The Venčac winemaking Cooperative was founded on September 2, 1903, in the village of Banja near Aranđelovac.

It was founded owing to the ideas and founding capital of 18 winemakers, farmers from the nearby villages of the Venčac wine region (Banja, Lipovac, Brezovac, Vinča, Pliskovac) in order to process their grapes in one place and then to enter the wine market jointly, which was seriously damaged in the past decades by the plant louse phylloxera, which almost destroyed wine production in Europe.

The condition was, among other things, that the vineyard should be raised on a phylloxera-resistant substrate.

Thanks to dedication, work and creativity, the winery reaped its first profit as early as 1906 and began the construction of a large cellar in 1911, the construction of which was interrupted by the Balkan and then the Great War.

During that period, there was a complete suspension of wine production, which continued shortly after the end of the war, given that the co-operative members first restored production and then their own hearths.

The large cellar was completed only in 1931, with the help of consultants from Germany and France, as well as the acquired knowledge of Cooperative members who visited the most modern cellars in France, Italy and Germany for this purpose.

In the period from 1928 to 1930, German oenologist Emil Reder stayed in Banja, among other things, organized two-month courses on viticulture and grape processing using modern and innovative techniques of the time.

In the mid-thirties of the 20th century, the Cooperative produced about a million liters of white, rose and red wines, as well as distillate made using cognac technology. The production of sparkling wines under the watchful eye of the French technologist Joven from Champagne represents the peak of its development. It was ceremonially presented to the cooperative members and their families for the first time during the commissioning of its own power plant, a truly incredible achievement of that time, considering that at that time most of the big cities, including the capital of the Kingdom, were lit by gas lamps.

Venčac Cooperative had such wine trumps as ‘smederevka’, melon, ‘žilavka’, Riesling, white and red triumph.

The key person, to a large extent responsible for the great achievements of the cooperative, was the long-term manager Mihajlo Stojić, during whose term, among other things, the aforementioned temporary cellar was completed.

Izložba Venčačke vinogradarske zadruge, 1936. godina

The members of the Cooperative were King Petar I and King Aleksandar Karađorđević, who is credited for bringing French varieties to the Venčac wine region, above all Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cooperative was abandoned in 1931, when the royal winery in Oplenac was completed.

The winery had, even for today’s occasions, an impressive number of oak barrels with a capacity of 50 to 8,000 liters.

The real attraction was the 70,000-liter glass vessel lined with reinforced concrete, made by special order in France, as well as the 8,300-liter Karađorđeva barrel, which was transferred from Oplenac to the cellar of the cooperative during the retreat of the Serbian army in 1915.

Visible results in wine tourism were recorded in the period before the Second World War, when the winery was visited annually by tens of thousands of tourists, domestic and foreign, including representatives of foreign diplomatic missions. Little did they know that, in the whirlwind of war, a few years later, and in the time to come, the decades-long work of the farmers and winemakers of the Šumadija wine region would disappear.

Venčac winemaking Cooperative is synonymous with the beginning of winemaking and viticulture in Serbia.

Reputation

During the thirty years since its founding, the Cooperative built up an enviable reputation, and it has been ranked among the best European wineries. What also speaks in favour of its success story is the fact that among the visitors of the winery was Eleanor Roosevelt, the first lady of America.

Revival of family heritage

On the basis of this rich history and the vision of the Čolović family to restore the family tradition of their ancestor Kosta Čolović, as one of cooperative members, in 2018 a project was launched to revive the winery, to restore its inactivity, to nurture the tradition and to preserve the high level of expertise that has followed this winery since its inception.

A journey for more than a century

Winery through the decades

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FOUNDATION

On September 2, 1903, the Venčac Winemaking Cooperative was founded in the village of Banja. It was founded by peasants, farmers, winemakers from Banja and the surrounding villages of the Venčac foothills, with 40 ``contributions`` – each paid 50 dinars at the time.

1903.

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FIRST CELLAR

The first cellar was built and the initial profit was 6,000 dinars at that time, with the increase in the number of members of the Cooperative.

1906.

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PRODUCTION GROWTH

Production increases to 100,000 liters of wine. The Cooperative procures the most modern equipment from France and Germany. For the first time, a two-month course on viticulture was held.

1908.

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A MORE MODERN CELLAR

The construction of a modern three-level cellar begins according to the plans made by colleagues sent from France and Germany.

1911.

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WAR

During the Balkans and the First World War, production was completely stopped. In 1915, during the withdrawal of the army to Albania, the 120-year-old Karađorđević’s barrel, with a capacity of 8,300 liters, was transferred from Karađorđev's residence in Oplenac to the cellar of the Cooperative, in order to preserve it from damages. Many Cooperative members lost their lives in the Great War and wine production was only resumed after its end (1918), with a note that the Cooperative was the first to be rebuilt and only then did they rebuild their homes.

1912...

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KING BECOMES A MEMBER

King Aleksandar Karađorđević became a member of the Cooperative (until 1931) until the construction of the royal cellar in Oplenac. In that period, the king's representative in the Cooperative was Nikola Horin.

1924.

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START OF PRODUCTION OF SPARKLING WINES

French technologist Joven from Champagne joins the Cooperative, who brings to Banja knowledge and experience in the production of sparkling wines using the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle.

1929.

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ELECTRIC CENTRAL

An electric central started working in the Cooperative and for the first time sparkling wines were presented.

1930.

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WINE CELLAR ON THREE LEVELS

A large three-level wine cellar was completed during the term of the long-term successful manager Mihajlo Stojić. In addition to the most modern equipment of the time, a special attraction was the glass vessel with a capacity of 70,000 liters, made by special order in France and lined with concrete.

1931.

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Production

The Cooperative records a record production of over a million liters of wine, in addition to the production of distillates using cognac technology and liqueurs. That year, it recorded a visit of 50,000 tourists from abroad.

1935.

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JUBILEE

Despite the circumstances during the Second World War, the Cooperative celebrates its 40th anniversary.

1943.

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Navip

After the war, the Cooperative was nationalized and merged with the newly created combined collective Navip.

1945.

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A NEW CHAPTER

Guided by the vision of continuing the family tradition of wine production, as well as the desire to revive one of the most historically important and oldest wine localities in Serbia, the Čolović family, descendants of one of the founder - Kosta Čolović from Banja, takes over the management of the old cellar and vineyard of the Venčac Cooperative.

2017.

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NEW WINES

Under the guidance of professor Nebojša Marković, the vineyard was replanted on the eastern slope of the Venčac mountain, with varieties such as Muscat Petit Grain, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

2018.

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Harvest

The first grape harvest in the new vineyards at the foothills of Venčac.

2021.

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Today

On the site of the old cellar from 1931, the construction of the new cellar of the distillery began, as well as of an accompanying hospitality and tourist infrastructure. On the market, for the first time, wines from the first vintage from the restored vineyards of Venčac Cooperative were presented.

2023.

Winery today

A place of rich history and excellent wine