Thursday, 21 October 2021

Belje Red Wine Impresses, Leaves Italian and French Rivals in Dust

October the 22nd, 2021 - Belje red wine has left quite the impression and left their Italian and French competitors behind in the dust. While this isn't a surprise for anyone who has enjoyed a glass of Croatian wine in their lives, it certainly helps to bring even more much deserved attention to the many varieties this country produces.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, Belje red wines have continued to sweep up various different awards throughout 2021 after winning 54 medals so far, of which 21 were ''golds'' and two were impressive championship titles.

They have now recorded yet another new global success: Belje red wine was declared the second best wine, which was evaluated with 91 points at the Emozioni dal Mondo Merlot e Cabernet Insieme in Italy, highly regarded around the world where many renowned producers of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc apply, and which this year boasted 220 samples from 22 countries.

According to the largest Croatian grape producer with 650 hectares of its own vineyards in the Danube region, the Belje red wine in question is a premium blend of cabernet sauvignon and Merlot vintage from 2019, which left some of the most famous Italian and French cellars, such as Bordeaux Grand Cru from Saint Emiliona, in the dust.

The top quality of red varieties from the Belje vineyards was confirmed by three gold medals (out of a total of 56), for the premium blend of cabernet sauvignon and Merlot, premium merlot and Goldberg Red, all of which are wines from back in 2019.

Cabernet sauvignon merlot Vina Belje was also chosen among the fifteen wines awarded by journalists. According to the President of the Management Board of Belje plus Andrej Dean, this success is a continuation of the recognition and award they received at the Decanter for their 2008 Merlot vintage, which showed the world for the first time how much potential they have in the production of excellent red wines.

The fact that they have won 91 points, he says, shows that the blend cabernet sauvignon - Merlot is among the best wines of these varieties, not only in the Republic of Croatia but also across the world, and the acceptable price and availability on the market will certainly contribute to its further popularity among consumers.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Celebrate the Patron Saint of Wine with 'Wine & Walk Ludbreg'

October 17, 2021 - November sees the vineyards of Croatia paying tribute to their protector, St. Martin. Visit the largest St. Vincent statue in the world as part of Wine & Walk Ludbreg.

The one town in Croaita which has surprised me more than any other during my 18 years here has been Ludbreg, an hour north of Zagreb in Varazdin County. 

I have made several visits since my first back in 2016, when I penned Ludbreg, the Most Fascinating, Unusual Little Town in Croatia? 

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And that was before I made many more discoveries about this town which appears to be similar to those around it at first glance, but...

I had no idea that Ludbreg was a wine town, for instance, or that it had its own wine road at a time that more celebrated destinations such as Dalmatia did not. 

I also had no idea that for 30 years Ludbreg has been hosting the biggest international festival dedicated to young wines, which takes place in the town each January. 

And i was truly surprised to learn that Ludbreg is home to the largest St. Vincent statue in the world, which overlooks the vineyards of the area. Sv Vinko as he is known locally, is a protector of vineyards.

The Feast of St. Martin falls on November 11, and it is celebrated each year on or around that date in many vineyards all over Croatia. Known as Martinje, the vineyards are blessed and the young wines sampled. It is an important and fun day for locals and visitors alike. 

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In order to mark this year's event, the Ludbreg Tourist Board, together with the town's winemakers, has organised Wine & Walk Ludbreg on November 6, a chance to get to know the town, wineries, food and nature of Ludbreg and the surrounding area. More from the tourist board:

A new eno-gastro recreational event takes you on an adventure through the vineyards and forests of Ludbreg.

"Wine & Walk Ludbreg" is a new eno-gastro recreational event intended for lovers of nature, wine, authentic, local gastronomic products, and walking.

Visitors will walk a new route inspired by the pilgrimage tradition of Ludbreg and the roads of St. Martin. The route, about 12 kilometers long, connects two "saints" - statues of St. Martin and St. Vincent which adorn the two hills that surround the city.

Participants will be guided through a wooded hilly landscape challenging enough to spend an active Saturday, and yet gentle enough for anyone looking for fun, socializing and recreation to go through.

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Along the way, there will be tasting points or rest areas where winemakers will offer their authentic wines, local "snacks" and a breath of local culture and customs.

All participants of "Wine & Walk Ludbreg" will, with a registration fee of 150 kuna, receive a starter pack in which a special practical bag contains: a tasting glass, a route map, a voucher for participation and water, and at the start and, in particular, the finish will be fun and motivating.

Wine & Walk Ludbreg pilot is a release of a new tourist product Ludbreg which is strategically oriented in the direction of excursion, outdoor and gastro tourism. The term is located on the eve of the important wine holiday of St. Martin, and the walking route is inspired by the pilgrimage tradition of the Ludbreg region, which connects it with a number of similar ones across Europe, related to the name of St. Martin. 

You can register here.

Ludbreg Wine & Walk will start on November 6 from 9:30 to 11:00, and completion is scheduled for 17:00.

For the latest news from Ludbreg, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

James Bond Meets Zagreb County Wine Roads at Via Vino

October 16, 2021 - Red wine, chestnuts, nature and a British secret agent - the new James Bond movie No Time to Die kicked off a month of autumn wine promotion in Zagreb country, accompanied by cinema, art, food and music.

Good things are happening in the region just around Zagreb, where several initiatives to promote the authentic and traditional quality of the natural paradise that is Zagreb County are starting to pay off. The Around Zagreb portal, which was launched last year, has become a focal point of the richness of activities and experiences one can enjoy in a short trip from the city centre.  

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The latest initiative to entice tourists into the hills is Via Vino, which opened in Plesivica yesterday. A month-long programme to attract more people to the excellent vineyards and wine roads of the island, Via Vino combines art, cinema, food and music with the region's wines, as previously reported on TCN.  

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The first event was Via KINO, a screening of the new Bond movie, No Time to Die. No indoor cinemas here, the hit film was shown in a field in the Braje vineyard in Pelsivica. Bales of straw provided a more natural seating arrangement, and the evening featured young Portugiesac wines and traditional roasted chestnuts. Additional sustenance was provided by Marin Medak and his Food Truck. 

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The event kicked off at 15:00, with several hours of mingling, wine tasting and enjoying the beautiful nature before 007 took over at 18:00.

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Via KINO will be repeated next Saturday in Velika Gorica, with Via NOTE tonight in Sveta Ivan Zelena, where live music will accompany the wines of Litterarii in Nespes.  Via ART will take place on November 6 in Samobor. 

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All through the month, until November 15, Via VINARIA will see the 50 or so wineries on the Zagreb County wine roads open their doors every Friday and Saturday.  

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You can learn more about the Via VINO programme here, as well as enjoying more photos from yesterday below. 

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Sunday, 10 October 2021

Dalmatian Wine Icons: Taste the Best Dalmatian Wines

October 10, 2021 - Dalmatian Wine Icons is a prestigious wine event where Dalmatian winemakers present exclusively their best wines. It is a one-day promenade tasting that, due to its limited duration, winemakers from all parts of Dalmatia bring only one or a maximum of two labels, the ones they are most proud of.

Dalmatian Wine Icons is a prestigious wine event where Dalmatian winemakers present exclusively their best wines. It is a one-day promenade tasting that, due to its limited duration, winemakers from all parts of Dalmatia bring only one or a maximum of two labels, the ones they are most proud of, reports Turističke Priče.

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Photo: Dalmatian Wine Icons

By presenting only special wines, the so-called cellar flagships, winemakers want to draw the attention of the public and the media to the exceptional concentration of quality that is more than evident in Dalmatia in recent years, and then to varietal and stylistic diversity and wine authenticity.

Namely, in Croatia, no region has the varietal and stylistic richness of Dalmatia, because the number of indigenous varieties in Dalmatia exceeds the total number of indigenous varieties of all other regions together, and confirmation of the highest quality of Dalmatian wines comes from renowned international competitions such as British Decanter. more of the brightest medals than any other region from this part of Europe.

Therefore, the manifestation of the Dalmatian wine icon is an exciting event of an exclusive character where visitors are given the opportunity to taste in one place the most important wines of Dalmatia, which dissolve them and which the wine authors tell them personally.

Promenade tasting will be held on October 23 at the area restaurants Campus of the University of Split, and the event will be opened from 12 to 19 h.

The day before the promenade tasting, on October 22, wine workshops will be held in the same space, led by renowned lecturers - Branimir Vukšić, Manuela Plohl, Kruno Filipović, Monika Prović, and Saša Špiranec.

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Photo: Dalmatian Wine Icons

Workshop program

Friday, 10/22/2021

  • 14: 00h Dalmatian rosé - Dalmatia is Croatian Provence; Branimir Vuksic
  • 15:30 Aged white wines of Dalmatia of collector's value; Monika Prović
  • 17: 00h Small varieties with great potential - indigenous varieties with the authentic stamp of Dalmatia; Kruno Filipović
  • 18:30 Plavac, babić and tribidrag / crljenak - three black locomotives; Saša Špiranec

Saturday, 10/23/2021

  • 14: 00h Decanter laureates - wine tasting that won gold and platinum medals at the last DWWA competition; Manuela Plohl

The complete organization and protocols are harmonized with sanitary and epidemiological standards, to make visitors feel safe.

Croatian wines 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.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Via Vino: Zagreb Wineries Meet Autumn Art, Music, Food & Cinema

October 6, 2021 - Just a short drive from the Zagreb is part of Croatia's fantastic wine story. A new autumn initiative from the Zagreb County Tourist Board brings art, music, food and cinema to Zagreb's vineyards. Meet Via Vino. 

One of the things that visitors to Zagreb often comment on is just how accessible it is.With its abundant parks, it is a great city to walk in. 

Those who are a little more adventurous are discovering just how accessible - and fascinating - the region around Zagreb is. The launch of the Around Zagreb initiative last year, bringing the very best of the city of Zagreb, Zagreb County, and now also Zagorje, has added a new dimension to Zagreb tourism.  

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The Zagreb County Tourist Board has been particularly active in recent times promoting the authentic treasures of the region, as well as helping to bring the indigenous products of its producers to the market. One small example of this is the development of the Zagreb truffle hunt, something that perhaps even many locals are not aware of. Local producers are bying into the brand of authentic Zagreb County and its local products, and one can now enjoy Zagreb truffles in strukli, as well as pralines. And the latest Zagreb truffle delicacy was unveiled at the Via Vino press conference this morning - ajvar with black truffles. 

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A new initiative called Via Vino has been launched by the Zagreb County Tourist Board, which was unveiled at a press conference in their office in Zagreb this morning, complete with new promotional video of the wine roads of Zagreb County. The Croatian capital is blessed with several wine regions surrounding the city on all sides - Sveta Ivana Zelina, Samobor, Jastrebarsko, Ivanic-Grad, and Zapresic. 

From October 15 to November 15, the wineries of Zagreb County will be welcoming visitors to experience their wines, while also combining that experience with some signature events combining art, food, wine and music. 

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Via Vinaria takes place every Friday and Saturday within the month, when more than 50 wineries in Zagreb County will open their cellar doors for wine tasting. A great day out from the city, and a chance to enjoy the county's alluring nature while sampling its finest wines. 

Looking to catch the latest Bond movie in some style?  Via KINO is the place to be on October 15 at the Braje vineyard in Plesivica, where chestnuts and Portugiesac will accompany 007's final mission. Additional sustenance will be provided by Marin Medak and his Food Truck.

Via KINO will take place on October 23rd. in the central park of Velika Gorica. Although this is not a wine region, the screening of the film will feature an exhibition of photographs of winemakers, accompanied by homemade spirits by Brigljević distillates and gin. As this area is known for truffle hunting, you will have the opportunity to taste truffles in typically continental dishes.

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Via VINO will also enrich the Via ART event, which takes you along the picturesque Samobor road of pleasures, with recognizable wines, selected delicacies and an exhibition in the vineyard! It takes place on November 6 and follows the well-known feast of St. Martin, patron saint of winemakers. Take a look at the exhibition of photographs of winemakers from Zagreb County in the Samobor Museum.

Have you ever experienced a classical music concert in a vineyard? A good wine is like a good concert, it lasts a short time, but it is remembered for a lifetime. It’s new in every sip and changes with each new note. Therefore Via NOTE on October 16 brings concerts to the fairytale environment of the falling slopes of the vineyards of the Schwartz manor in Nespeš, in Sv. Zelini. The atmosphere will be enriched by the offer of dishes from Food Truck by Marin Medak, as well as a selection of wines from the Litterarii winery.

"We all already know that Zagreb County is the green living room of Zagreb. It offers sustainable tourism, numerous outdoor facilities but also an unforgettable eno-gastronomic experience, 365 days a year," said the director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board Ivana Alilović.

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"As a year-round destination, it offers new facilities every season. Thus, our wine roads and events related to eno-gastronomic content are currently very attractive. The rich gastronomic offer and the increasingly strong development and branding of wine roads - from Plešivica to Zelina and Ivanić-Grad as the home of škrlet - are one of the strongest assets for the tourist and economic development of Zagreb County.

"We are proud that for the first time the Zagreb County Tourist Board is conducting such a large destination campaign in which over 60 key entities in the area of ​​the Zagreb County wine scene are participating. For us, this is a big step towards positioning the entire Zagreb County as an authentic boutique destination." 

For visits to wineries it is necessary to make an appointment in advance.

Admission to the events is limited, and for those who do not have a Covid passport at the entrance, a Covid test will be organized which is included in the ticket price.

The Via VINO event is organized by the Zagreb County Tourist Board, who you can contact for more information.

Learn more about the direction of tourism in Zagreb County in this TCN interview with Zagreb County Tourist Board director Ivana Alilović.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Hažić Wine Camp, First of Its Kind in Croatia, Among Best Small Camps

October 5, 2021 - When it comes to Croatian tourism, wine and camps are always part of the conversation in almost all regions of the country. In Međimurje, a family has combined both concepts, and it is thus that the Hažić Wine Camp has recently been recognized for its wine and accommodation offer.

This year, the Hažić family opened the first wine camp in Croatia, located in Međimurje, more precisely in Sveti Martin na Muri. As Turističke Priče reports, the aforementioned wine camp received the OK Mini Camps quality award and was thus included among one of the best small camps in Croatia.

''We are pleased to announce that based on the analysis of the quality of the content and service of our camp by the KUH commission, we are included in the list of 46 best small camps in Croatia'', said the Hažić Wine Camp.

This wine camp is the first camp of its kind in Croatia. It is located in the untouched nature of upper Međimurje, on the famous tourist route in the immediate vicinity of Terme Sveti Martin and the Mill House by the river Mura.

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Photo: Hažić Wine Camp Official Facebook Page

The camp on the family farm Hažić offers 12 pitches for campers and eight wooden mobile homes, electricity, water, wi-fi, toilets, children's playground, grill area, laundry service, and pets are allowed. Otherwise, the entire Hažić Wine Camp was built according to the highest environmental standards with the category of four suns.

The camping pitches range in size from 80 to 110 square meters and bear the names of the most represented grape varieties in the Međimurje vineyards, which is another great example of connecting with a local and authentic story.

Međimurje got its first Wine Camp thanks to the Hažić family, which has been recognized for more than 30 years for quality local products such as wine, apples, and honey, and to their Hažić Family Farm and Wine House, they have now added the third in a series of investments, but certainly not the last.

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Photo: Hažić Wine Camp Official Facebook Page

Apart from quality products, the Hažić, Biserka, and Radenko family, with their daughters Tatjana and Valentina, who continued the family farm, is also known for innovative ideas aimed at tourism and the agriculture sector, which is confirmed by this investment.

Međimurje is a top wine region

Međimurje is a top wine region, and proof of that are the numerous medals from last year's, but also this year's Decanter World Wine Awards, where it was confirmed that the best Croatian sparkling wines come from Međimurje. And this is no coincidence, since in 2016, for the first time in history, the first two medals arrived in Međimurje.

The camp offers accommodation to tourists who want to enjoy nature, fine wines, sparkling wines, juices, and other products from the workshop of the Hažić family.

Campers in the area can enjoy cycling, wellness services of Terme Sveti Martin, getting to know local cultural sights, enjoying numerous adventurous activities organized by the Accredo Center or a picnic with excellent local food and drinks of the restaurant Međimurski dvori, and at the request of the guest will offer delivery breakfast in the form of a pinklec basket on the plot. Guests and tourists of the camp can also enjoy local products from Međimurski štancun.

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Photo: Croatia.hr

Located in the fertile lowlands between the rivers Mura and Drava, Međimurje justifies its nickname – the Garden of Croatia. The neat little villages and towns intertwine with an enchanting landscape. The region might be small, but it offers a bounty of attractions to impress any visitor. Whether you are into food and wine, relaxation and outdoor activities, or exploring local history, Međimurje is a garden full of possibilities. If you want to learn more about the ''Garden of Croatia'', be sure to read Total Croatia's Međimurje in a Page HERE.

Croatian wines 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, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

16 Super Reasons to Visit Croatia Now: September October 2021

September 22, 2021 – The sun is shining and we'll still be swimming in the sea for some time yet, although the weather and warm Adriatic are far from the only reasons to visit Croatia now

Here are a full 16 reasons to visit Croatia now, in September and October 2021
The weather is fantastic and the forecast is great!

Screenshot_205.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot © Marc Rowlands

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The sea is still warm enough for swimming

242336077_6243047692432629_2508322542701942610_n.jpgSwimming in very late September 2021 on the Omiš riviera, one of the best reasons to visit Croatia now © Marc Rowlands

The very best Croatian food

241480915_6170941186309947_1327304007351009063_n.jpgDomestic bacon and prosciutto, a classic Croatian 'tapas' served at the last surviving inn on Biokovo mountain, Vrata Biokovo © Marc Rowlands

There's no shortage of the finest fresh fish and seafood now the rush have tourists have gone. Want to cook them for yourself? Buy straight from the fishermen on the beach. You can't do that in peak season – it all goes to the restaurants. Also, Croatia's fruit and vegetables are ripe and at their best right now.

241126505_6138144742922925_8968400606881277475_n.jpgUnique, miniature squid, served in ink, with a medley of fresh, roasted vegetables at the restaurant of Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo, 2021. Yes, this is how amazing food is at some campsites in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

From figs, melons, mushrooms and truffles to salad greens, pumpkins and mandarins, Croatia is currently the land of plenty. And, the lunchtime specials – Marenda (Dalmatia), Gablets (Zagreb) are outstanding and super cheap right now. Looking for an amazing 50 kuna lunch in Dalmatia right now? Try Konoba Marenda in Šibenik, Konoba Joskan in Omiš or Gastro Diva or Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska?

242356626_6243046882432710_3401854122891850972_n.jpgRoast beef and beetroot risotto with sour cream, pomegranate and apple. Marenda of Konoba Joskan in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Sports, activity and recreation

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Now the temperature have grown more gentle, it's the perfect time to get sporty or active in Croatia. Why not try cycling and hiking in and around Šibenik? Or how about golfing in Zagreb? Inland Dalmatia is a great place for quad biking. Try it in Drniš, Knin, near Vrlika or in Imotski. If you want to try a range of activities and sports, then maybe head for Omiš. You can try canyoning, white water rafting, diving, mountain biking, hiking and a thrilling zip line in Omiš.

Peace, quiet, relaxation

IMG_3328defcvbnjuhgfcv.JPGThe peaceful beach at Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje, pictured in late September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The kids are mostly back at school, the students have finished partying and are returned to university. Right now, Croatia's campsites, beaches and lunchtime restaurants are quiet and chilled. Romantic couples walk undisturbed across the sands or sip wine as they watch the sunset. The only sound you often hear is the lapping of the waves against the shore.

Idyllic camping

IMG_3321edrfghjnk.JPGRelaxing and peaceful, individual terraces of each glamping unit in Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

If you want to get up close to nature, camping in Croatia is one of the best ways to do this. And, right now, the country's campsites are at their best. Incredibly peaceful and way under full capacity, there are no more children, families or teenagers. You can bring your own mobile home or even tent – it's cool enough to sleep under canvas now (tents are too hot during the height of a Croatian summer).

241130404_6149405168463549_8737034291319710149_n.jpgUnforgettable sunset views at Camping Rožac, Trogir © Marc Rowlands

Looking for a brilliant Croatian campsite for late September / early October 2021? Camping Rožac, Trogir here has incredible sunset views, whereas the beach at nearby Camping Labadusa here on Čiovo island's other side is a faultless slice of paradise. Further south, the glamping offer of Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje here is also among the finest in Croatia. All three sites are nestled under strongly scented pine trees, just metres from the shore.

IMG_2401dfvgbhnjkiuyhgb.JPGIncredible paradise beach at Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo © Marc Rowlands

Discover some of Europe's greatest white and sparkling wine in continental Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_2044fgvbnmjnhg.jpgVineyards of Koprivnica-Križevci County winemakers © Marc Rowlands

Been to the Croatian coast before? Then no doubt you've tried some of Dalmatia's famous red wines. Unlike other places, where white wines usually accompany the lighter seafood, pasta and fish dishes of the seaside and summer, on the Croatian coast it's the red wines that rule. Big, gutsy red wines like Plavac mali and Syrah are found by the Croatian Adriatic.

IMG_1802wsdfgh.JPGWinemakers of Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

Less well known are Croatian white wines Even more hidden are Croatia's sparkling wines. Because, if you want to find them, you have to move away from the sea and come inland. For the best sparkling wines, look to Zagreb County.

IMG_2122.JPGWinemakers of south Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

For brilliant white wines, there's a thick strip of continental Croatia you simply must get to know. Its north is the Drava river and the sandy soil runs along its length from Koprivnica and Đurđevac to the start of Baranja. Up into the hills of Baranja and to the border with Hungary the vineyards stretch. To the east, Aljmas and Erdut, to the south Ilok, then west through Kutjevo and back to Zagreb County. Now is the time of the newest wines, of harvest celebrations. Now is the best time to walk the wine roads and trails of this massive white wine super-region.

It's the perfect time for a city break

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Nobody wants to be trapped in a bustling city in summertime's 40-degree heat. The high temperatures never subside. The concrete retains it. When things really heat up in Croatia, you need the cooler mountain air or the sea, which at night absorbs the heat of the day. But, right now is the perfect time to go exploring Croatia's bigger cities.

Why not try Osijek, with its kilometres of cycle routes and parks, epic riverside promenades and the best-preserved complex of baroque buildings in Croatia? Certainly, Osijek's Tvrda and its Secession architecture should be seen by everyone once.

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Or, how about Zagreb, the country's social, cultural and economic capital? There are different happenings in Zagreb streets and parks almost every day. And the atmosphere is second to none.

In Istria, you can linger for much longer on the Roman Forum at this time of year. No need now for running urgently between shadows. You can instead afford to take your time as you wander around the epic Roman architecture here. You'll find more unmissable Roman architecture in Croatia's second city of Split, by way of Diocletian's Palace.

A packed events calendar

_MG_9181fgvbnh.JPGEvents of Zagreb parks 2021, captured by © Marc Rowlands

Croatia's event calendar explodes at this time of year. In Zagreb and Dubrovnik, famous music festivals fill the parks and streets. Elsewhere, this is one of the most important times of the year for food and drink festivals...

Harvest time

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It's harvest time, and when the local produce is collected from the trees or fields, usually there's an accompanying celebration. The party always extends well beyond championing the local produce. These are some of the best events in Croatia – accessible to all ages and appealing especially to gastro fans.

For example, Ivanić-Grad's pumpkin festival - Bučijada - always has a great music and entertainment programme attached. Held on October 1, 2 and 3 in 2021, it draws folks from far and wide to the pretty Zagreb County town. You won't have to look hard to find fun events like this all across Croatia at this time of year, celebrating everything from walnuts and almonds to grapes, olives and mushrooms.

Budget flights are still available

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Not only are budget flights still available, but the summertime routes to all Croatian airports are also still in play. Everywhere in Croatia is easily accessible right now. And for very little cost.

Last minute deals and inexpensive accommodation

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It's no secret that prices plummet on Croatia's coast at this time of year. Smart operators do their best to extend the season by dropping prices. You can pick up incredible deals at this time of year everywhere from restaurant dining to luxury resorts, villas, apartments and hotels with full or half board.

Sailing in Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_3354ertyhujhgfd.jpgA regular visitor to Brela, Baska Voda and Split returned again in September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The season for sailing Croatia is nowhere near as short as that enjoyed by most sunbathers. You only need look at the daily newspapers to read about the latest luxury yacht to sail into Croatian Adriatic waters. But, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch to enjoy the beautiful bays, beaches and islands of Croatia. Charter yachts in Croatia can be found at reasonable rates – especially in late September and early October!

Volunteering

IMG_20210915_165305139_HDR.jpg2021 volunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Late summer, early autumn and spring are the best time to come volunteer in Croatia. In late summer and early autumn, it's the Adriatic that needs a little love. Volunteer divers undertake ecological missions to clean the seabed around the coast. It's surprising just how much trash falls into the seas after a summer season.

IMG_2818edcvbnhgf.JPGExperienced divers, pictured in 2021 at Trogir Diving Centre © Marc Rowlands

If you're a qualified diver, why not come and help out? Try Trogir Diving Centre here, the oldest diving school in Croatia. Or try Calypso Diving in Omiš here. There, you don't even need to be qualified - beginners can learn from scratch and earn their first diving certificates in return for their volunteering!

242151424_6227553893982009_4396189167021449696_n.jpgVolunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

It's the best time to explore Croatia's National Parks and Nature Parks

241316764_6170947642975968_6841343418900551668_n.jpgThe famous Skywalk of Biokovo Nature Park on the Makarska riviera in Dalmatia, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

In the preserved and protected wilderness of Croatian National Parks and Nature Parks, there's sometimes very little shelter from the sun. They can be tough to explore at the height of summer. Mountainous parks like Paklenica, Velebit and Biokovo have incredible hiking trails that are best enjoyed at this time.

241631995_6170951239642275_3522302139938915487_n.jpgBiokovo Nature Park peaks in 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Elsewhere, you can trace the waterways and waterfalls of Krka National Park, Kopački rit, Plitvice lakes and Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje in relative calm right now. No long lines of queueing tourists spoiling your photos. The island parks like Mljet, Kornati and Brijuni are all the more idyllic when there's nobody else around.

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There are much worse places you could be working remotely

Working.JPGVisit Croatia now: September October 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Jelsa Wine Festival Returns After Last Year's Break

August 26, 2021 - After a year-long hiatus from the pandemic, one of the most popular and traditional events in the town of Jelsa on the island of Hvar marks its long-awaited return. The Jelsa wine festival starts tomorrow and includes sports, cultural activities, a great gastronomic offer, and of course, the best from its wineries.

As written by Turističke Priče, the first Jelsa wine festival was held back in 1952 on the initiative of the community of the Cooperative Association of Jelsa called the District Cooperative Meeting. In 1954, Cooperative Day was held, and since 1956, this event has been called the Wine Fair or Cooperative Rally. The Wine Fair in 1966 was held on August 14 and that day was declared the Day of Tourism in Jelsa. The festival has been held for years in the first half of August, from Friday to Sunday. The crowd would start in the morning and last until dawn the next day. Huge quantities of wine were poured because the idea was to free the taverns by selling old wine for the new one that will come with the upcoming harvest.

This year's Wine Festival is held on August 27 and 28 and in recent years this event has returned to its original purpose: to be a cheerful event to promote Hvar wines, especially the best in the Jelsa ring, a wine-growing region where we find many original varieties of islands such as Bogdanusa, prča, plavac mali, but also the popular international cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah, and thus various wines, from white and red, rosé, to the popular opol and prosecco.

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Jelsa Wine Festival

For the last thirty years, these wines have stood out for their quality, won prizes in competitions, and delighted guests for whom the Wine Festival is a real opportunity to taste and feel the differences between wines from the southern slopes of the island, positions from Jelsa slopes and valleys and fields by the sea. The wine festival is an experience that tourists remember - the sun and the sea have long been the only assets of the island, but also tradition, wine, gastronomy, Dalmatian songs... the spirit of the Mediterranean as it once was.

Various sports and entertainment competitions have been announced: water polo matches are played in the port, rowing competitions are held, international regattas as well, and prosciutto is removed from the top of a ten-meter-high mast. Everything is, of course, spiced with a gastronomic offer and accompanied by concerts. This year, Four Tenors and Zorica Kondža are in charge of good music.

For the third year in a row, in cooperation with the Hvar Winemakers Association and the Wine Stars project, a Summer Wine tasting by Wine Stars is held as part of the Jelsa Wine Festival, with an emphasis on original varieties and what makes them different from other wine regions. Book the last weekend in August for Jelsa where the hosts invite you and guarantee good fun. This year's program will be conducted in accordance with current epidemiological measures and the entire program can be found at this LINK.

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Vineyard on the hills of Jelsa (Photo: Mario Romulić)

After the wine festival, when you are in Jelsa, be sure to look up and discover the starry sky. Apart from the sun and the sea and top wines, Jelsa also offers tourists a starry sky, and the stars are disappearing in modern times precisely because of light pollution, and observing the starry sky is becoming a tourist attraction that you cannot often see.

The stars will be the brightest tourist product of Jelsa, which should acquire the status of the International Dark-Sky Community by the end of the year and become the first municipality/city in Croatia to proudly bear that title. This title confirms Jelsa as a destination that has an exceptional quality of the night sky and respects high environmental standards in terms of light pollution, which together make a big step towards creating an astro-tourist offer in the area of ​​Jelsa.

Croatian wines 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. Now in your language!

Jelsa is a slice of safe, authentic lifestyle heaven on Croatia’s premier island, with wine and beach treasures galore. Everything you need to know about Jelsa, you'll find it in our Total Croatia's Jelsa on a Page HERE.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Feravino Winery Has Plan to Change People's Perception of Slavonia

August the 12th, 2021 - Slavonia has unfortunately always been overlooked. With tourism still very much focused on the coast, even Zagreb continues to live in the Adriatic sea's shadow. Eastern Croatia can barely get a look in and Slavonian wine is often referred to as cheap. Could that all finally change with the Feravino winery's Slavonia-oriented projects? Maybe.

As Jozo Vrdoljak/Novac writes, back at the beginning of last year, in cooperation with the consulting company BlueRock Consulting, a strategy was developed for the development and long-term sustainability of Feravino, and consequently Fericanci in Slavonia as a destination.

The new vision of growth and development defined by the strategy undertaken by Feravino has the main goal of transformation into a modern boutique winery. In addition to the vision, the need for serious rebranding and new positioning was recognised because, given the complex market and the demands of today's consumer, Feravino faced significant challenges that need to be overcome. As such, Enosophia was created, a new brand that represents a new direction of the development of Feravino based on the long tradition of those vineyards, as well as investment, innovation, boutique production and a focus on quality.

A significant step forward

''The whole story began when we realised that we have to adapt and change in order to be able to alter our own perception on the one hand and the perception of Slavonia and Slavonian winemakers on the other. We saw the problem of the negative perception faced by Slavonian winemakers and the perception of Slavonia as a region where cheap wines are produced.

We decided to take these problems seriously, realising that we needed a strategic approach and a complete solution to tackle this issue. The result is a new development strategy, the development of which we worked on with expertsm'' said Ivan Maricic. With partners from the Bruketa & Zinic & Gray agency, the process of rebranding the Feravino winery has begun. A new brand architecture has been created with a new visual identity, and all the products it will launch in the coming years will also have a new air about them.

''Surrounding ourselves with the best in the industry, we've created a new brand that will be able to carry everything we've done so far and realise all our plans and ambitions. This is how Enosophia, our wisdom of wine, was created,'' explained Ivan Maricic.

The Feravino winery's brand new strategy implies a significant step forward in terms of wine production in the premium category, which ultimately aims to increase the share of sales in the higher price segment, especially the HoReCa channel. The strengthening of their portfolio with high-quality wines has also been confirmed by the first two brands of Enosophia, Grasevina TRS no. 5 and rose Matarouge. These are wines with which the Feravino winery wants to interest a younger audience. This is to be achieved by an innovative interactive label, the first of its kind in the Croatian wine industry. Intensive work is also being done on the development of more new products.

One of the most important projects for the adopted strategy is the development of continental tourism and Fericanci in Osijek-Baranja County as a destination. It is part of the holistic approach of the new winery, which, in addition to the excellence of the product itself, implies care for people, sustainable development and the proper positioning of Slavonia.

''Our idea isn't only to be among the best wineries in Croatia, but also a winery that will make Fericanci a desirable tourist destination and attract young people to return or come to live in Slavonia,'' emphasised Ivan Maricic.

Heritage hotel

The plan is to build a wine hotel with a capacity of 60 to 80 rooms, which will be built on the site of the old cellar.

''We'll set up a restaurant with all of the associated facilities in the vineyards, as well as some additional accommodation. Recently, we've had some horses and a stable built next to the location of the future wine hotel, which will further complete the future tourist offer,'' explained Maricic, adding that the value of these projects stands at over 20 million euros.

''We're also actively working on the construction of a heritage hotel, which will be realised with the restoration of the Mihalovic mansion. The project is worth six million euros and the hotel should be completed in the second half of 2022. It will be one of the more luxurious hotels in Croatia with fewer accommodation units, but with rich accompanying facilities,'' stated Maricic.

Along with tourism projects, the reconstruction and upgrade of the Feravino winery itself is planned, including the construction of a tasting room and showroom, with additional storage capacities. It is also a large investment, worth about five million euros in total.

''Over recent years, we've worked hard on raising new plantations and converting our vineyards. The conversion, which is the replacement of old vineyards with new ones, was done with the help of funds from the Wine Envelope, ie with cash from European Union (EU) funds. Last year, investments were completed in two new cellars, for fermentation and wine aging. One has a capacity of 570,000 litres of stainless steel containers, and the other 147,000 litres of large wooden barrels.

In total, more than five million euros have been invested in these projects in the Feravino winery in the last three years alone. We'd also like to emphasise our investment in new equipment for the production of sparkling wines,'' Maricic concluded.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

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