Tuesday, 17 January 2023

WineOS Osijek Wine Festival Goes from Strength to Strength

January 20, 2023 - And you thought Croatia was dead in January? Head on East to WineOS and the Osijek Wine Festival, which was a great success in its 8th edition.

Croatia in January.

Advent in over, the summer is far away, everything is closed. 

Now imagine Slavonia in January. Even worse, right?

You couldn't be further from the truth. One of the early season fixed highlights in my calendar each year now is a weekend in Osijek in mid-January. I first went to the WineOS Osijek Wine Festival seven years ago, a very local affair with just a few producers. 

The organisers have worked very hard to expand the event, while maintaining the quality. In addition to the many wines to try, there are outstanding workshops of both days, as well as an excellent after party both nights - this year hosted at Peppermint. More details in the press release below, as I will confess that my judgment got a little cloudier as the days went on. 

Two highlights for me were learning about the wines of Vina Papak in Ilok, officially the easternmost winery in Croatia - for years I thought that Ilocki Podrum was the only name in town there.

And the black Slavonian pig kulen from former Croatian national footballer, Domagoj Vida (I met it last year) was absolutely sensational. 

Much more below, and I heartily recommend you look out for the dates in 2024 - an excellent event powered by fine wines and true Slavonian hospitality. 

You can follow the official WineOS website here.

 

THE RECORD EIGHTH WINEOS ATTRACTED NUMEROUS EXHIBITORS AND VISITORS

The previous weekend, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January, the eighth international fair of wine, delicacies and pleasant living WineOS was held in the Gradski vrt hall. According to announcements, it was the largest WineOS ever, where over 115 producers of wine, spirits, desserts, cured meats and other delicacies presented themselves.

During the two days of the fair and three days of workshops, almost 3,500 people passed through the hall: exhibitors, visitors, business guests and everyone who worked hard to make this event look spectacular. On both exhibition days, there was a big crowd in the hall in front of each exhibitor and the stage where Saša Vojnović from the Lug Hotel restaurant, Nebojša Rajković from the Čingi Lingi čarda restaurant and the famous gastronomic educator from Split Željko Neven Bremec demonstrated their culinary skills.

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"Record numbers, great interest in participation, reactions of the exhibitors and the audience are confirmation that we succeeded in surpassing previous editions. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the organization and realization of the biggest January public event in Osijek; Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek and the Vinita wine shop as co-organizers, the tourist associations of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek, the Osijek Fair as a sponsor, and our partners from the Catering and Tourism School. Without their help and engagement, this event could not have been realized", said the president of the organizing committee of the fair and the president of the association Dekanter Boris Ocić.

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"Eight years after the first edition of the fair, WineOS truly became what we wanted - one of the biggest wine events in Croatia and the region. Osijek is increasingly recognized as a wine tourist destination, a city of hedonism and good food, and a place where guests from other parts of Croatia like to come and stay more and more. We will continue in the same direction, we will offer something new every year and we will not rest on our laurels. We want to progress even more", said WineOS founder and CEO Vinko Ručević.

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"The reactions of the exhibitors and the audience, the praise that comes from all sides, the words of praise sent to us by the media, guests, and guests are really pleasing. However, the most important thing is that we have permanent partners who are of great help to us, but also the fact that our exhibitors get better and better jobs precisely thanks to the contacts made on WineOS. We want to continue in this direction and offer everyone an even better and more attractive WineOS next year and provide an opportunity for exhibitors and business visitors to do even more work. And we will do all this with another big step forward that we are planning for 2024. However, we will say more about that in a few months", concluded the executive director of the fair, Denis Despot.

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Finally, here are some concrete figures. The 1,900 square meters of the Gradski vrt hall housed 97 exhibition spaces where over 115 exhibitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented themselves. More than 2,800 guests, invitees, business visitors, protocol representatives and journalists passed through the hall, totaling almost 3,500 people with the organizers and exhibitors. Visitors tried more than 500 different wines and spirits in almost 3,000 glasses, about 2,500 liters of water were drunk, a ton of ice was consumed, and workshop participants had the opportunity to taste about eighty different wines, many of which you can no longer buy even in wineries.

All this is a lure for guests to visit WineOS next year as well, and while they wait they will be able to enjoy the many wine events in Osijek and the surrounding area that await us in 2023. At the end, the organizers send another big thank you to everyone with a message - see you in 2024 at the ninth WineOS!
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Sunday, 4 December 2022

An Astrological Guide to Your Next Bottle of Croatian Wine

 

There is something inexplicably appealing about astrology, especially at this time of the year. We ask the stars how rich, loved, and healthy we will be (or not) in the coming one. But what if you let your sign choose the next bottle of Croatian wine? Fun is guaranteed!

Aries (March 21 - April 20)

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Bold, passionate, stubborn. Your fire nature gives you no time for ordinary things in life. Definitely go for a Babič! Autochthone from Šibenik and Primošten area, this red wine variety will seduce you with its velvety tannins, black fruit aromas and Mediterranean herbal notes. A powerful and lively red that never disappoints. Try it with matured cheeses, Dalmatian prosciutto, pašticada (traditional Dalmatian braised beef dish) or BBQ red meat.

Taurus (April 21 - May 20)

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Down to earth, genuine, hedonistic. You simply love your comfort zone. Indulge your senses with a Teran! This autochthone Istrian red wine variety will pamper your palate with its red fruit aromas and peppery notes. Flavour is rich, tannins smooth, soft and round. Pair it with some Istrian prosciutto, boškarin dishes (Istrian cattle breed), truffle pasta or simply with a piece of dark chocolate.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)

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Outgoing, talkative, the social butterfly of the zodiac. Your next bottle must be sparkling, as your personality. Best Croatian sparkling wines come from the Plešivica area. Also known as ‘’Croatian Champagne Region’’, this area is producing excellent sparkling wines by using the traditional method. The wines from the area have a complex bouquet, pleasant acidity and aromas of white stone fruit, bread crust and butter. Enjoy your bubbles with creamy cheeses, almonds, fish carpaccio or oysters.

Cancer (June 22 - July 22)

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Although people often perceive you as cold and distant, your thick external shells hides a gentle and emotional soul. Your ‘’winemate’’ is definitely a Grk! This rare white grape variety from Lumbarda on Korčula island is on its way to glory. Dry, full-bodied, mineral, with primary ripe fruit aromas, such as apples and pears, Mediterranean herbal notes and a characteristic final bitterness. Pairs well with tuna tartare, white fish, mature cheeses and asparagus dishes.

Leo (July 23 - August 23)

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Vivacious, creative, dramatic. For your majesty ‘’the king of the jungle’’, I recommend nothing less than a Bogdanuša. An ancient autochthone white grape variety from Hvar island, which literally means God-given (sounds appealing, right?). A refreshing dry white wine with low acidity and primary floral aromas. Enjoy it alone, paired with some white meat or grilled white fish.

Virgo (August 24 - September 22)

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Logical, practical, a perfectionist. Since you don’t have time to waste, go straight on to a Pošip: one of the most loved white wines by locals and foreigners alike. Native to the island of Korčula, today this grape variety is widespread in Central and Southern Dalmatia. Dry, full-bodied, exceptionally mineral, dominated by apricot, peach and citrus aromas. Best served with fish and shells, but also pairs well with Dalmatian prosciutto and Pag island cheese.

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

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Charming, balanced, harmonious. However, making a decision is always hard for you. Pick an elegant and timeless Istrian Malvazija and you won’t be disappointed. The queen of Istrian whites will enchant you with its apricot, acacia and almonds aromas. Fruity, fresh, always harmonious thanks to its perfectly balanced acidities. Try it with fish, white meat or your favourite pasta dish.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 22)

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A complex and mysterious personality: loyal, compassionate, but can attack when least expected. You are definitely a Plavac Mali! Its name translates as the ‘’Little Blue’’ and it is the king of Dalmatian red wine varieties. This is a ‘’serious’’ red wine, high in alcohol and tannin, with primary black fruit aromas and spicy notes. Try it with a Dalmatian charcuterie board, red meat dishes or simply with a nice BBQ steak.

Sagittarius (November 23 - December 21)

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Independent, adventurous, curious. Feed and celebrate your curiosity with a bottle of Opolo! Opolo is the traditional Dalmatian name for rosé wines, which are usually made from Plavac Mali or Babić grape varieties. Dalmatian rosé are dry, refreshing, mildly acid, with primary raspberry and strawberry aromas. Enjoy it with shrimps, chicken dishes, your favourite pasta and even pizza!

Capricorn (December 22 - January 20)

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Ambitious, hardworking, determined. You have a ‘’the best or nothing’’ mindset. So for you I suggest a bottle of Dingač: the best of Plavac Mali variety, coming from the homonym protected winegrowing area on the Pelješac peninsula. A Dingač, often aged in barrique barrels, will satisfy the Capricorn’s taste buds with its ripe black fruit aromas and spicy, smoky notes. Try it with game dishes, such as wild boar, or with slow-cooked beef in thick and rich sauces.

Aquarius (January 21 - February 19)

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Rebellious, altruistic, nature-lover. Absolutely go for a Prč! This rare white grape variety from Sućuraj, on Hvar island, is according to locals a powerful natural aphrodisiac. ‘’Gods call it nectar, people Prč (…) And it raises men's strength to the clouds’’ Danko Angjelinović (1893–1963). Dry, crispy, with primary grapey muscat aromas and citrus notes. Pairs perfectly with white meat, fish and any type of seafood. 

Pisces (February 20 - March 20)

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You are a sensitive, emotional and caring soul. Celebrate your senses with some Prošek: the Dalmatian traditional dessert wine. Made through the passito method with different local grape varieties, this wine has primary dry fruit, raisins and jam aromas. Irresistibly sweet, just as you are. Serve it with some traditional Croatian pastries or dried figs. P.S. Never confuse Prošek with Prosecco, but that’s another story.

Want to learn more about Croatian wine? Follow the dedicated TCN section.

 

 

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Zagreb County Wine Promo Film in World's Top 10 at ART&TUR in Portugal

November 6, 2022 - More success for Zagreb County's wine promotional film, this time at ART&TUR in Portugal. 

Good things are happening around Zagreb...

There has been considerable promotion of the goumet scene in Zagreb County in recent times, part of the strategy to better connect the county with the city through the excellent Around Zagreb initiative. The year started with the presentation of the Gault & Millau Zagreb restaurant guide, which included many restaurants from the county in an English guide for the first time, and it has been a very useful addition to to the city's culinary scene. And the year is now ending with more recognition, this time for yet one more award for the excellent Zagreb County wine promotional film, Taste above Everything, which has just picked up its second presitigious award at ART&TUR in Portugal, a short time after success at the Zagreb TourFilm Festival, as previously reported on TCN.

The official press release below.

The wine film of the Tourist Board of Zagreb County entered the top 10 in the world with awards at these two festivals

The best wine film of the Zagreb TourFilm Festival "Taste above Eveything" of the Zagreb County Tourist Board won another international award at the prestigious XV International Tourism Film Festival ART&TUR in Portugal. At the awards ceremony, which took place on Friday, October 28, 2022, in the city of Ourém, in competition with tourist films from as many as 16 countries, the film "Taste above Everything " was awarded a silver award for second place in the Wine Tourism category, thus with awards at these two festivals, entered the top 10 in the world.

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ART&TUR as well as ZAGREB TOUR FILM FESTIVAL are members of CIFFT (International Association of Tourist Film Festivals), an organization that evaluates the best tourist films in the world.

With awards from prestigious international tourist film festivals, the destination film Tastes first and foremost, created in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board and the production company Sekunda, is a strong move and incentive in the promotion of tourism and the wine roads of Zagreb County. "Being among the top 10 best tourist films in the world is a great recognition for the Tourist Board of Zagreb County and a great compliment to our work of three and a half years, as well as to destination marketing and the direction we have set. The wine roads of Zagreb County were introduced to many festival participants and the expert jury through the film, which allowed us to successfully continue the promotion of the unforgettable locations of our county," said the director of the Tourist Board of Zagreb County, Ivana Alilović. "In addition to destination campaigns such as the Via VINO film festival in the vineyards and wineries of the county, which we have been successfully conducting for the last two years, we are glad that our activities in the promotion of tourism in Zagreb County have been recognized and rewarded on international markets."

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A particularly important award from the wine country, Portugal

For a wine-themed film, the awards of film festivals in wine countries are especially important. Portugal is one of the most important European wine destinations, which makes the award from the ART&TUR festival even more important in the international promotion of Zagreb County's wine routes.

"Participation in international film festivals, where the films of the world are evaluated together and the best ones are chosen, is a strong indicator of how well you can convey a message through a film. On the production side, we are proud of the success in the international film competition, where we were able to highlight the destination of the wine roads of Zagreb County and, together with the Tourist Board of Zagreb County, make a film that was awarded at all the film festivals where it was submitted," said the film's producer, Martina Miličević.

This year's films were evaluated by an expert jury of 35 members from numerous countries around the world, from Brazil, Mauritius, Iran to Canada. The Croatian representative in the jury, Spomenka Saraga, film producer and director of the Zagreb Tour Film Festival did not hide her enthusiasm and pride for the award-winning films submitted from Croatia. "Croatia presented itself in the best possible way, several Croatian tourist films were shown on the big screen, which entered the competition for one of the awards, and in addition to the film program, accompanying activities were also prepared for festival guests, such as a tasting workshop that showed how wine and extra virgin olive oil, the perfect accompaniment to film art and tourism. The sugar in the end was definitely the four prizes that went to Croatia. I am proud of the fact that thanks to the Zagreb Tourfilm Festival, the trainings held with the support of the Croatian Tourist Board, these excellent films got the chance to compete and eventually win significant awards. I hope that this will be a wind at everyone's back and that these and other Croatian tourist films will continue to be submitted to festivals and win a number of awards. I congratulate the awardees and the Tourist Board of Zagreb County on the film "Taste above Eveything", which was another wine and gastronomic invitation to the guests of the festival in Portugal to come to Zagreb and its surroundings and the next Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.

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(Ivana Alilovic with the award at Zagreb Toufilm Festival)

Watch the award-winning wine film of Zagreb County!

The film takes us through the preparation of the wine cellar of the Šoškić family, the production of genuine wines by the Tomac family, otherwise the first ecologically certified winery in Zagreb County, which recently completed the construction of an impressive new winery. In the film, you will also see the fairy-tale manor house Nespesh, on the Zelina wine road, where the Litterarii winery is located today. The bearers of the tradition of Zagreb County's wine roads are families that have been producing wine for generations, such as the Kos winery.

In the Braja vineyard house, we follow the preparation of the homemade Plešivica copanjek, and the free domestic animals on the slopes of Žumberac are a reminder that the genuine wines of the Zagreb County follow the originality of the ingredients found on the menus of recognized restaurants.

Monday, 17 October 2022

More Recognition for Zagreb County Wine Roads at Zagreb Tourfilm Festival

October 17 2022 - The steady and effective promotion continues to attract attention, as the Zagreb County Wine Roads promo video, Tastes above Everything, wins best wine video at this year's Zagreb Tourfilm Festival.  

A nice thing is happening around the Croatian capital - more and more people are discovering the Zagreb County Wine Roads, which offer a very diverse tasting experience just a short drive from the city centre. The three wine roads of Samobor, Zelina and Plesivica offer an array of grapes, styles and presentations, including Croatia's premier sparkling wine production.

But rather than wait for visitors to show up, there has been excellent promotion of the region's wine potential in recent years, with some truly innovative initiatives such as the recent Via Vino month of open cellars, combined with art, music, cinema and culture. Where else in the world, for example, could you watch the premiere of the new James Bond movie last year, while sitting in a picturesque vineyard on straw bales, covered in blankets, which sampling roasted chestnuts and sipping young Portugiesac wine? 

That effective promotion has continued on YouTube, with a truly excellent promotion of the Zagreb Country Wine Roads in the shape of the official promo video, Okusi prije svega (Tastes above Everything). Released earlier this year, the video beautifully captures the region's nature and rich gastronomy. It was nominated for last week's Zagreb Tourfilm Festival, and with an excellent conclusion, winning Best Wine Film. The dynamic regional tourist board director, Ivana Alilovic, was on hand to collect the award.

The official press release below. 

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The Tourist Board of Zagreb County won the award for the best wine movie

The Zagreb County Tourist Board's destination film, Tastes above Everything, which introduces the audience to the rich, eno-gastronomic offer of the wine roads on the festive occasion at the Zagreb Tour Film Festival awards, and on Friday, October 14, it was declared the best wine film. In the competition, 106 films and works of audiovisual production that promote tourism aspects of the tourist destination, an expert jury made up of relevant domestic and international experts, first of all, he awarded the film Okusi the award for the best promotional tourist film in the category of eno-gastro tourism.

"First of all, we prepared the destination film Tastes with the aim of giving our guests and visitors the chance to bring Zagreb County closer to the inextricable link of wine roads and gastronomy that is cherished here for centuries. Zagreb County is a well-known destination for enjoying local gastronomy and fresh, indigenous foods that naturally complement the wine offer. We are extremely proud that our work is followed in the tourist community of Zagreb County, and the great results of our winemakers, winners of numerous international awards for their recognition excellence of the wine," said the director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board, Ivana Alilović.

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With this award from the Zagreb wine route countries, the winemakers themselves, but also the restaurants and producers of domestic products that accompany them, have achieved recognition in the international competition of the best tourist films in the world. Preparation of vinjak, care of the vines of the first ecologically certified winery in Zagreb County or the flavors of tradition - all this awaits you at its best wine film. The production of the film was entrusted to Martina Miličević, a multiple award-winning producer of tourist films. "The main actors in the Zagreb County destination film are themselves winemakers. Without preparation, they proudly stood in front of the cameras and showed what they truly have to offer visitors. I believe that it is the most sincere form of promotion, an experience that is truly expected of each visitor. Conceptually, we wanted to show how destination wine roads also include the unforgettable nature that surrounds them, the wealth of fresh food available in the narrow circle of the county, and that to explore the world of wine, you just need to start."

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The film takes us through the preparation of vinjak by the Šoškić family, the production of sincere wines by the Tomac family, by the way, the first ecologically certified winery in the area of ​​Zagreb County, which recently completed the construction of an impressive new winery. In the film, you will also see the fairy-tale mansion Nespesh, on the Zelina wine road where the Litterarii winery is located today. Bearers of the traditional wine roads of Zagreb County are families that have been producing wine for generations, such as the Kos winery. In the Braje winegrower's house, we follow the preparation of the local Plešivica copanjek and free-range domestic animals on the slopes of Žumberac are a reminder of the genuine wines of Zagreb the county also monitors the authenticity of the ingredients found on the menus of recognized restaurants.

Learn more about the Zagreb County Wine Roads on the official regional tourism board website.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Istrian Kabola Winery Receives Two More International Awards

September the 30th, 2022 - The well known Istrian Kabola winery is no stranger to international recognition and awards, and two more prestigious international awards will only push this Istrian winery even further into the limelight.

As Morski writes, two international awards - Luxury Awards in the category of Best Organic Wine Production Company 2022 and Prestige Awards in the category of Vineyard of the Year - have arrived at the doors of the Istrian Kabola winery. According to many people, this is by far the most beautiful Istrian estate of all.

Both awards come from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and are annual awards given by respected British publications. The best ones are decided by readers online, as well as by an expert jury.

Connoisseurs of the wine scene know that both of these awards have definitely ended up in the right hands, because the Istrian Kabola winery was the first of all on the Istrian peninsula to venture into organic production, which is why all its labels have had the BIO certificate since back in 2009, and it is also the first winery in all of the Republic of Croatia to have started with the production of wine aged in amphorae.

The awards given to the owners of the winery, the Markezic family, who are still very busy working in the vineyards because this year's harvest is still in progress.

"We started harvesting around August the 25th this year, two or three weeks earlier than in previous years due to the extremely hot and sunny summer. Early Chardonnay and Pinot Gris varieties were harvested, and we're using them to produce our RE Kabola sparkling wine. We've just finished harvesting the Malvasia, which accounts for 70 percent of the total production of our grapes and wine,'' explained famous Istrian winemaker Marino Markezic, announcing yet another excellent wine year.

The vineyards on the estate of the Istrian Kabola winery withstood this year's horrendous drought very well thanks to the soil in the microlocation of Momjanstina, which is rich in marl that retains moisture more easily.

It's worth noting that wine and the production of it has been present within this family and has been a tradition for more than 130 years now, and the Markezic family live in harmony with nature. Their cellars have always been the Istrian avant-garde, their wines are widely appreciated, recommended by the most famous sommeliers and offered by prestigious restaurants in many locations. Their winery in Kanedol is a must-see destination for tourists from all over the world, and the film industry also loves it, given the fact that just a few years ago, scenes for a Hollywood blockbuster were filmed on the property.

"Awards always make us happy, but the best reward is the recommendation of our clients and guests who return to us year after year and truly enjoy our wines," concluded Markezic.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Badel 1862 Taking Over Well Known Dalmacijavino Umbrella Brand

September the 14th, 2022 - The very well known Dalmacijavino is one of the most recognisable brands from the area of ​​Dalmatia of all, and it has a very long and rich tradition that Badel 1862 wants to work to fully preserve.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Vinoplod director Kresimir Lokas stated that ''Dalmacijavino's range of wines, not to mention the rest of the strong alcoholic beverages we previously took over, will be produced in Vinoplod's facilities in Sibenik, and the yeasts will be produced in Badel's facilities in Sisak. 

With this agreement, Badel 1862 and Vinoplod are set to further strengthen their positions on the demanding wine market, especially when it comes to local Dalmatian varieties such as Debit and Drniski Merlot. By bottling Dalmacijavino's wine brands, we'll further increase the level of production in the Sibenik plants, and by using synergies and further investments in the development of an even greater number of wine brands, we'll get additional opportunities for quality portfolio expansion and sales growth,''

''Just as we've already proven to be a successful method with Badel 1862 and Vinoplod, we intend to continue to develop and modernise the Dalmacijavino brand in order to bring it closer to new generations of consumers," emphasised Lokas.

"Given the long-term cooperation with the company Badel 1862, which bought raw materials from us and then took over the brands of strong alcoholic beverages two years ago, the sale of the Dalmacijavino umbrella brand to Badel was a natural sequence of business events.

The Ostrc company will continue to do business with Badel, and now it will be carried out through the largest consolidated Dalmatian vineyard in Petrovo Polje, from which most of the raw material will be sold to Badel and Vinoplod, which means that Dalmacijavino's products will continue being made from the same grapes from which it has all been being done for the last seventy years.

The contract on the matter was signed to mutual satisfaction and I believe that Dalmacijavino's brands will continue to be very well positioned on the market in the future. In addition to a greater focus on the potential of our vineyard, in terms of even greater and higher quality yields, as well as the gastronomic and tourist story that we have been developing over more recent years, in the coming period, we intend to place our focus even more intensively on the business and development of one of the strongest regional beverage brands, Pipi, not to mention on its further expansion,'' concluded Luka Diel-Zadro of Pipi beverages.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

 

Monday, 5 September 2022

Despite Drought, Istrian Grape Harvest Promises Quality Crop

September the 5th, 2022 - The Istrian grape harvest is promising a high quality crop despite the long period of drought which has threatened Croatian fruit and vegetable production up and down the country so far this summer.

As Morski writes, the Istrian grape harvest has begun, and despite the damage caused by the prolonged drought, the grapes appear to be healthy and the yields, although slightly lower, are of good quality as the recent rains have replenished the berries and mitigated most of the losses.

''I think that the drought has shown its effects and left traces of about 10 percent, we've calculated that there will be less grapes,'' said Moreno Coronica, a winemaker from Umag.

The Markezic family will harvest the usual eight to nine tonnes of grapes per hectare from their vines spanning the rolling hills of Momjan. The first bunches for the production of sparkling wine were harvested about ten days ago, and now Malvasia is being harvested for still wines.

''It's not hard work. It's not really heavy going, it's even a kind of relaxation. There's enough sugar in the berries, the acids are low, which is ideal for Malvasia. Everything is right as far as the grapes are concerned, in terms of both freshness and the sugars. So, we will get a wine with around 13 percent alcohol, freshness around 5.5 and 6 percent acidity,'' explained Marino Markezeic from Momjan.

While the Istrian grape harvest is going on and appears to be quite successful, offering a very welcome breath of fresh air to growers, other plantations of various fruit and vegetables haven't been so lucky in other parts of the country, particularly in Dalmatia and as far as olives are concerned. Inflation is set to push prices up even more, with consumers likely needing to fork out more to purchase these top Croatian products.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Zadar Hinterland Drought Causing Desperation for Local Winemakers

August the 17th, 2022 - The ongoing Zadar hinterland drought is causing a feeling of insecurity and desperation among local winemakers of the area, of which there are a great many. The Zadar hinterland hasn't really seen any rain for around two months now, and it doesn't seem as if relief will come any time soon.

As Morski writes, it hasn't really rained in the Zadar hinterland for two months now, and the ongoing drought is severely harming both local farmers and winemakers, especially in Nadinsko polje, the most ecological vineyard in all of Croatia. Young vineyards with white varieties growing there suffered the most, and if there is no rain in the near future, the harvest will also be worse, and due to the lower yield, there could be problems in the wine cellars as well.

''There's a small amount only, it's pretty miserable. The rest [of what we have] is as it was a month ago, nothing is developing, it isn't getting any colour to it and it should already be turning yellowish so that you can see that it is ripening, but it isn't doing so because these leaves have been burned,'' pointed out winegrower and winemaker Tomislav Glavic.

Glavic planted a Marastina vineyard in the nutrient-rich mud here five years ago. After last year, when the crop was affected by extremely cold temperatures and adverse conditions, this year should have been very good.

''This is our autochthonous variety of Marastina which I had very high hopes for. Last year, everything was frozen, there weren't even any grapes to speak of. This year the harvest was meant to be excellent, it should have been one of the better vintages. Until a month ago, everything was fine,'' he said. The situation is the same in the nearby vineyard of Sime Skaulj in the Zadar hinterland. Both his varieties suffered.

''This is a young three-year-old plantation that should produce extremely high-quality wines, however, it will be difficult to get a quality wine from here now. There's been no photosynthesis, no ripening, no sugar in the grapes, even though these are varieties that achieve very high sugars, but this year that isn't going to happen,'' said Skaulj.

Droughts in the Zadar hinterland, scorching, damagingly high temperatures and storms this summer have all been a fatal combination for these young vineyards.

''We had days when the temperature was 45 and there hasn't been a single drop of rain here since June the 9th. Actually, we had about four tiny drops ten days ago, but that's neither here nor there,'' said Glavic.

''This vineyard needs about 30 litres per square meter. If 30 litres of water had fallen here back at the end of July, it would have been amazing. We don't need a lot of water here, but we don't have a lot of it either,'' explained Skaulj.

''The annual requirements of the vines in terms of precipitation are somewhere from 650 to 850 litres of rain water. From April the 1st to July the 30th, we had somewhere around 176 litres with a very unfavourable precipitation schedule. We've actually got a situation in which these bunches have been exposed to very harmful UV radiation,'' said Zvonimir Vlatkovic from the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture.

If there is no serious rainfall soon, even though the vines have deep roots and are more resistant to drought, even the older, well-established vines will feel it. The harvest from the young plantations could be below average, and the quality could also come into question.

There are about 1,330 hectares of vineyards in not only the Zadar hinterland but spanning the entire territory of Zadar County. All of them have been constantly exposed to extreme temperatures. The situation is better in those that have an irrigation system, although they're also struggling to maintain an average and high-quality crop this year. In recent years, Zadar's local winemakers have made a big step forward when it comes to quality. The market recognises and acknowledges them, and it would be much easier to maintain that level of quality if the plantations didn't depend solely on the whims of nature, which is often cruel.

The straw for not only the winemakers of the Zadar hinterland but for winemakers up and down the country could be EU funds. In the new programme period starting in 2023, the emphasis is, among other things, on irrigation systems, as reported by HRT.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

700 People Join 7th Istria Wine and Walk Event, 60% of Them Foreigners

May the 24th, 2022 - The seventh Istria Wine and Walk event was attended by 700 people this year, with 60 percent of that figure being made up by foreign visitors, which is an excellent indicator for both this gorgeous region of Croatia and its wine.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as many as 700 lovers of the charm of the northwestern Istrian peninsula gathered at the seventh edition of the Istria Wine and Walk event and enjoyed an even richer eno gastronomic offer and the outstanding natural beauty of this beautiful region.

The first event of this type in the Republic of Croatia, the very first edition of which was initially held back in 2015, welcomed many local and foreign visitors with 13 top quality Istrian winemakers, nine local caterers and producers at as many as eight refreshing stops.

"I've been coming to the Istria Wine and Walk event for several years now and it surprises me each and every time. The Istria Wine & Walk event is a truly unique event that combines top wines with an excellent gastronomic offer, all during the part of the year that is ideal for exploring the charms of this part of Istria,'' said photographer and travel blogger Domagoj Sever.

This year's Istria Wine and Walk, for which 700 registration fees were sold out in a mere few days, once again proved to be especially popular among guests from abroad, as well as guests from other parts of Croatia who recognise northwestern Istria as a top tourist and eno-gastronomic destination.

"We come every year, except when the coronavirus pandemic was raging. We look forward to every edition because we're always greeted by beautiful landscapes, top wines and food, and this is our day to recharge with a bit of positive energy. The Istria Wine & Walk event is a sort of retreat for us,'' said Maja Culig, a visitor from Zagreb.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Croatian Wine Region: A Brief Recap of Dalmatia

5 March 2022 - With its diverse climate and terrains, winemakers produce over 45,000 tons of Croatian annually, alongside an astounding variety of award-winning wines. In line with the Dalmatian Wine Festival taking place this week in Split (April 8-9, 2022), here’s a refresher on Croatian wine and winemaking in this region.

Croatian wine and viticulture

Did you know that almost 85% of Croatians drink wine? Perhaps it comes as no surprise considering viticulture has been present in the region for almost 4,000 years.

Today, the tradition of winemaking is still going strong. Croatia has over 300 wine producing regions, clustered into 4 main geographical areas - the Croatian Uplands, Slavonia/Croatia Danube, Istria/Kvarner and Dalmatia. The differing climates and terrains between the 4 regions produce more than 130 indigenous grape varietals and distinct styles of wine.

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The vineyards of Korčula. (Image: Visit Korčula/Facebook screenshot)

Although the majority of wines produced are either white (67%) or red (32%), the wide variety of local grapes means that you’ll be able to find anything from bottles of dry, fruity white wines to luscious full-body reds that are a delightful addition to any meal.

To know more about different wines and wine regions around Croatia, be sure to read our series on Croatian wine regions.

Wine production in the Dalmatian region

As far back as the beginning of the 3rd century, works of Greek writer Athenaeus contained verses describing the high-quality wines produced on the Dalmatian islands of Vis, Hvar and Korčula.

The coastline is ideal for grape cultivation due to its hot summers (21–27 °C) and mild winters (6–11 °C) that do not typically fall below freezing. Dalmatia is also ranked as one of the sunniest places in Europe, receiving an average of 2,700 hours of sun per year.

These conditions make it ideal for grape production, resulting in the number of indigenous grape varieties in Dalmatia far exceeding that of the other 3 regions combined!

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Dalmatia is only one of the 4 wine-producing regions of Croatia. (Image: Geography.name/Screenshot)

18 centuries later, the Dalmatian region continues to produce some of the most well-known, top-quality Croatian wine. As a testament to their growing global recognition, a Pošip from Komarna and Babić from Šibenik, were served to attendees of the 2022 Oscars in Hollywood.

Wondering what characterizes Pošip and Babić wines? Let’s delve into some of the more recognized white and red Dalmatian wines.

White wines of Dalmatia

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Croatian white wines are extremely refreshing to sip on during warm summer evenings. (Image: Total Croatia Wines/Screenshot)

PošipPošip, with its greenish to deep honey gold hues and floral aroma, is a white-wine grape variety that was almost exclusively grown on the island Korčula and is indigenous to the village of Smokvica.

Pošip became the first white wine variety in Croatia with a protected geographical origin in 1967. In the last 20 years, Pošip cultivation has spread from Korčula to neighboring islands such as Hvar and Brač, as well as along the coast of Pelješac.

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White-wine grapes growing on vines that are usually ready for harvest in the Fall. (Image: Pexels)

Pošip grapes are usually harvested in the first week of September, producing wines with a crisp fruity aroma, containing notes of apples, vanilla, citrus, and almonds. Overall, a balanced and elegant wine that pairs well with fish and shellfish, or for slow sipping on warm summer nights.

GrkGrk is a golden-green, white-wine grape, indigenous to the sandy soils of Lumbarda on Korčula for over 2,000 years. While most wines are self-pollinators, Grk only produces female flowers and requires a male vine (often Plavac Mali) be planted nearby to enable pollination.

As a result, quantities of Grk produced are often quite small (1000 bottles or less per harvest), making this wine a rarity. The local lore is that wine producers used to only keep bottles of Grk for personal consumption, and to share with close family and friends.

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Pair a glass of Croatian wine with fresh seafood. (Image: Pexels)

If you manage to get your hands on a bottle, you’ll find that Grk is a dry white wine that can be adorned with notes of honey, pepper, pear, melon, herbs, and nuts. It pairs well with fish, seafood, chicken, and cold appetizers, but can also be served as an aperitif.

DebitAnother relatively obscure white wine of Dalmatia is Debit, produced from grapes of the same name. Debit is a straw yellow/gold, late-ripening grape variety grown along the northern and Croatian coast. Debit is indigenous to Croatia, but has some tenuous links to varieties in Italy and Turkey.

Why the name “Debit” though? Again, local folklore suggests that the wine’s name is said to date back to the Napoleonic Wars, where Croatian peasants lacked sufficient funds but ensured their safety by paying off French troops in local wine.

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The small island of Korčula produces some of the most well-known white wines in Croatia. (Image: Visit Korčula/Facebook screenshot)

Debit is a fresh, sharp wine with herbal notes and a minerally profile, with some describing the wine to carry hints of limestone and oyster brine. With age, the aromas develop toasty notes like roasted nuts, candied lemons, and browned butter. This wine pairs well with mild seafood, or ingredients like ginger and coconut.

Red wines of Dalmatia

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Croatia also produces delicious full-bodied red wines. (Image: Total Croatia Wines/Screenshot)

Babić Babić grapes are characterized by their blue-red color, with the best quality wine (vrhunsko vino) coming from Primošten vineyards. These grapes are notoriously difficult to grow, with vines often needing a decade or more to reach their full potential, compared to other varieties that may reach that point after 6-7 years.

Upon maturity, vines tend to produce only 3-4 bunches of grapes each harvest due to the harsh soil conditions and intense sun. This leads to more concentrated flavors, imparting bold flavors to the wines.

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A Primošten vineyard overlooking the Adriatic. (Image: Njuškalo/Screenshot)

Babić wines are dark cherry red in appearance and full-bodied due to their firm tannins. The most common flavors in these wines are sour cherries, plums, and figs. This wine pairs especially well with hearty tomato-based dishes such as goulash or a rich ragu sauce. It also makes a delicious accompaniment to a hearty steak or pork tenderloin.

Plavac MaliPlavac Mali or “small blue” in English, gets its name from the appearance of the grapes. It is also the most important and protected Croatian red wine variety, so much so that in 2021, experts from the wine industry dedicated a day to celebrate International Plavac Mali Day.

Like Babić, Plavac Mali has low grape yields which lead to concentrated, rich wines with deep burgundy colors. The “fiery” wine is typically dry, higher in both alcohol (12-17%) and tannins, making it slightly bitter, but with mild acidity. It is also full of ripe fruity flavor with notes of blackberry, cherry, smoke, and spice.

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The Plavac Mali grape. (Image: Goran Zdunić/Vinopedia.hr)

This wine pairs well with aged cheese, red meat, and hearty dishes like oxtail stew. A bottle of Plavac Mali would not be out of place at a family BBQ, weddings, or the most luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants in Croatia.

ZinfandelWhile Zinfandel is largely known internally as a Californian wine, it was confirmed by researchers in 2002 that its roots are proudly Croatian. Records from the 15th century reflect winemaking from Tribidrag grapes, the variety used to make Zinfandel, on the Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Vis.

Prior to Plavac Mali, Tribidrag grapes were the most abundant red-wine grape in Dalmatia partly due to its tendency to ripen earlier than other varieties. Unfortunately, in the late 19th century, Tribidrag grapes faced extinction due to disease and mildew. An initiative to revitalize Tribidrag production came about in 2001, elevating Zinfandel’s Croatian identity over the next decade.

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Croatian red wines tend to pair well with red meats and hearty tomato-based dishes. (Image: Pexels)

Zinfandel wine is a luscious red, with lower tannins than Plavac Mali. It usually carries notes of berries and spices, best paired with cured meats, red meats, and oily fish dishes like tuna.

Croatian wine and grapes are among the best in the world, and you can find more information about them in Total Croatia’s Guide to Croatian Wine HERE.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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