Croatian Wines Making Their Way to US Market

By 29 March 2018

Branding of Croatia a precondition for stronger success in wine export

A total of 22 Croatian wineries presented themselves to American distributors and wine experts at a joint promotion in New York, organized by the Winemaking Association of the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK). The presentation named Vina Croatia – Vina Mosaica brought together around 300 potential distributors and wine experts with the goal of stronger export to the US market, among the top five markets for Croatian winemakers outside the EU, Večernji List reported on March 28, 2018.

“Croatian wines conform to the global quality standard. Export to the US is on the rise in the past years, but larger progress requires stronger branding of our country. Croatia must be recognized not only as a tourism, but also as a wine destination. This is why the HGK is here,” noted HGK President Luka Burilović.

For domestic winemakers presence on the American market means an entrance ticket to the global wine map. “If we are not present on the New York scene, then we hardly exist on the international one,” said Ivica Matošević from the Association. “We rely on the support of institutions as each one of us is too small to do such things on our own. We can do this on our own once, but that is not enough. If we arrive together two or three times, that means a lot,” he pointed out.

Malvazija is one of the varieties well received on the American markets, so New York restaurants offer Kozlović, Matošević, Bibich and Trapan wines.

The premier American restaurant Delmonico’s, located on Wall Street, the economic center of the USA, offers several Croatian wines as well. “We serve 500 meals a day and offer several Croatian wines. In order to get Americans more interested in Croatian wines, they need stronger marketing,” said the owner of the Delmonico’s restaurant chain Dennis Turčinović. He added it is important for Croatian producers to make good wines, which they already do, and introduce consumers to the varieties and history.

Guided wine tastings in New York were led by American sommelier Cliff Rames together with Matthew Horkey and Charine Tan, American wine experts who recently published a wine guide for Croatia - Cracking Croatian Wine: Visitor-Friendly Guide).

15 of the 22 wineries present already have their distributors on the American market. In the past several years Croatian wines and olive oils find their way to US consumers more often, especially after the visit of American distributors to Croatian wineries in Istria and Dalmatia, with the aid of HGK.

The potential of such presentations can well be seen by the example of the Badel 1862 company, whose US presentation last year managed to land its wines even on Norwegian cruisers. Slaven Sabolić of Badel welcomes this type of promotion and expresses the necessity of even greater investment in marketing and promotion of the country, winey and all indigenous varieties. Badel has been present on the American market for some twenty years, in New York, Florida, Chicago and beyond.

“The project of promoting Croatian wines in the USA is financed with EAGF funds from the Wine Envelope – the national aid program for the wine sector from 2014-2018,” said director of the agriculture, food industry and forestry department of HGK Božica Marković and added the potential for stronger export growth is evident in the interest for this event, which she says is just one of the efforts and activities of HGK aiming to promote our winemakers abroad.

The presentation in New York was attended by: Agrolaguna, Badel 1852, Dingač Skaramuča, Erdut Vineyards, Fakin, B&M, Grgić wines, Ilok Cellary, Jako vino, Kabula, Katunar estate winery, Korta Katarina, Kozlović, Matošević, Miloš, OPG Jasna Antunović Turk, Osilovac, Rizman, Veralda, Vina Bibich, Z.O. Wines Cattunar, Zlatan Otok and Bartolović.

Translated from Večernji List, for the original click here.