We headed out with bikes on the Belje wine road with a short stop at the lookout. Our final destination was the weekend village Puškaš on the Old Danube near the Baranja village of Topolje, known by the church without a tower built in 1722 by the warlord Eugen Savojski as gratitude for the victory over the Turks in the Sente battle 25 years earlier. Descending on bikes from the top of Banovo hill to Popovac, my friend and in this occasion photojournalist Mladen Tutavac spent all his water. I knew we had to come across the estate of Josip Hudobec. And that the usually hospitable host will pour us some water. But not just water. Josip cherishes some excellent wines… and as he claims he is the only commercial winemaker in the Goldberg area – the best viticulture area in Baranja, with the foremost micro climate characteristics in insolation level. The best Baranja terroir.
Josip poured the water, but soon after asked “Would you like some wine?”
Who are we to turn him down…
“Belje has protected the name Goldberg for their premium label of wine, however Belje has no vineyards on Goldberg. I am not saying the wines are bad, but they are simply not from the viticulture area of Goldberg. Besides me as a winemaker on Goldberg there are also several fruit producers. There are also several weekend winemakers with around three hundred vines, but they produce exclusively for their own needs. I sell a lot of wine on my doorstep, if I was located on a more important road, the percentage would be higher. Unfortunately, Popovac is the traffic appendix of Baranja.”
Next to the winery Josip has rooms for rent and an outing spot. After the first road that cut across Banovo hill between Kotlina and Podolje, preparations are underway for the road from Kamenac to Popovac. This would significantly reduce the traffic isolation of Popovac and Hudobec winery and improve Josip’s wine-tourism story. It is also interesting that although located in the heart of Baranja, most of the residents of Popovac are from Croatian Zagorje. Another piece of the Baranja multi-cultural mosaic.