Venera Gelebeseva: Wine production requires a lot of engagement, a lot of learning, upgrading, but it also provides a lot of satisfaction

Today’s interview features Venera Gelebeseva from Jostela Winery, one of the distinguished women shaping the wine industry in North Macedonia. With a deep-seated passion inherited from her father, one of the first oenologists in North Macedonia, Venera has devoted her life to winemaking, seeing it not just as a profession but as a life philosophy. With over 30 years of experience as an enologist, she brings a unique blend of tradition and innovation to her craft. Her philosophy in winemaking is deeply rooted in science and art, emphasizing the importance of education and continuous learning in this field. She highlights the increasing role of women in winemaking, once a male-dominated sector, and encourages young women to express themselves through their wine, marking their distinct signature in the industry.


What is wine for you?

For me, wine is a philosophy of life. I’ve spent my entire life (more than 30 years working with wine as an enologist), and I can say it has become my life’s calling.


How did you enter the wine industry?

My father was an enologist, among the first in North Macedonia, and he transferred his love of wine to me. He influenced me to enroll in agronomy. He took me with him on visits to wine cellars and international wine evaluations. This way, I saw that this is a very beautiful profession where you meet many interesting people. You create a product that people enjoy and that brings different peoples and cultures together.


What is your philosophy in making wine, and how is it reflected in your product?

Winemaking is indeed a philosophy, and I would say, a science. The approach to making wine is very important for every enologist. It starts in the vineyard itself, where careful attention is paid to how the vine develops and all its growth phases. When the grapes arrive at the winery, then begins the enologist’s biggest role. The choice of wine type and style is dictated by the enologist himself. From the selection of yeasts and enological agents to the enological practices applied, the end result depends, and that is the wine that will be obtained. And, of course, much care, nurturing, and love.


How important do you consider education and training in the wine industry, and are there any special programs for women?

Wine is science. Indeed, wine has been made since ancient times, but today’s production of wine requires knowledge of the basic chemical-technological processes that occur during wine production. This implies education. Fortunately, today there are many universities with special programs for enology, allowing winemaking to elevate to a level of science. It is not just empirical knowledge; it is a complex science. And every enologist needs to constantly upgrade and learn as much as they want to advance in this field. I would also highlight and welcome the increasing availability of training and seminars in the field of wine, allowing those interested to educate themselves. It is commendable that more and more women are in this sector. Previously, it was reserved only for men, but today there are more and more women – oenologists who manage the wine-making process. Women have a more refined taste and a better sense for wine.


What advice would you give to young women who want to enter the wine business?

To young women, I would recommend this as a very good business that will allow them to express themselves through their product – the wine. They have the opportunity to put their stamp on each wine and be recognizable for that. Wine production is not easy; it requires a lot of engagement (especially during harvest), a lot of learning, upgrading, but it also provides a lot of satisfaction. Through wine, they can meet many people, travel to many countries, and learn about new cultures and customs.