Vojsk Franc, enologist

Symbols: Grape; Majolica; Standing stone with hole

Wine played a key role in the development of the city of Maribor. Trade with wine was the main, with privileges secured activity, where citizens participated and got earnings, and with them, the feudal rulers of the city too. With the development of wine production, which still gives the city by the river Drava special meaning, is also connected a story of the here buried enologist.

His grave is marked with standing stone, a symbol of fertility, decorated with engravings of grape and majolica.

Vojsk Franc, famous enologist, was born in 1884 at village Mestni Vrh near Ptuj. He grew up during the boom of the Maribor viticulture in 19.century. At that time, vineyards were already planted with the finer vines (Riesling, Traminer, Burgundy). The first professional institutions, responsible for the quality of wine were also set up. Vojsk was educated in Klosterneuburg near Vienna, where he successfully completed a higher school, specialized for fruit growing and wine-making. Because he was a proud Slovenian in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, he did not get suitable employment. 

That is why in 1907 he traveled to his brother in London. A year later, Vojsk went to Argentina, where he worked in big private estates as specialist and consultant for Enology and Winery. He returned to Europe in 1912 and settled in Trieste. Shortly after the beginning of World War I, he was mobilized and up to year 1918 he was a solder on the Soča front(Isonzo front). Shortly after the war he was engaged in the battles for the northern national border as lieutenant, active in Maribor and Carinthia, for which later receives medal.

Ten years later, he got a job of professor for enology and chemistry at the Wine and Fruit School in Maribor. From 1936 untill Nazi occupation Vojsk was also in position of Winery supervisor for Slovenia (then Drava Province) with headquarters in Maribor.

In the first days of the occupation, Vojsk as a conscious Slovenian was left without a job for the next two years. In year 1943 occupation authorities, aware of his professional references employed him. Year later, he was fired again, this time because of his son Marjan, who avoided conscription into the German army.

After the liberation Vojsk was named for the district inspector of wine in Maribor, and after establishment of the Institute for Enology in 1947, for enological saint. Vojsk is particularly important because he developed a theoretical and practical basis for assessing the quality of Slovenian wines, and as the author of numerous scientific articles. He has also studied the vine diseases and defects, ingredients and stabilization operations. For the time of his life he has been one of the greatest experts for Yugoslavian and especially Slovenian wines, excellent wine-taster, reliable appraiser and court expert of Winery.

After retiring in 1950, he collaborated with Agricultural Institute in regioning vineyards in Krško and Maribor district. He died on 21 June 1957 in Maribor and left a rich legacy, from which new generations of enologists came. In the year of his death, Institute for Enology in Maribor already analysed about 300 samples of wines from all over Slovenia.

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