Experiment Station "Jazbina"

Experiment Station

As part of the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, the Jazbina Experimental Station has been in operation for more than 70 years. Indeed, the need for having such a facility established, and for introducing a practical, hands-on approach to education in agronomy, was deeply felt much earlier, by the founders of the school, which at the time was called the Faculty of Husbandry and Forestry. With this goal in mind, a farm was acquired at Maksimir, which today encompasses faculty buildings and experimental fields for conducting research in crop-farming, and the growing of vegetables and fodder crops.

With the development of fruit-growing and viticulture, it became necessary for the Faculty to further expand its scientific research programs, to also provide agriculture department students with the benefit of a practical education. Since the Faculty farm in Maksimir, due to its location, could not provide adequate land, additional property at Jazbina was purchased in 1939, about 3.5 km from the Faculty buildings. Situated in the foothills of Mount Medvednica (also known as Zagrebacka Gora), with a southern and southwest ern exposure, and with a maximum elevation of 302 m above sea level, the Jazbina Station is ideal for fruit and grape growing. From its beginnings until 1960, the Station was being developed, first and foremost, as an educational and experimental facility. For that purpose, orchards containing a variety of fruit-trees, and vineyards with a number of different varieties, under different trellis systems, were established. But due to the lack of financial resources, no significant investments were made in the ensuing years, and the Jazbina orchards and vineyards began to gradually decline. In 1995, a systematic approach to revitalize the entire facility was adopted, new vineyards were planted, farm buildings restored and modernized, and the experimental station assumed its present form.

Today, Jazbina is, above all, a training ground for science and education with its primary mission being in educating students and future experts, and in promoting scientific research in the fields of viticulture and enology. The Station provides students with a unique opportunity for acquiring hands-on knowledge and experience. This practical teaching in the vineyard and in the cellar is a welcome change of pace, by providing an opportunity for students to leave the classroom, and enjoy nature and informal socializing while tending the land. It is no wonder that generations of the Faculty of Agriculture graduates have fond memories of their Jazbina experience. Here, the students can familiarize themselves with a number of different grape genotypes. One section of the vineyard has been planted with grape varieties that are typical, and commercially viable for this region, also with some table grape varieties, some cross-breeds, and there is also a smaller rootstock plantation. The National Collection of Autochthonous Grape Varieties has also been established here, with 120 genotypes, in order to protect and preserve all of the remaining Croatian grape varieties, with special attention and care given to those that are the most endangered. The Station also houses a well-equipped wine cellar, a grape-to-bottle processing facility, stainless steel fermentation tanks, storage tanks and oak barrels for wine aging. A small scale experimental wine cellar, with a modern micro- and mini-vinification system, serves scientific research needs and ensures controlled and standardized conditions for making experimental wines, thus making it suitable for enological evaluation of grape varieties and clones, and for conducting various technological experiments. While the Experimental Station is run by the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, whose staff members use it for conducting most of their research, it is open to all members of the Faculty of Agriculture and, in fact, successful interdisciplinary research has been conducted here in cooperation with experts in the fields of plant protection, genetics and plant selection, breeding and advances, microbiology, and various other fields associated with vine and wine. The courtyard building has a classroom for teaching and training sessions, various workshops and tasting room. Since Jazbina Station is part of the "Zagreb Wine Roads,” tastings are available, with prior arrangement, to anyone interested.

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