Friday, 27 May 2022

Graševina Wine Has Great Export Potential, Conference Hears

ZAGREB, 27 May 2022 - Graševina, that is Welschriesling, a white wine grape variety,  is the most important and most prevalent wine variety in Croatia with great export potential but a lot of effort is needed for this wine to become known outside Croatia, it was heard at an international conference - GO - Graševina Osijek.

The conference was organised by the Croatian Agriculture and Food Agency (HAPIH), Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board and the Graševina Croatica Association as part of the Wine Tour Across Borders project that is co-financed through the Hungary-Croatia EU Programme.

HAPIH Director Darja Sokolić said that in 2020 37,000 tonnes of Graševina grapes were produced, or 44% of Croatia's total grape production, producing 255,000 hectolitres of Graševina wine which is almost 40% of all the wine produced in Croatia.

More than 40% of the wine placed on the Croatian market is Graševina which comes in all wine categories -- table wine, quality wine, quality wine, classy wine and even a sparkling, Sokolić said, adding that she sees great potential in that wine variety.

President of Graševina Croatica Josip Pavić believes that in reference to laboratory and organoleptic evaluation, Slavonia and the Danube region produce the best quality wines but they have a lower sales price and low market potential.

Hence, he said, it is necessary to promote Graševina through wine and gastronomic tourism and a wine development strategy that will enable significant investment.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Croatia Wine: ”Every Visit Is A Voyage Of Discovery”

August 9, 2020 - Meet Marc Hough, a former international DJ who became a wine importer after visiting Dubrovnik and trying Croatia wine. In 2020, he returns for his 20th summer.

Situated in the north of England, about halfway up the island called Great Britain, the city of Manchester is famous for its football and music. Mancunians are proud of this. Two members of TCN are from the city, and when someone local asks “Odakle si?”, usually we say “Ja sam iz Manchestera” (I am from Manchester). We don't say "I'm from England" or "Great Britain". Everyone knows where Manchester is.

Marc Hough, a former international DJ. His passion for the Plavac he discovered in Dubrovnik turned him into a wine merchant.

20 years ago, Marc Hough was a high profile member of Manchester's famous music scene. He counts members of bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays as close personal friends. As longstanding DJ to New Order (the band that was once Joy Division), he toured the world playing the music of Manchester to many. But, no more.

“I reached the age of 40 in 2010 and thought, what am I doing with my life?” Hough told TCN over the phone, as he was preparing for a trip Dubrovnik. “DJing and the music business is a young man's game.”

And so, inspired by an enthusiasm for Croatia wine, he turned his back on a high profile DJ career and became a wine bar owner and wine merchant.

One of Marc's 'Cork Of The North' wine bars / stores near Manchester © Cork Of The North

“When I started, I was literally just selling wine out of the back of my car. I only had five customers and three of those were my dad, my brother and me!” remembers Marc, who has built his independent business considerably since then. He is now a wholesaler, recommending and selling wines to top bars and restaurants in the north of England. He has also opened two of his own wine bars 'Cork Of The North' (which are also wine shops), in Sale and Heaton Moor, near Manchester.

“Croatia plays such a big part in the story,” stresses Marc. “I've been visiting Dubrovnik for over 20 years. I had a friend from there who I met in Manchester. She came to live here for a while to escape the war. After it finished, she went home, invited me to Dubrovnik and I just fell in love with the place.”

“There was a wine bar in the Old Town called D'Vino, run by a half Croatian half Australian guy called Saša. After I saw what he was doing there with Croatia wine, I thought that's exactly the kind of place I'd like to have in Manchester.”

Already passionate about wine thanks to his grandad, that first trip to Dubrovnik made Marc curious to return. On his next visit to Croatia, he travelled further than just the Pearl of the Adriatic and went to the source of some Croatia wine itself.

Part of the Pelješac peninsula, which features heavily in Marc's 20-year affair with Croatia wine © Anto

“I came back on a sailing holiday with Bernard Sumner (guitarist of Joy Divison and singer of New Order),” Marc recalls. “He loves sailing and he has his own boat. We went all round Pelješac, Korčula, Brač. I fell in love with Dingač. Since then, I've travelled all of Dalmatia and through Istria learning about the wines. I've been to Bosnia to try their varieties like Vranac. But, for me, the most recent, amazing discovery has been Slavonia. They make some incredible white wines there; Graševina, Cabernet Franc, Traminac.”

New Order, the band that was once Joy Division. Marc Hough toured the world as their DJ © RL GNZLZ

“For me, it's always half holiday, half work,” Marc tells us, as he packs for his 20th annual trip to Dubrovnik, which begins on Sunday 11 August. “Amazing views, amazing people, amazing food and amazing wine. But, the wine always inspires thoughts of work. I can't help myself. I love visiting the vineyards, meeting the winemakers. It's not the same as when you do it in other countries. In Croatia, you'll often be invited into the kitchen or onto the terrace of the winemaker's home. You'll leave with arms full of different bottles - some gifted - and you can even be sold fine wine unceremoniously in a plastic bottle. I love that informal, homemade feel of the experience. It's charming and honest. When I go on buying trips in France, Spain and Italy, it's rarely like that.”

Dubrovnik's tourist season has this year stalled in response to COVID-19. Its visitors' reliance on charter air and cruise ships has proved inflexible. Yet, a little further up the coast, in Makarska and Omiš, the city centres are now full of families who drive to these places every year. Dubrovnik's offer is more once-in-a-lifetime, less loyalty. Unless, of course, it's the wines and not the walls that call you to Dubrovnik.

“It's inevitable that I'll find something new that I want to bring back with me,” Marc says of his impending trip. “Every visit is a voyage of discovery. This time, although I'll again be based around Dubrovnik, I'm determined to go to Slavonia to look at some Graševina and Cabernet Franc, which thrives in the terroir there.”

Marc Hough with just one of his famous friends from the Manchester music scene. Bez, of the band Happy Mondays, is now a customer at Cork Of The North © Cork Of The North

“I wanted to start importing Croatia wines years ago but, for someone at my level, it was so difficult before Croatia became a full member of the EU. Tariffs were payable on the borders and if you wanted to move wines from south Dalmatia - Dubrovnik and the islands - you'd have to go through the border with Bosnia. I lost several whole shipments to the Bosnian police, who said my paperwork was incorrect (it wasn't). It's much better these days. But, there's still very little Croatian wine in the UK, even though the interest in Croatia wine is massive. There's a big demand from people who are really passionate about wine, but also people who come back from holiday, have enjoyed Croatian wine, go searching for it, and just can't find it.”

Cork Of The North varies its selection of fine wines throughout the year. At the moment, Marc stocks Kozlović Teran and Kozlović Malvasia from Istria and Septem Pontes Plavac Mali from Pelješac.

“For an independent like me, I buy an export pallet for each wine I want to bring back. That's 600 bottles of each wine.,” he says, “and as my own personal passion right now is for Graševina, I expect at least one of those to be filled with Slavonian wine on this trip.”

Marc Hough on one of his Croatia wine buying excursions

Friday, 22 November 2019

Iločki Podrumi Present Their Innovative Graševina from the Adriatic

Iločki podrumi, a winemaking company from the eastern Croatian town of Ilok, invited Total Croatia News to the presentation of their innovative wine - Graševina from 2011, which has been kept underwater for a year.

We wrote about the Vino i vruja event, and you can read more about it here.

The presentation of the wine was held in Matiz bar in Zagreb, a day before the VINOcom festival, and it included the tasting of the "ordinary" Graševina Velika berba 2011 ("Big Vintage"), followed by the tasting of the same wine which has been kept underwater for a year.

Graševina Velika berba 2011 is an exceptional vintage of the Graševina from 2011, when the winemaker Vera Zima recognised the ideal conditions for the vintage and decided to make a great wine from it, destined to be kept for a long time and be cherished. She put some of it in the ideal conditions of the old cellar built in 1450, where it was held at a constant temperature of 14°C. It was first introduced to the Croatian market in 2015, and it has won many awards and compliments, as it is often said that it's the best vintage of Graševina ever made in Croatia. It's a mature Graševina from the Danube river region, luxurious, full of flavour, wonderfully varietal but with amazing tertiary aromas present.

Graševina Velika berba s dodirom Jadrana 2011.jpg

Then, last year, a decision was made to experiment with that fantastic wine, which has been developing wonderfully in the bottle and put some of the bottles into the Adriatic, and not just anywhere, but in a location near freshwater wellsprings, where the temperature is almost constantly at 7°C.

After a year spent in those conditions, the 1,100 bottles were taken out, and journalists and partners were given the rare opportunity to taste it. The first thing you notice, after having tasted the version of the wine which wasn't submerged, is that the underwater version, dubbed "Wine with a touch of the Adriatic" (Vino s dodirom Jadrana) is different.

Davor Butković, a prestigious Croatian wine journalist, said that the wine tastes as if it has gone through a facelift while in the sea, and the others agreed with him. Karmela Tancabel, a member of the Board of Iločki podrumi highlighted the intense bouquet of the wine, its minerality and freshness, and how the wine tastes younger than its counterpart. Saša Špiranec, a Croatian wine expert, mentioned that you could almost feel the sea in this wine, although it obviously never came in direct contact with the sea.

After that, our hosts surprised us with two additional wines from their archives, the fantastic 2008 Graševina with an amazingly long aftertaste and the strong potential of even further aging in the bottle and a fabulous sweet Rajnski Riesling from 2006, which tastes like most delicate apricots and honey and pure joy. Those two wines were presented by a young, "next-generation" enologist, Marko Marko.

Ilocki podrumi- event-0187.jpg

If you decide to visit VINOcom, don't miss the opportunity to taste some of the Iločki podrumi wines!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

First International Conference on Graševina to Take Place in Zagreb

The first conference dedicated to Graševina will take place in Zagreb on July 1

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Croatian Grape Varieties You Need to Meet: Graševina

As the launch of Total Croatia Wine gets ever closer, time to take a closer look at some of the indigenous grape varieties of Croatia. TCN is delighted to welcome Dario Drmač on July 6, 2016. Dario is CEO of Wine and More, and his first contribution looks at one of Croatia's most popular, and most drinkable, varities.