Weekend is in full swing in Belgrade, the city that is well-known to all party-goers and revelers for crazy parties that last until dawn. Hence the city boasts about the epithets of “a city that never sleeps” and “Berlin of the Balkans”. As drum’n’bass rhythms echo from the cramped music club, the nightcrawlers slowly finish their night out and rush to the nearest bakery to treat themselves to a freshly baked burek before going home. Djordje Bikicki gets off the DJ stand, packs the equipment and vinyl records, finishes his DJ performance. When the party in the Belgrade’s music club comes to a close, it’s time to find peace again either with his family or in the vineyard in Banoštor, nestled on the slopes of Mt. Fruška Gora (North Serbia).

Djordje Bikicki is by no means a classic winemaker. From an early age, he stood out for his incredible versatility and multipotentiality. As a six-year-old, he took up water polo and basketball, but that did not deter him from becoming interested in music, whilst his business career led him closer to nature and environmental issues.

Djordje got involved in wine business thanks to the fact that his father and uncle started a partnership with a local winemaker from Banoštor, a picturesque village located on the slopes of Mt. Fruška Gora, in the north of Serbia. Thus, stretching over the slopes of two hills, a vineyard covering 26 hectares was planted. In Serbia, there is a popular saying that “a shared mare lies in the mud”, which emphasizes that a partnership in business is prone to numerous challenges. The partnership came to an inglorious end. However, that initial contact with wine and vineyards was sufficient for Djordje to irreversibly embark on a passionate pursuit of his wine vision.

Djordje Bikicki does not hide that winemaker Oskar Maurer had a decisive influence on his wine preferences. Coincidentally, at a local wine festival, Djordje’s wine stand was positioned next to the stand of Maurer Winery. There, Djordje had the opportunity to get acquainted with Oskar’s minimum intervention wines from autochtonous varieties that tasted so different and authentic to him at the time. He realized that this was the path he wanted to follow. He wanted to make wine in a similar way but from international grape varieties.

Literally a brief encounter and 15 seconds’ conversation were sufficient to match Oskar’s energy and Djordje’s vision. Consequently, back in 2013, the story about Bikicki wines came to life.

Djordje always talks about wines with a dose of euphoria. It’s all about listening to nature, waiting for the right moment to make top quality wine from grapes. He certainly would not have entered the natural wine story if he hadn’t had unconditional support of his family. The names of the wines clearly show gratitude to his family members. Makana is his wife’s nickname, and the bottle under the eponymous label hides Traminer made from grapes originating from the best plots in Banoštor vineyard. Rosé wine was named after his daughter Nadia. Even his Golden Retriever Pinotte gave its name to Pinot Noir wine.

Starting from 2013, when the first wines from Bikicki Winery appeared on the Serbian market, until present day, the story of natural wines in Serbia has become increasingly important. Locally, wine audience has been created that understands the philosophy that such wines imply. But at the same time, Djordje’s wines gained credibility on the international scene. Djordje Bikicki enthusiastically received the news about the first awards for his wines at international wine competitions. Traminer Uncensored 2016 stood out as the best orange wine in the Balkans. Uncensored 2018 was awarded a gold medal at the Decanter wine competition in London. Great recognition that has proven to Djordje that he is on the right path. You don’t necessarily need to walk the beaten path towards a goal. A visionary is the one who creates a path to follow. Even when he does it during short breaks in between two DJ gigs.

Text Tomislav Ivanović