She experiences “nostalgia” and “bonanza” in a wine glass only, and, as all southerners, she has a “kardas” (a great friend) in “sevdah”. Dragana Janjic of Vranje, a wine fairy, co-owner of the first female winery in Serbia, is always on the move. Nothing’s too hard for her – running a winery, family matters, constant traveling...
“When you absolutely can’t, that’s when you must”, she says laughing and adds that, although she doesn’t find anything too hard, it’s not as if it’s always easy. She tries not to neglect her old friends (although she sometimes schedules her hangouts a full month head), to spend her weekends with her family, to visit new destinations and to simultaneously run one of the youngest and most successful wineries in Serbia.
She doesn’t hide that her babysitter, as well as her children’s grandparents, are often lifesavers for her and that her kids are well used to traveling between Belgrade and Vranje, especially when she needs to continue beyond Vranje, most often to the Nis Airport, and then to an appointment abroad, a trade fair, a presentation...
The Aleksic Winery (Vinarija Aleksic
), run by three sisters – Dragana, Maja (Aleksic Ilic) and Marija (Aleksic), entered the market 6 years ago, and very bravely at that – with 7 labels simultaneously. The number has since grown to 14, and today they have a total of 20 employees, an annual production of 350,000 liters and seven exporting markets. One of the employees is technologist Jelena Zivanovic, so it’s no wonder that they say that their wines are “made by a woman’s hand”. The winemaking business is also a tradition on the female side of their family, inherited from their mother, a native of Dalmatia, who arrived to Vranje upon her marriage.
The Aleksic family has been a family of entrepreneurs for thirty years now.
– If you love your job and you live on that love, then your job is your life. Six years ago, we continued the family tradition of entrepreneurship and set off on our own winemaking journey. Now it seems to me it was the best decision we could make.Who’s the boss here?
The idea of wines made by women was immediately welcomed by the market, but it’s no secret that, initially, there were some unusual reactions as well.