It was a welcome surprise to arrive in Skopje, North Macedonia, and discover that one of this country’s true specialties is wine. Usually, you hear of travelers flocking to the popular wine regions of France, Italy, or Spain or even some parts of the US. However, North Macedonia is more than deserving of a place in the wine travel department. While there are so many wineries dotted throughout North Macedonia, we thought we’d try out a wine tasting in our city of Skopje.
Kartal Winery is a small operation run by two brothers, Jordan and Phillip, who put their heart and soul into winemaking. When you find yourself in Skopje, North Macedonia, seek out Kartal Winery for a genuine and memorable wine tasting experience. In this post, we talk about our personal experience visiting Kartal Winery and why wine lovers should visit when in North Macedonia!
Kartal Winery in Skopje and How to Get There
Unless you have your own car, taxis are the easiest option to get to Kartal Winery. In fact, Jordan and Phillip told us to have the taxi driver call them for directions and they would book one for our departure. Trust us and take them up on it! It will make your life easier.
We arrived by bus which was a little confusing. Bus 41 takes you nearby, but you have to do a little walking. If you do go by bus, make sure you have a phone plan or the local maps downloaded for Skopje. We found public transportation directions on Google maps before leaving our apartment to be the best way to navigate. Just keep an eye on your map so you know what stop to get off at.
Once you’re off the bus, follow the road in the same direction the bus continued and take the first right. You’ll be on a gravel path and this is where you stop listening to Google Maps. Just keep walking up the road until you see an orange building on your left. That’s Kartal Winery.
All that said, we think a taxi is your best option. It’s cheap and much faster!
The Kartal Winery Tasting
Now for the fun part! Kartal’s wine tasting was a little more than two hours in total, featuring a tour of the operation and the cellar, 6 different wine tastings (generous portions!), meats, Macedonian cheeses, fruits, bread, and finally, friendly and down to earth conversation.
As we’ve said, it’s a small operation run by Jordan and Phillip so our tour consisted of just the four of us.
Throughout the entirety of this tasting, we got to learn about North Macedonia and wine making and how those two are the perfect match. It’s true!
They offer three menus for you to choose from and they range in price from 20 euros to 30 euros per person. If you’re a group of just two people then add 5 euros per person to the price.
Each tasting includes six wines, from whites to reds and oak-aged vranec, a powerful Balkan variety of wine. The cheapest tasting comes with a heaping plate of meats and cheese, fresh fruits and bread. As the price goes up, the tasting includes more food, like a traditional cheese pie, and more premium wine included in the tasting.
We chose the first menu and had no regrets. We paid 25 euros a piece and that included tasting 3 whites, 3 reds and a large charcuterie board. Of course, we were able to buy a couple of bottles for ourselves as well after the tasting. We never felt rushed, enjoyed every minute, and have nothing but good things to say about Kartal Winery!
Lovely Hosts and Our Yearn to Return
While we conversed plenty about wine and North Macedonia, the conversation went every which direction and it felt more like a friendly dinner than a wine tasting, due to Jordan and Phillip’s hospitality. Since our tasting group was so small, it was more intimate than we expected and we’re excited to return when we come back to North Macedonia one day! There’s so much to do in Skopje but make time for a special evening out at Kartal Winery!