine cellar (Rabbit’s castle), for example vintage 1862.
Do you have any realizable or realized dreams?
My ideal is to build, together with other wine makers from Vipava, a strong regional brand, comparable to the famous ones as: Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo, Brunello, Tokai… Things are moving …
Do you have also any unrealizable dream?
Many things, if not all, are relative.
If you wouldn’t be involved in wines, what would you do?
It’s difficult to speculate like this. Who knows, maybe I would be a window cleaner or a philosopher. It depends of the day. Beside wine I have a great passion for architecture that’s why I suppose that I would probably help to my friend Marko Lavrenčič in the Vipava architectural studio.
Where are available your wines?
In Slovenia my distributor is eVino, in Europe my wines are for now available in Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, we are now managing something in Switzerland, Serbia, Croatia, Finland and Great Britain. In USA, where we work with IndieWineries distributors, Zelen was surprisingly well accepted. I’m always happy when I gain success with such typical Vipava wines – be the case of a medal or listing in a good wine card. I’m for example very proud that white Burja is available in the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and of course that Slovenian people accepted well the idea of the white Burja, as a typical, historically confirmed variety from Vipava.