After a successful tour to Krupa na Vrbasu the day before, we had already arranged for a new tour for our third day in Banja Luka. We had agreed with the tour company, Good Host Banja Luka, that they’d pick us up at noon for some wine tasting at a local winery – the Vinarija Jungić. Bosnia might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think about wine. However, like the rest of the Balkans, the country has some wine production. The tour would take us to some sights of interest east of the city.
We had earlier done a few wine tastings, but we are far from experts. We have mostly considered it interesting to see the wineries and enjoy the wine at its source. During our wine tastings, we have also heard some really interesting stories from the locals. So far we have tried wines in Balog nad Ipľom in Slovakia, at Groot Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa, at Domaine du Fleuve in Montréal, Quebec, and at Page Mill Winery in Livermore, California.
Wine Tasting at Vinarija Jungić
We arrived at Vinarija Jungić and were greeted by one of the workers. The winery is located among fields and hills. The vines grow for as far as the eye can see and even though we visited in December, it was possible to imagine how vast the domain is.
Our guide from the vinery seemed a bit nervous, but we were soon walking around the barrels and bottles and got to try some of the many wines. Sadly we never noted the names, but Vranac was one of the grapes included, mostly on our request as it is one of our favorites. The wines were good, though.
It is not only wine being produced at Vinarija Jungić. Rakija is another important product of the winery. As mentioned in our previous post, this is a local fruit brandy that should not be mixed up with the anise-flavored spirits further south.
Monument for Mladen Stojanović at Mlinska Rijeka
We continued east after the wine tasting and made a short stop at Mlinska Rijeka, a popular place for summer activities. It was empty in December, but we had another place on our radar, the monument at the end of the big field. The monument is for the former Bosnian Serb physician Mladen Stojanović. He led a group of partisans in northwestern Bosnia during World War II. Mladen Stojanović died in 1942 somewhere in the area around this monument. He was celebrated as a hero in socialist Yugoslavia.
Stuplje Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located in Gornji Vijačani. The earliest known mentioning of the monastery dates back to the 15th century, but it has not been standing here all that time. It is believed to have been burned down by the Ottomans at some point during the Great Turkish War at the end of the 17th century. The site was re-discovered in 1994 and was rebuilt by the end of 2008.
We don’t have any bigger interest in religious buildings, but it is an impressive sight. Give it a few more years and it will be hard to tell that it was build as late as 2008 as it does resemble many of the much older places of worship.
Lunch in Čelinac
We ended our tour in Čelinac with lunch at a quite big restaurant with very few guests. Both our driver and guide joined us and we shared something typical local for a late lunch. Our previous trips to the Balkans have taught us that they like their meat down there. Bosnia was no exception! A big plate of different meats with bread, french fries, and onion. The tasty sausages and all the meat naturally came with a glass of local wine.
The Wine Tour to Vinarija Jungić with Good Host Banja Luka
That was how our day exploring more of the area around Banja Luka came to an end. As with the day before wee traveled with Good Host Banja Luka. It might be simple, but we were pleased. Especially since we were able to book the tour late, arranged the evening before.