Novak Djokovic, the world number one men's tennis player who is currently defending his Wimbledon title, has bought land in his native Serbia to start a vineyard.
This article previously ran on Decanter.com.
Novak Djokovic is to plant vineyards and build a winery on 5 hectares of land in the Šumadija wine region of Serbia.
According to local sources, the land was acquired several months ago through the Djokovic family and handled through the player’s uncle, Goran Djokovic. The five hectares is located near the village of Lipovac in the sub-wine region of Oplenac, which is part of the main wine region of Šumadija.
According to Vladimir Stojić, director of Media Sector, a Belgrade-based promotion firm that represents the Šumadija Winemakers Association, the acquired land had been a vineyard site more than 50 years ago. It has since been abandoned and is currently woodland.
‘It is now being prepared for the grapevines, with planting taking place likely next spring,’ said Stojić. ‘It is not sure when the winery will be built, but it could be in 2017 or 2018.’
A price tag for the land bought by Djokovic was not disclosed. One hectare of land in the Oplenac area of Šumadija can cost roughly between €4,500 and €8,000 ($5,000 to $8,900).
Djokovic, ranked as the world’s number one men’s singles tennis player, was unavailable for comment during his preparations for Wimbledon. He was due to begin defending his title there against British player James Ward.
It is not yet clear why Djokovic, who was born in Serbia though resides in Monaco, chose the Šumadija wine region for the winery project.
But Šumadija, with 1200 vineyard hectares in total, is considered one of Serbia’s premier wine regions. It is the base for the wineries of two of Serbia’s top producers, Boža Aleksandrović and Mija Radovanović.
Mostly international grape varieties are planted throughout Šumadija, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. But in recent years, planting of Serbia’s indigenous red variety, Prokupac, has increased.