Andro Tomić is a man with rare talents and flair. An oenologist by profession, he also has style and great vision: his wine-tasting rooms in Jelsa are a treat in themselves, some of his wines are acknowledged to be excellent, and he has his finger on the pulse in terms of progress, in particular promoting the future of organic produce on Hvar Island: his organic vineyard, planted in 2012, was voted the best in Central Dalmatia in February 2014 by the environmental association 'Lijepa Naša'.
Andro is also generous with his time and expertise, always ready to help young wine-producers in any way he can. One of my neighbours, Ivo, now middle-aged, produces some very fine wine for home consumption, and it is a privilege to share some of them on special occasions. He told me one day that it was Andro Tomić who shaped his philosophy of wine-producing. When he started out, Ivo asked all the wine producers he knew for their advice: Andro Tomić was the one who told him that if he had good grapes grown on good soil - as he did, being a fervently organic farmer - all he had to do was put the grapes in the press and something good would come out. Andro was the only one who did not advise trying to manipulate the wine, as many used to do with sugar or other means.
While the contents of the bottles are of primary importance, Andro also pays a lot of attention to presentation, and is constantly creating new, attractive and stylish ways of presenting his winery's products. So it is no surprise that people ask his advice and opinion on labelling and packaging as well as wine production.
One such occasion arose in the Total Hvar HQ at Cafe Splendid recently. Antun Carić, although young, is an established wine producer from the village of Ivan Dolac, and runs the family hospitality business. He asked for Andro's opinion on the new labels he has had designed. Andro studied the labels carefully and made his pertinent comments, which were clearly much appreciated.
Witnessing the scene with the evident trust and respect between the two men, made me very aware of what an important contribution Andro Tomić makes to the future of the island, with his zest for life, enthusiasm for his profession, positive energy and his willingness to help those around him freely and unstintingly.