The recent viticultural history of all the Drava Valley is indelibly tied to the name of Archduke Johann of Hapsburg, better known in Slovenia by his Slovenized name, Janez. Archduke Janez was the thirteenth child of Emperor Leopold II and Marie-Louise, and therefore the son of one Austrian emperor, the brother of another (Franz I), and uncle and Heir Presumptive to a third (Ferdinand I). The date March 10, 1822, is written with golden letters in the history of Podravje: on that day, Archduke Janez bought an estate near Pekre. Since his death, the estate has been known as Meranovo, named after the city of Meran in South Tyrol where the Archduke's worldly remains are entombed in the Schenna Castle.

The official history says that Archduke Janez fell in love with the country - the not-so-official history adds that there was also a local girl involved.

Archduke Janez devoted a large part of his life to the development of viticulture in the area and introduced many new vines from the Rhine and Mosel valleys to the region, including Riesling, Traminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Today, these are among the most prestigious wines of the Maribor area and all of Podravje. He also introduced new planting schemes and training techniques and experimented with vines brought from Hungary, Italy, and even the Crimea. He founded a school of viticulture in 1832 and established a fund that granted pensions to old impoverished vinicarji (hired vineyard workers, best described as viticultural proletariat) who had worked for at least ten years for one vineyard owner.

On the Meranovo estate, the wines that Archduke Janez introduced still dominate the vineyards and regularly win prizes at wine fairs in Slovenia and abroad. The pinnacle of the Meranovo offering is an outstanding Sauvignon with its overpowering "elder blossom" bouquet. On Meranovo the vineyards are planted on 22 ha. It is currently 50% of vineyards planted with the variety Sauvignon.

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