Trebinje. September. Grape harvest is in full swing. It is a busy time on 30 hectares of „Podrumi Vukoje 1982“ vineyards since early morning, as workers try to avoid high temperatures and finish the harvest. With over 150 gold medals on national and international wine competitions and 125-year old vineyard, „Podrumi Vukoje 1982“ is well known for its high quality products, not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but on the markets all over the world.
“We are winery that deals exclusively with high quality wine production and we are the leader in this sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to keep this leading position, we need to constantly invest in new technologies and follow international trends“ says Radovan Vukoje, owner of „Podrumi Vukoje 1982“ during the short break from his work.
Because of the desire to keep up with the rest of the world, Radovan applied to European Union’s project EU4Business’ public call for investment support in processing capacities and marketing of agri-food products. „Podrumi Vukoje 1982“ applied to the public call with the investment proposal for production modernization worth around BAM 400.000. After the extensive and detailed process of beneficiary selection, EU4Business project approved grant in the amount of BAM 197.000. This investment in modernization includes procurement of small machinery and equipment for winery, such as: grinder, transport pump, pneumatic press, wine filter, streaming pump, chiller, pipe grape cooling system, screening table and wooden barrels.
Photo 1. Radovan Vukoje
“This equipment will help us transform grapes from our vineyards into high quality products that we are known for” says Radovan Vukoje. “We are major producer; we have invested lots of our own resources and we hope to create significant story for the future”.
This investment will not only improve quality of production, but it has also enabled employment of new workers, as well as increase in productivity and income in the future.
New employee of the winery is 29-year old Zdravko Milinović. He started working two months ago and this is his first job in the wine sector. “I always loved wine and now I got the chance to work in winery” explains Zdravko, father of one daughter. He talks about his new job with enthusiasm. “The most important thing is that the job is interesting and that it is done with love”. Together with the rest of his colleagues, he already started training to work on the new equipment.
Radovan has many plans for the future of winery and one of these plans is investment in rural tourism. “Our vineyard is very unique: it is 125-years old and it is the best vineyard for “žilavka” our indigenous type of grapes. Austro Hungarians planted it and wines from this vineyard were send to Emperor’s court. So the vineyard has this beautiful history that we want to valorize through tourism”.
Photo 2. Workers on new small machinery
EU4Business is European Union’s project that aims to strengthen BiH’s capacity for economic growth and employment by fostering competitiveness and innovation in selected sectors. EU4Business is worth EUR 16.1 million; EUR 15 million is funded by the European Union and EUR 1.1 million by the Federal Republic of Germany. Project is jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), UNDP and International Labor Organisation (ILO). EU4Business is part of the Local Development Strategies – Local Self-Government and Economic Development Programme in BiH by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).