Tikveš is the most famous wine district in Macedonia and is widely considered to produce the best wines. Located in the south of the country, the district boasts hot, sunny days and little rainfall. Despite this however, growers here have achieved wines of balance and freshness. Tikveš is the region most likely to put Macedonia on the world for a number of self perpetuating reasons. It has the largest concentration of wineries and growers and thus, there is greater investment in understanding the different sites. Consequently it is an area in which potential is being explored more intensively than anywhere else.
About 12,000 hectares are planted in this district, which represents approximately one-third of the total vineyards area in Macedonia. The wine district is surrounded by mountains on three sides Drenovo and Mariovo mountains on the southeast and Plaush and Konce mountains on the northeast. The Vardar River with its tributaries, cuts the valley into western and eastern part. The western part is richer in more fertile land compared to the eastern one. This district is both flat and hilly, with hills that stretch to the Veles canyon on the north and Demir Kapija canyon on the south. The vineyards in the Tikvesh wine district are located on altitudes from 110 to 650 meters above sea level.
As the Mediterranean climate from the south collides with the Continental climate from the north, it creates an area most remarkable for grape growing and wine production on the entire Balkan Peninsula. There are surely microclimates here as well. The winters are warmer compared to those in the other wine districts. The amount of rainfall is insufficient and droughts occur often, especially during the summer months. During the months of July and August the maximum daily temperatures are around 40 °C, although they can easily go even beyond 43 °C. Skopje wine district is characteristic by the low frequent and low intensity of winds. The north winds provide natural ventilation in the vineyards, protection against cryptogram diseases.
The soils in this district vary, from clay ones, to rendzina. Warmth retained and released during the cooler evenings. Rendzina is an interesting soil that creates complex, ‘mineral’ driven wines.
The Vranec variety is massively grown in the Tikves wine district and accounts for almost 50% of the total vineyards in the country planted with red grapes. Among others, it is in particular most exciting when grown at elevation in the picturesque Dissan and nearby localities- afternoon breezes cool the fruit and prevent rot. This district is rich both in local grape varieties, Stanushina, Zilavka, Prokupec, as well as international ones, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Traminec. In terms of ecology, the grapes are not contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides, thus having the most organic materials than any region in the world. When comparing it to Bordeaux in France or Friuli in Italy, due to the high humidity in the air, the vineyards there are chemically treat (sprayed) up to 15 times during the growing period, while in the Tikves wine district, a maximum of six times per year.