The city vinedresser
Tone Zafošnik (1927 - 2012)
Among all of those who, in the sixties and seventies, looked after the exhausted Old Vine at Lent, Mag. Tone Zafošnik must be specially acknowledged. He was one of the members of an expert committee, appointed by the then Director of the Agricultural Institute Maribor, Jože Protner. After some expert examinations, Mag. Tone Zafošnik and Anton Vodovnik in 1981 removed all dead branches and in the following years, they happily observed the growth of new branches. Thus, Tone Zafošnik became the first guardian of the Old Vine and with great enthusiasm and love took care of the now famous Žametovka for more decades and a lot of credit goes to him for the Old Vine’s survival and keeping the undisputed first lady of world vines alive and thriving the way she is today. With this variety, he had a lot of experience, which he had accumulated while working at the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia. Heartfelt appreciation for the preservation of the oldest vine in the world goes to Mr. Tone Zafošnik and his associates.
In 2010, without any detours, Stane happily took over work as the city’s vinedresser and feels honoured to have been chosen for this job by his predecessor Mag. Tone Zafošnik. He describes his work as follows: working with the old lady at Lent is pleasant and interesting. Every year, first we perform a cut in February and prepare the grafts for grafting of the vine onto a suitable substrate. Then it is necessary to thin it out, tie it and about 2 or 3 times spray it with the appropriate solutions. Next follows the clipping of tips, removing leaves by the wall of the house to establish the best possible airy space next to the grapes, and finishing up with the harvest. Caring for the vine means cultivating and maintaining a first-class living monument that is the core of our culture and an exceptional facet of the natural environment. I never regret the time that taking care of the vine requires. As a rule, I come to Lent in the early morning hours on Saturdays or Sundays. Everything is still and tranquil then, and I am happy to tell you, it is not a rare occurrence when I find myself sitting on the stairs opposite of the vine and thinking about its respectable four centuries in this city. I am happy that I can serve her. I do this, as poet the Tone Pavček once said - "from the core of cores". For her, for my Maribor, and with a thought of all of those that this vine marked with admiration and curiosity. My work is priceless and payment in itself: Each year, the Žametna črnina makes buds, grows, and gives fruit that turns the colour purple in the Autumn, and it is these transformations that arouse admiration from worshipers from all over the world. How could a city vinedresser wish for anything more?