Goran Radević is a medical doctor with experience of working in four continents. He left his home country, Montenegro, at a young age and for over 27 years worked in countries such as the Cayman Islands, China, Oman, South Africa, and the United States of America.
Goran had always had the idea that one day he would return to his home country and build a winery. Wine-making was traditional in Goran’s family and his love for wine-making started before he even turned five years old. His maternal grandfather owned a vineyard and was an expert in wine-making. “I learned vine grafting before I learned reading and writing,” says Goran.
However, starting his own vineyard would not be easy as it needed significant investment. Nevertheless, as the years passed, the thought of it turned in to a compulsion and finally, along with his family, Goran made the big decision to go back to Montenegro and start his dream company. The financial investment and passion were there, but this was not going to be an easy ride for Goran and his wife.
They planted the first vines in 2007, and by 2009 they had their first harvest, and the first bottle came out. “There were lot of challenges: the first bottles were produced in a garage and without any proper expert support,” says Goran. Yet, remarkably, the taste was great and the product was a candidate for success. That year, Goran managed to send samples of his initial product to a wine tasting competition in a well-known restaurant in Manhattan. There were seven competitors and bottle number four was theirs, remembers Goran. “All of the five jury members, who were owners of well-known restaurants, marked bottle four as the best. I guess it was beginner’s luck,” he smiles.
Immediately, they started export of their wine to the USA, but they faced some problems. A number of elements – from the quality of the label to the quality of the bottle cap – were not compatible with international standard requirements and they realised they should give more attention to these issues. Goran’s wife, who is of American origin, took over the marketing section of the company. They started using high quality bottle caps from France and label paper from Germany. Soon, success was imminent as the company started to export to Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and even Japan.
As the market was growing, in 2011 Goran and his wife decided to engage professional consultants to ensure sustainable growth of their business. They contracted an agronomist and a highly qualified technologist with long years of national and international experience. Both of them helped turn the winery into a recognised international brand.
In the winery’s journey to success, they also had the support of the European Union. In 2018 they applied to the EU-funded Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for Rural Development (IPARD) programme and they were granted support for procurement of machinery such as a forklift, a tractor, a vibro-cultivator, a vineyard plough, and a power harrow. With the slowing down of business during the pandemic, this support came just at the right time. “Thanks to the EU’s support, I could use the money planned for these necessary investments in other parts of the business operation,” says Goran.
Goran has four children and his youngest son Luka is studying Wine Technology at the agricultural faculty in Belgrade. “I dreamed of this winery for 27 years and worked hard to save the money for starting it. My son is going to inherit this and continue the tradition. This makes me extremely happy and fulfilled,” says Goran.
About the project
Part of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) designed to support reforms in countries in the process of joining the EU, the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for Rural Development (IPARD) focuses on the agri-food sectors and rural areas of those countries. Through this tool, the EU provides beneficiaries with financial and technical help to make their agricultural sector and rural areas more sustainable, aligning them with the EU’s common agricultural policy.
Photo credits: Radevic Estate Vines
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