Pupitres Wine Boutique Opens in Zagreb

By 10 September 2017

The wine oasis can be found at Frankopanska 1.

Yesterday I attended the opening of a new wine bar in Zagreb - Pupitres Boutique Wine Bar, whose opening I'd been expecting since August.

I've been following the renovation process on Pupitres Facebook just as long, and I loved it - Jelena has an amazingly candid approach to her job and you can really tell that she absolutely loves what she does.


Stereotype-ridden (and very wrong) as I was, I used to think that wine experts were too strict, serious, and that they never smiled, and Jelena shattered all of those stereotypes - she smiled, made sure to say hello to everyone and you could see how genuinely happy she was (she had to stop three times while reading the speech because she started to cry). Have you ever heard of anyone being so happy about their job? I certainly haven't.


It was such a pure gesture, full of sincere love that you get when you find your true passion in life, an exquisite thing to witness. Thank you for a great night, Jelena, and I hope Pupitres keeps you just as happy as you were last night. Cheers, and vino je radost!


Now, I am no wine expert (but I am an avid wine drinker), so let our Sanja Muzaferija tell you something more about the wine side of the story and its extraordinary owner, Jelena Šimić Valentić:

If there's one drink that has been in in the past couple of years in Croatia, but also around the world, it is, without a doubt, wine. The wine and restaurant scene in Croatia and Zagreb has seen a boom in the past couple of years, and, even though some people still consider that people who know how to choose (and drink) a good wine are snobs, it is far from true.

Ordering malvazija without knowing that it comes from Istria, and that malvasija comes from Dubrovnik, or not knowing that the name champagne can be used exclusively for champagne from Champagne in France, while everything else is sparkling wine; being unaware that a strong red wine does not pair well with white fish or that it is best served at room temperature – all of this is a sin in business circles, one that can be compared with not knowing anything about the value of shares on the global stock market. Wine is a pleasure and an education of sorts. The more you know about wine, the easier it will be for you to find a bottle that is just right for you, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it is expensive.


On Saturday, September 9, another wine bar opened in Frankopanska 1 in Zagreb. But it’s not just a wine bar, it is Pupitres – Wine Culture Boutique, and its owner is one of the biggest wine enthusiasts, a woman who has brought a revolution to the Croatian wine scene with her hard work, ambition and passion. She is Jelena Šimić Valentić, a woman whom you have to meet if you have any interest in wine. A sommelier with a diploma from the Croatian Sommelier Club, who has completed three levels of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale programme, and three levels of WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust), and so much more – a woman dedicated to wine, a pioneer in fighting for wine, learning about wine, for the finer things in life, for the wine drinking culture and an excellent hospitality service that Croatia sometimes lacks.


But, first and foremost, she is an extraordinary person who has – despite having a huge support in her family, people who were affected by her contagious wine energy, WOW (Women on Wine) Association members, whose member she became in 2011 – built the road to fulfilling her dreams on her own. Her wine schools that used to take place at Apetit City restaurant and Velvet café are a combination of education and a relaxed get-together with a glass of wine in your hand. There are three levels, divided into two-hour sessions with different topics – “First Encounter with Wine,” “Wine Roads of the World,” and “Food & Wine,” during which you can taste five different wine styles from around the world. She has educated more than a thousand wine lovers, and many waiters, restaurant and wine bar owners have also attended her courses. Her new bar will contain all of Jelena’s favourite activities: the educational character of her famous wine schools, an excellent choice of sparkling wine, wine, coffee, tea, cheese and cakes, and, as she has said herself, it is her dream-come-true.
The opening party was filled with sparkling wine, great energy, delicious snacks from Apetit City, amazing wines, and, most importantly, you could truly feel that this was a celebration of wine.


“I am proud because I’ve never given up, I’ve put in effort every day at my job, nothing was too difficult, even though there were many difficult days in the past three years, and in the past 14 years since I’ve moved out from my parents’ home,” Jelena said.

In addition to her popular wine schools, you can also count on Jelena if you’re organising an important private or business event. If you want to organise a dinner at your home and you want to make sure that every course is paired with a top wine, Jelena also offers the possibility for you to have an exclusive service of a Sommelier at your home. And who wouldn’t want that?