Wednesday, 23 September 2020

226 Croatian Wines Received Decanter Labels at Decanter World Wine Awards

September 23, 2020 - After a month of judging, the long-awaited results of the 17th edition of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 have been announced. This year, 226 Croatian wines received Decanter labels, including platinum, gold, silver, bronze, and recommendations. 

HRTurizam reports that for 28 consecutive days in August, 116 of the world’s leading wine experts, including 37 wine masters and nine Master Sommeliers, blindly tasted 16,518 wines under strict safety guidelines for COVID-19, resulting in a total of the top 50, 178 platinum, 537 gold, 5,234 silver, and 7,508 bronze medals.

The best wine regions this year are France, Italy, and Australia.

This year, a total of 226 Croatian wines received one of the Decanter labels. Croatia was given three platinum medals, 11 gold, 68 silver, 88 bronze labels, and 56 Decanter recommendations.

It is important to point out that Croatia has not had a single wine in the platinum category for two years in a row, and this year, Croatia now has three.

At next year's awards, Croatia will try to reach the top of Decanter's list with at least one wine in the Best in Show category or the top 50 best wines in the world.

Platinum medals:

 Kozlović Selection Malvazija 2017 

 Kutjevo Graševina de Gotho 2018

 Catunnar Nonno 4 Terre 2015

Gold medals:

 Tomaz Barbarossa Teran 2017

 Vina Laguna Festigia Castello 2016

 Fakin Teran 2019

 Rossi Templara Riserva Malvazija 2017

 Pilato Istrian Malvazija 2019

 Terzolo Campi del Bosco 2019

 Vina Laguna Festigia Istrian Malvazija 2016

 Tomaz Sesto Senso Istrian Malvazija 2017

 Testament Pošip 2019

 Štampar Urban White NV sparkling wine

 Testament Babić Dalmatian Dog 2016

You can see the list of all awarded Croatian wines HERE.

The Decanter World Wine Awards is known as the largest and most influential wine competition globally, which is judged by the top wine experts from around the globe through a rigorous judging process.

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Friday, 16 August 2019

Plymouth Country Club's Farm-to-Table Dinner: Pairing Oysters with Croatian Wines

August 16, 2019 - In Plymouth, Mass., the town established by the Mayflower landing in 1620, a group of 50 golfers, who are also food and wine aficionados, gathered for a Farm-to-Table Dinner that started with an oyster bar. With several members who have been to Croatia, it is no wonder they wanted to celebrate the US National Oyster Day with naturally produced, indigenous Croatian wines. 

Plymouth Country Club,,  is an original Donald Ross-designed championship course with over 200 rolling acres overlooking Plymouth Bay. Amanda Stickney, the event coordinator, and Mike Queenan, restaurant manager, outdid themselves by staging the event with special outdoor seating.


"We started our Farm-to-Table dinner with a wine tasting, and we experienced first-hand how well Pošip pairs with oysters," said Thomas G. Mayer, CPA, MST, president of the Plymouth Country Club. "The wine selection also continued with a Rose and the reds from Plavac mali, an indigenous red wine from Dalmatia.  The selection of natural wines from Croatia was a refreshing choice to pair with a delicious menu from our chef that included locally farmed vegetables, organic beef, and sea-to-table oysters and scallops - all selected from local farms. A good time was had by all!"

Plymouth Country Club, established in 1910, offers full and associate memberships for those who want to seek the benefits of a private club membership, but may not have all the time in the world.


Croatian Wines Initial Availability on the Massachusetts South Shore

Wine-lovers in the region can pair Croatian wines at the Salt Raw Bar + Fine Cuisine Restaurant in Plymouth, The restaurant's menu, with a vast selection of oysters and seafood, pairs well with Pošip, a Croatian indigenous white varietal, and filets pair well with Plavac Mali, a descendant of Zinfandel with a fruity aroma

In addition, Long Ridge Wine & Spirits, in the Pine Hills neighborhood also carries the naturally produced wines, some medium, some full body and elegant or bold. 

Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc, is an importer, and in Massachusetts also a distributor, of boutique Croatian wines. .  The boutique wineries in the Komarna Appellation, Dubrovnik-Neretva county, include Deak Vino,, Rizman Winery,, Saints Hills Winery,, Terra Madre Winery,, and Volarevic Winery,  For information on all wines in stock, from Pošip and Rose, to Zinfandel and Plavac Mali, and availability in other areas of US, visit:


Friday, 18 January 2019

Croatian Family Wine Businesses Even Attracting Americans

Plešivica is an oasis for lovers of traditional gastronomy and wine-making, a longtime favourite destination for many of Zagreb's residents, Plešivica is famous for its many vineyards, wineries, sparkling wines and traditional food. Several Croatian family wine stories are attracting attention even from across the Atlantic.

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of January, 2019, the Šember Winery, located in the village of Donji Pavlovčani, is famous for its sparkling wines that have been produced in their vinery for years. Ivanka Šember, the wife of a winery owner who helps him run the family business, says their sparkling wines are produced from old varieties which grow only on Plešivica. They have an old vineyard with fifteen different old and almost forgotten varieties, to which winemaker Zdenko Šember gives his special attention. He inherited this vineyard from his late grandmother and has since turned it into a flourishing business.

This year, this Croatian family winery business also produced a variety of new wine sparkling wines, a white sparkling wine from a black pinot, a sparkling wine of the old varieties which were kept in clay pots originating from Georgia. The production of amphora wines deeply buried in the ground is an extremely old tradition over in Georgia, and today many Croatian winemakers use this method. This method of wine production makes each wine, including sparkling wine from the assortment of this winery, completely different in flavour when compared to others.

"My husband loves experiments, and some of them also get to see the market!" said Ivanka Šember. The Šember Winery is one of the few in the Republic of Croatia which manually produces its sparkling wines, each step done with their own hands and without any machines. As the Croatian family say themselves, everything has been made even easier since they obtained a new 320m cellar. In the construction of the cellar, which was co-funded through the National Wine Sector Support Program, this wine oriented Croatian family invested more than two million kuna, and their plans for this year are to further expand their vineyards by another three hectares.

"When it comes to our sparkling wines, our best sellers are rose, this year we have doubled our production, and we're currently producing 40,000 bottles. We're the first winery to have been producing sparkling wines from old Plešivica varieties, explained Ivanka Šember.

Located in the village of Lokošin Dol, the Braje Winery is known for its homemade food served with homemade wine. Robert Braje is the winemaker in this Croatian family, and his wife, Sandra, is an expert in local gastronomy and has been the chef in their restaurant for the last eight years. In this Croatian family business, their son shows interest in wine production, and Robert says that if this continues, he will soon expand his vineyards, which today already stretch to 3.5 hectares.

They purchase only a very small amount of their grapes, and from varieties that have a special emphasis on Red Waltz, an Austrian variety which is only offered by very, very few here in Croatia. As is the case with many Croatian wineries, the Braje Winery also serves numerous homemade dishes which pair well with the selection of wines that they produce and offer to their guests.

"From the very beginning, we've been doing everything business-wise as a real family. We produce 15,000 to 18,000,000 litres of wine, and a third of all that is sold right here at our very door. We also prepare meals from either our own or other locally grown vegetables, we make our own apple and pear juices. We have ducks, chickens, pigs, and a cow,'' explained Braje.

Their goal is to locally produce food and wine for their guests, in order to get them to notice and appreciate the distinct differences. "I cook and prepare everything, which is almost all made from local ingredients, we have a cow so that we can have our fresh cheese, cream and milk, eggs from our chickens, sausage and bacon from our pigs, and if we don't have enough of our own vegetables, we buy it from other producers in the neighbourhood. I make homemade bread, pasta, noodles... Our guests come either individually or in small groups, and we have many guests from the USA,'' noted Sandra Braje.

Režek Winery is yet another traditional Croatian family business that Damir Režek inherited from his father, Drago. "Our story began with my great-grandfather Roko, who had 40,000 vines, and the most famous type he had was a Portuguese variety. That Portuguese variety is the very story of my family and I'm glad that this slightly forgotten variety has now been revived, and my grandfather later brought new varieties, such as sauvignon, and was one of the largest producers in this region,'' stated Damir Režek.

The last vineyard was planted back in 2005, so now they have four hectares and about 20,000 vineyards.

Vinarija Kolarić in Hrastje Plešivičko is known for its rich homemade food, wines, and sparkling wines. Franjo Kolarić has a restaurant and since 2009 a mini hotel with sixteen rooms in which he has invested more than three million kuna. As he says, he's typically full from May to October. A warehouse for sparkling wine was built back in 1997 and Franjo is currently working on a new line of sparkling wines, in which he planning to invest 1.5 million kuna.

Thanks to the extension of the restaurant there is now seating for more than 170 people, and in addition to the sixteen rooms currently available, he plans to build an apartment this spring. In addition to all of the above, one of his plans is to build a small brewery and produce small quantities of craft beer.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just wine you're interested in, give Total Croatia Wine a follow.


Click here for the original article by Marta Duic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Second Best in European Union: Croatia Produced 35% More Wine This Year

Croatia is the second best in the European Union when it comes to wine production for 2018. The country produced as much as 35 percent more wine, with only Slovenia producing more in the whole of the EU.

As Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of November, 2018, European Commission (EC) experts have pointed out the fact that this year, faith in the wine sector has been restored after the climate crises that caused enormous concern in the past. Wine production will be be 22 percent more than it was back in 2017, and 5 percent more than the average over a five year period.

Croatia will have production of 777,000 hectoliters of wine this year, which is 35 percent more than last year, but also 23 percent less than the five-year average. The European Commission's estimate is the latest report that strongly suggests that this year, wine production in the EU as a whole will be exceptionally good in comparison to 2017, when it dropped in most countries.

The Commission forecasts that the European Union will have production of 175.6 million hectoliters, which is a significant 22.1 percent more than in 2017, and 5.1 percent more than the five-year average. Croatia is, in regard to those estimates, among the countries to have the most growth in this sector in comparison to 2017. Growth in production from Croatia has been surpassed only by neighbouring Slovenia, with an impressive 57 percent growth.

The analysis explains, as mentioned, that this year has returned faith in the wine sector after the recent production drop which was owing mainly to climatic changes, and production was at record low levels. Although this year there were still some significant climatic changes, especially in Northern Europe with some heavy droughts over summer which even saw the United Kingdom turn from green to brown, all of this had a positive impact on the production of grapes and the extremely good quality of the wine, the experts from the European Union explain.

They note that climate change, as well as disease as a ''complementary'' element in grape production due to frequent rains, frosts, droughts and the like, will have a great impact on the future as well. For this reason, the winemakers will have to apply new technologies and knowledge in grape and wine production, as was highlighted in the analysis.

The fact that Croatia will have an excellent level of wine production this year will be confirmed by some of the country's respected and leading winemakers.

"Compared with last year's grape harvest, the amount of grapes is larger, with a bit more yield. As for wine quality, we expect this year to be the highest,'' said Martina Krauthaker Grgić, from the Krauthaker winery. Sebastian Tomić from the Tomić winery says that in 2018, there was no attack of disease on the grapes.

"I dare say that this is a good year with regard to quality and quantity, that is, the quantity is better by 30 percent," noted Tomić.

"This year was really ideal, better than last year. There was no disease, the weather conditions were remarkable. The grape quality is excellent and we expect outstanding wines, balanced, mineral and full bodied,'' says winemaker Josip Franković.

"This year's vintage was excellent both in terms of quality and quantity, and the first wine from PZ Putniković can be expected on the market in March," says Ana Barać of PZ Putniković.

Want to keep up with more information on Croatian wine? Make sure to follow our lifestyle and Total Croatia Wine pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz on Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 12 November 2018

Could Slavonia be Transformed into Croatian Tuscany?

Could Slavonia become Croatia's very own Tuscany through the story of its local wine? Possibly, as Kutjevo has seen a massive 54 million kuna investment into its new area.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of November, 2018, on Friday in Kutjevo in Slavonia, a new investment in the Galić winery worth a massive 54 million kuna was presented, the huge investment will increase the winery's capacity by as much as one-third, as they announced.

Of the 54 million kuna, 35 million kuna was invested in the building itself and another 19 million kuna into the equipment. Winery owner Josip Galić pointed out that the winery will remain a boutique winery, and will follow all the current trends, continuing to produce quality wines, rather than focus on mass production.

"Although our winery could be considered a miracle of modern technology and has equipment that even the world-renowned wineries would envy, we're just starting to build our story in Kutjevo. The ultimate goal is to develop the whole region, we want to make a Croatian Tuscany out of Slavonia, as it justifiably deserves it,'' explained Josip Galić, the owner of the winery. The CEO of Galić wine, Andrej Markulin, pointed out that this year, the winery is celebrating ten years of business and wants to intensify its production of "serious" wines in the long run.

The winery in Slavonia looks simply like brick and concrete, but attracts tourists and wine lovers from all over the world, and the attraction is intensified just by viewing the interior and getting to know the equipment that the world's best manufacturers are currently offering.

"With new technology and equipment, we have all the conditions [available to us] to achieve this goal very quickly," he pointed out. The winery began with seven hectares of vineyards and 30,000 bottles of wine. Today, there are 55 hectares, and some of the grapes are from local wine growers.

The capacity of the new winery is 630,000 bottles, which is 30 percent more than there is at the minute, and their annual production is 330,000 litres. In addition to wine production and grape growing, Galić launched chestnut and blueberry growing this year, into which there will be an additional investment of 8.5 million kuna.

Want to keep up with more news like this from Slavonia and from across the country? Make sure to follow our lifestyle and Made in Croatia pages for more.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Encouraging Overseas Statistics See Croatian Winemakers Resort to Foreign Markets

Through the withdrawal of EU money for promotion, Croatia's winemakers have been entering new markets more successfully over the last few years.

Monday, 19 December 2016

How Much Wine are Croats Drinking Per Year?

The Ministry of Agriculture in early December adopted a new Ordinance on the register of vineyards, compulsory declarations, accompanying documents, records of stocks and production potential which prescribes a unique treatment in the control of quality wines in wine marketing. Precisely, the new regulations will now ensure that all foreign wines that come in bulk to our market will have to be recorded and have an agricultural inspection in order to control the quality. Now, everyone will have equal treatment in the market, for both domestic and foreign wines, which is first and foremost the rule of fair competition. This also protects domestic producers of wine.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

International Festival of Wine and Culinary Art at Esplanade

Beginning tomorrow, 25 November, an international festival of wine and culinary art will be held at one of the most beautiful locations in Zagreb, the Hotel Esplanade.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Badel Wines Return from the US with 4 Medals

More good news for Croatian wine makers

Monday, 6 July 2015

The State of “Plah-vatz”: Croatian Wines on the U.S. Market

A fascinating account of the history, progress and challenges of Croatian wine importing into the competitive American market. By a man who knows.

I am delighted that Croatian wine pioneer Cliff Rames, agreed to makes some contributions to the Total Croatia News team. Cliff, whose outstanding Wines of Croatia blog has both been a premier source of information for people interested in Croatian wine, as well as a window to the world for many young and lesser-known winemakers, has a unique insight into Croatian wine in America, from his standpoint in New York City. 

This article is destined for a permanent home on Total Croatia News, but as we are still a few days from launching, I thought it would be nice to share here.

Thanks Cliff, your support is appreciated. If you would like to contribute to Total Croatia News, we would love to hear from you on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or why not join us on Facebook

Over to young Cliff...

It’s nearly a decade ago. A shipping container quietly slips into the port of New York. Inside its cold, dark belly, a precious cargo waits to be released. Several tense days follow as US Customs officials scrutinize paperwork and examine the contents: just one mistake, or one mislabeled item, and the whole lot could be confiscated and destroyed.

The “all clear” is given at last. A truck rolls up to the dock and several plastic-wrapped pallets are stowed and motored away to a warehouse in the suburbs of Long Island. Behind the wheel, Daniel Pedisich sweats and worries, attentively avoiding every pot hole and maneuvering each curve in the road with precision to ensure the safety of his fragile freight. Questions race through his mind. Will people like them? Can I sell them? Is there a future in this? But in his gut he knows the answer, and he presses on with inspired resolve.

That was 2006. And if Pedisich could have his way, America would soon fall in love with Croatian vino—or, as a starting point—the wines of Bibich, a boutique family winery from Skradin, not far from Croatia’s gorgeous Adriatic coast. Pedisich had met Bibich owner and winemaker, Alen Bibic, while on vacation and became convinced that Croatian wines warranted a place on the US market. Armed with a truck load of bottles bearing labels with funny names like Debit, Plavina, Babic, and Lasina, he was determined to introduce them to thirsty Americans.

“My inspiration was the Zinfandel story,” he recalls. “I knew Croatia had the potential to produce world class wines. I hoped that the story of Zinfandel’s origins in Croatia would add a level of familiarity and make a connection with consumers.”

I remember meeting Pedisich at an in-store tasting in Manhattan, where he poured tastes of Bibich for unsuspecting wine shop wanderers.

Although I was unfamiliar with Bibich wines at the time, I instantly recognized the aromas and flavors swirling in my glass; they transported me to the the Adriatic seaside with its jagged white stones and red earth; fig and olive trees; and delightful days gathered around tables of friends and relatives, celebrating the rituals of eating and drinking—and the simplicity of being. Surely, Americans would see the beauty in these wines, we declared.

“The biggest challenge back then, and remains so today, is recognition,” reflects Pedisich. “Many people still do not realize that Croatia is an ancient wine region with many interesting native varieties. Yet I believe we helped to build a strong foundation for the future. It’s still a niche market but one that possesses a lot of potential to expand.”

Since the early days of Bibich, the portfolio of Croatian wineries exporting to the US has blossomed to more than two dozen. Native varieties such as Babic, Bogdanuša, Crljenak Kaštelanski (Zinfandel), Debit, Graševina, Malvazija Istarska, Plavac Mali, Plavina, Pošip, Teran, Žlahtina, and even Škrlet and Sansigot can now be spotted on the wine lists of restaurants and shelves of wine shops in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Portland (Maine), San Francisco, and Washington DC.

Wineries that presently have representation in America reads like a Who’s Who list of Croatia’s finest wine producing families and cooperatives: Androvic, Badel 1862, Belje, Bibich, Bura, Čara, Caric, Cattunar, Clai, Coronica, Dingac Vinarija, Dubrovacki Podrumi, Enjingi, Grgic, Istravino, Katunar, Korta Katarina, Kosovec, Kozlovic, Kriz, Matoševic, Miloš, Piquentum, Piližota, Plancic, Putnikovići, Skaramuca, Šipun, Toreta, Trapan, and Zlatan Otok.

For all the successes, challenges remain. Ten years of market presence has dimmed the luster of novelty among wine buyers and sommeliers who crave the excitement of new discoveries. Indeed, other regional competitors are already lining up with well-funded marketing campaigns. Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, and Turkey have all held high-profile tastings in the US recently and are garnering international awards, generating a buzz among buyers who perpetually seek—and expect—that sweet intersection of distinction, authenticity and value.

With so many options on an already flooded market, the key to getting noticed is “quality in the glass at an affordable price,” says Ilya Shchukin of Vinum USA, a New Jersey-based importer. “I get excited when I meet small producers who are willing to offer wine at a lower cost without compromising quality. It’s an investment that allows us to open the door and offer their wines to adventurous retailers and consumers who appreciate honest, hand-crafted wines from new regions and varieties. The Piližota Plavina is a fine example. We are now offering the third vintage and sales keep growing.”

According to Frank Dietrich, owner of San Francisco-based Blue Danube Wine Company (and current importer of Bibich wines, among many others), the popularity of artisanal wine bars and a new generation of curious and enthusiastic sommeliers has benefited Croatian wine sales. “Sommeliers are excited to feature Croatian wines. It's a testament to their engagement as professionals and shows their curiosity to explore the ever-expanding world of wine. They love it when they can help a customer discover something new and delicious; seeing the surprise is so rewarding. Buyers also appreciate that Croatian wines taste authentic and tell an interesting story of their terroir.”

Marko Babsek, a brand manager for Winebow, says the trick to making Croatian wines accessible is to feature them on By The Glass lists. “For an affordable price customers can taste them one glass at a time, get familiar with them, and learn the story of the producer and grape varieties. Familiarity reinforces comfort, and comfort instills confidence. A consumer who is happy is more likely to try something else at a higher price point.”

However, curious consumers who live far from urban centers find access to Croatian wines impeded by the constraints of distribution. Under US alcohol law, a distributor must apply for licenses for every state in which it intends to distribute, and then register each wine label it will distribute in those states—an administrative nightmare. Currently only Winebow (who imports Trapan) has national distribution reach, although others (Blue Danube Wine Company; Vinum USA) have collectively expanded their distribution network to nearly 20 states. 
“Distribution is a major challenge,” observes Fred Dexheimer, Master Sommelier and operator of RX Wine Lab (a wine bar and education center) in

Durham, NC. “Once you travel beyond the large metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco, it becomes harder and harder to find Croatian wines. People are generally excited by these wines. They have heard the buzz and want to try them. It’s frustrating when they cannot find them at the local shop or restaurant. With expanded distribution the wines will get into the hands of more tastemakers and trendsetters in smaller cities and areas where Croatian wines will be new and exciting.”

And which Croatian wines are selling best in America?

“The trend is definitely towards leaner style reds; crisp, unoaked, and mineral-driven whites; and fresh rosé,” reports Babsek. “These wines are super approachable and food-friendly. Lighter reds with less manipulation, more fruit, higher acidity and less alcohol are the way of the future for Croatian reds.”

Dietrich stresses that “the most successful wines are made from Croatia's unique, native grape varieties: Plavac Mali, Pošip, Teran, Malvasia, and of course, Graševina.”

Yet success hasn’t come easy. Responsibility for promotional activities and marketing has fallen mainly upon importers and individual producers, with the assistance of Wines of Croatia—an independent, non-governmental project that utilizes social media platforms to raise awareness and share information. While three grand tasting events—sponsored by Vina Croatia and the Croatian Chamber of Economy—were held in New York over the last five years (in 2011, 2013, and 2015), no additional resources have been invested by the Croatian government in US marketing initiatives.

Most professionals interviewed for this report agree, a sustained marketing campaign that includes frequent tastings and investment in promotional materials is essential to remain competitive, reach more buyers and consumers, and increase sales.

“It takes a lot of work to sell Croatian wines,” observes Dietrich. “We must always explain that Croatia has been producing wines for more than 2,000 years. We must overcome prejudice; some people still dismiss Eastern European wines as low quality. But we overcome it by sampling, explaining, telling the stories, and conducting return visits and follow-up.”

“It’s going to take many years, bottle by bottle, glass by glass,” echoes Pedisich. “But that should not stop anyone. There is still a lot of enthusiasm. Bibich and Trapan have a great model. These are two young winemakers who are patiently investing the time, money and effort in the US market. They visit frequently and personally visit buyers.”  

Shchukin concurs: “The US market is the most competitive market in the world. The three-tier system will render your wines more expensive than you planned. Any producer who wants to succeed in the US should first come for a visit, talk to importers and retailers, see what’s selling, buy a bunch of bottles, taste, compare and calculate.”

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