Made in Croatia

Ahead of World Cup, House of Croatian Wines to Open in Moscow

By 11 February 2018

Croatian winemakers hope to increase currently negligible exports to Russia.

We cannot compete with quantity against the wine-producing superpowers in the Russian market, but we can compete with quality – it was said at a recent meeting between Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić and Russian Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov, which was also attended by representatives of some of the major Croatian wineries – Kutjevo, Belje and Badel 1862. In spite of the enormous potential of the Russian market, the exports of Croatian wines to the Russian Federation have so far been negligible, reports Večernji List on February 11, 2018.

In the first ten months of 2017, the exports reached just 18 hectolitres, worth 35,000 euro. In the whole of 2016, the exports reached 219 hectolitres and 135,400 euros, but even these numbers are not as terrible as the situation which existed 15 years ago, when journalists discovered that, at the time, the Croatian embassy in Russia offered to its guests regional, most Montenegrin wines.

However, significant investments, numerous awards and presentations on foreign markets have made Croatian winemakers more well-known. And now, ahead of the World Cup this summer, they plan to open the House of Croatian Wines in Moscow, where they would present and sell the best Croatian wines. Since two-thirds of the total annual consumption of wines in the Croatian market is imported, with a significant price pressure felt on a segment of top-quality white wines, the expansion to Russia would help Croatian winemakers with this problem as well.

Agriculture Minister Tolušić and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, whose members initiated the project, agree that all the activities which contribute to the exports, as well as the positioning of Croatian wines on the global wine map, have their unreserved support. And Ambassador Azimov said last year that the Russian market was ready for excellent foreign wines, which certainly includes the Croatian wines, and that he was cooperating with the government on the initiative.

“The Russian market is a big and important step forward for Badel. We have received support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Russian authorities which support the entry of the Croatian wines in the local market. We have received great praise from the Russian side for our wines. After this step, we will need to take measures to organise exports, and Badel has a further goal of selling in Russia our other alcoholic beverages, primarily those made from fruit and which belong to our premium product range,” said Ivo Markotić, the CEO of Badel 1862.

“Some Russian consumers know Croatian wines due to spending their summer holidays on the Adriatic coast, and we want to make it possible for them to buy the same wines in Moscow and other parts of Russia. There is also a large number of people who still need to get to know our wines, so we have assessed that the most effective way to present them would be through the House of Croatian Wines,” said Krešimir Milorad, the managing director of Vina Belje.

However, the road to the placement of wines in the Russian market is not easy. It will be necessary to harmonise a range of tax and customs regulations and issue numerous documents and permits. Still, the Croatian winemakers are more than optimistic.

Translated from Večernji List (written by Jolanda Rak Šajn).