Monday, 27 March 2023

Vinistra: Germans Loving Istrian Wines Exhibited at Dusseldorf ProWein Fair

March the 27th, 2023 - German visitors to the recently held ProWein fair in Dusseldorf have been loving wines from Croatia, with a particular emphasis having been placed on Istrian wines.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the decision to present Istrian wine and its producers independently at the world's largest fair in the German city of Dusseldorf this year was nothing short of a complete success for Vinistra.

Over three intensive days, the representatives of thirteen well-known wineries, which were also supported by the prefect of Istria County, Boris Miletic, presented the rich offer of Istrian wines to German visitors. At an independent stand in Hall 12, along with big wine countries such as Portugal and Hungary, the Agrolaguna, Damjanic, Medea, Fakin, Meneghetti, Pervino, Cattunar, Rossi, Bertosa, Kozlovic, Benvenuti, Matosevic and Frankovic were presented at Vinistra's stand.

"ProWein has once again showed that it is the leading international trade fair in the wine and spirits sector. I'm extremely pleased by the great interest of wine professionals in Istrian wines, especially in our Malvasia and Terano varieties. This is primarily the result of the top quality of our wines, but also of the intensive promotional activities that we undertake as an association in key markets.

We may not have large areas under vineyards like some of the world's most famous wine regions, but the quality of Istrian wines is absolutely not lagging behind the best, which was confirmed this year at ProWein,'' said Luka Rossi, president of Vinistra, the association of winegrowers and winemakers of Istria.

From March the 19th to the 21st, the entire global wine market was presented at the Dusseldorf fair, almost six thousand exhibitors from more than 60 countries exhibited what they had to offer, and 49 thousand business visitors from as many as 141 countries visited it over those three days.

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

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles: Wine Competition Coming to Istria

May the 24th, 2022 - Istria is set to play host to one of the most prestigious wine competitions on the face of the Earth, which will be fantastic promotion for this region of Croatia which is celebrated for its wine and other indigenous products.

As Morski writes, what the Champions League in the world of sport is is what the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is to the wine world. This prestigious international competition is coming to Istria in May 2023, and this acts as great recognition not only for the gorgeous Istrian peninsula and Istrian winemakers, but for the whole of Croatia.

With the aim of promoting Istrian wines and the Istrian peninsula as an attractive wine destination, Vinistra has nominated the coastal city of Porec to host this famous evaluation in the section of still red and white wines, which will be held from the 11th to the 14th of May, and will gather more than 350 evaluators, top wine connoisseurs and other similar experts. Among them will be wine journalists, and in a few days about ten thousand wine samples from about fifty countries will be evaluated in total.

Accompanying programmes, excursions and tastings will be organised for the participants of this international wine event, so the evaluators will get to know Istria, and posts on social media, portals, blogs, TV shows and magazines will tour the world. Showcasing Istria and Croatia and the amazing wine the country produces, which still tends to fly under the radar in the shadow of the likes of France for most.

Since Istria a small region, we've opted for excellence and that's why today we can proudly say that we produce top quality wines and that for the seventh year in a row we have been proclaimed to have the best olive oil in the entire world. Wine and winemaking are part of Istrian traditions and have made Istria a recognisable brand on the global market. That's why being the host of the international wine evaluation, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, is a great honour and a perfect opportunity for us to present just why Istria is famous to the whole world,'' said the Istrian prefect Boris Miletic.

Along with Decanter and IWC, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is the world’s largest wine evaluation and it was founded way back in 1994, and since 2006 it has been held every other year in a different country. So far, the competition has visited fifteen of the most famous wine countries, including the Republic of Croatia next year.

For more, check out our 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.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

5 Things To Do in Istria in November

Istria is alive and vibrant all year round, and there's no shortage of events outside of the tourist season. We bring you a few suggestions on what to see and do if you're planning to visit Istria in November


1. Warm up with a walk - and some wine - in Novigrad

Technically, it’s still October, but the forecast calls for a sunny weekend in Istria, and so... A nice long walk with gorgeous vistas, coupled with a few nibbles and glasses of wine - sounds like a great way to usher in the new month, right? The popular event Wine & Walk by the Sea will see its 4th instalment this Saturday in Novigrad.

The scenic 10km route will first take you through vineyards and olive groves, and then along the coast, providing a splendid view of the Novigrad city centre. Winemakers and restaurateurs from the area will be showcasing their specialties at six tasting stops along the way, plus a surprise stop halfway through.

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© Romulic & Stojcic

Gourmet delicacies will be presented by local caterers Sergio, Kod Marice, La Taverna, Half 8 and Konoba Nino, with dessert provided by Ošo bakery. Each stop has a wine pairing, courtesy of winemakers Moreno Ivančić, Stancija Fava, Leonardo Palčić, Ghira, Vino P&P – Pervino, and Vina Demark.

The walk begins in the morning at Kastanija beach where participants can register and collect their tasting glass together with a map of the trail. Departures are scheduled every 20 minutes.

When: Saturday, October 30th. Registration 8.30 AM - 12PM
Where: Kastanija beach (start and finish), 3km north of Novigrad

Note: attendance is only possible with a Covid certificate or a negative rapid antigen test result no older than 48 hours. Tickets, pricing and the full schedule available at Colours of Istria


2. Go out on the town in Pula


Image source: Dođi u grad - Vieni in città

Well... It's more like, Come to town!, but you sure can amp it up and paint the town red. Jokes aside, the city center in Pula is turning into a massive venue for a plethora of fun activities and events over the next few weekends. Live music, stand-up shows, food & wine, art, film screenings, sports, workshops and many other things await visitors from Thursday to Saturday each week in November.

When: Oct. 28-30, Nov. 4-6, 11-13, 18-19
Where: several locations in Pula, see map

You can find a detailed program for each weekend here (in English) and look out for individual events on Facebook.


3. Visit the Book Fair(y) in Pula

The book fairy’s coming to town for the second time in 2021! After the belated 2020 edition that took place earlier this year, the beloved literary event is returning to Pula for its regular annual instalment in the second half of November.

The Book Fair(y) in Pula traditionally features more than 300 publishers from Croatia and the region, and is visited by over 60,000 lovers of literature each year. The fair’s program is always built around a central theme, and this time around, it’s Love: during the ten-day event, panels and discussions will be questioning whether the timeless phenomenon still makes the world go round.


Image source: Sanjam knjige

This year, the book fair in Pula breaks its decades-long tradition by changing venues from the Austro-Hungarian palace of Marine-Kasino to the former textile factory Arena Trikotaža. Part of the program will also take place at The Shipyard Pub, located on the same street. Numerous Croatian and international writers will be attending the ten-day event, so make sure to check out the full program once it's released. If you're not up for panels and the like, you can simply enjoy strolling around the fair and buy a good book or two.

When: November 19th - 28th
Where: ex. Arena Trikotaža / The Shipyard Pub - St Theodor Passage 1, Pula

More info to be announced on the official website (in English) and Facebook page.


4. Explore the flavours of autumn in Brtonigla

 Colder months call for hearty meals, and as the temperatures continue to drop, we could all use a nice bowl of pumpkin soup.

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Image source: Ruth Georgiev / Unsplash

Luckily, with autumn in full swing, food markets in Istria are bursting with the best seasonal produce the region has to offer. Mushrooms, truffles, pumpkin, chestnuts, quince and pomegranate are on the menu in several restaurants participating in the Flavours of Autumn, a month-long gourmet event in Brtonigla.

Food & Wine Primizia and konobas Astarea, Morgan and Silvano prepared menus featuring delicious filling dishes inspired by the autumn season, paired with Istrian wines and olive oils, and available at promotional prices. Check out the menus here ... and don’t wait too long to book a table.

When: Oct 15 - Nov. 21
Where: Brtonigla


5. ...and keep exploring all flavours of Istria at the Open Days of Agritourism

You didn’t think this list would only have one gourmet item? We’re in Istria, after all - so even if you don’t get a chance to visit Brtonigla in November, culinary temptations await all over the region.

The Open Days of Agritourism will take place over four weekends in November, with twelve agricultural estates participating in the 11th annual instalment of the popular manifestation. Family-run farms will be offering menus based on their own produce and paired with other locally sourced delicacies. It's a truly authentic experience of traditional Istrian cuisine: grown, raised, harvested, prepared, cooked, baked and served by the hard-working hosts.

Most agricultural estates in Istria also offer accommodation, and there’s plenty to do for a weekend. Kids will enjoy meeting cute farm animals, there are various hiking and cycling trails for the whole family to explore, and after a long day out, there’s always a delicious full plate to get back to.

When: November 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
Where: Agricultural estates Cerovac, Dušani, Giovanna Allegra, Montižel, Ograde, Pineta, Sia, Stara Štala, Štefanić, Ondina, Pod Čripnjom, Stancija Buršić

Booking in advance is recommended. More info available here (Croatian only, more details to follow).




Sunday, 24 October 2021

Witches, VR and Wine: Exploring the Wonders of Savičenta, Istria

When a certain place has you sidetracked several times on the way to a wine festival, you know you have something special on your hands. A recap of an afternoon spent exploring the charming Savičenta in central Istria

What do you do when the forecast calls for a sunny weekend in October? A road trip, of course. We headed to Istria for a day and decided to stop in Svetvinčenat, a town in the south central part of the region.

Named after Saint Vincent, the town is more often referred to as Savičenta by the local population, and is also called San Vicenti in Italian. I prefer the local name myself, and in the interest of making everyone's lives easier, will be using it in this article. 

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There’s a lot to see and do in this quaint little town - and we’ll get to that in a bit - but the main reason for our trip this time was the Young Wine Festival that took place on Saturday, October 23rd.

It’s a tradition for winemakers and wine lovers alike to gather in Svetvinčenat this time of year to present and taste the first wines of the season. While the custom has been around for over 40 years, the event has officially been taking place for 15 years and is known to assemble winemakers from all parts of the Istrian peninsula. 

This year’s festivities kicked off with a cycling race in the early afternoon, and the wine festival was to start at 5PM and last well into the evening. We arrived a few hours early, but not being especially apt at cycling, decided to skip the recreational part of the event and take in the local sights instead. We had no idea what wonders lay within the castle walls. 

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Even though its origins date much further back in history, Svetvinčenat is mostly known as a Renaissance gem. Its picturesque landscape is dominated by the gorgeous Morosini-Grimani castle and the parish Church of the Annunciation overlooking the large public square. 

The Morosini Grimani castle is the biggest edifice in Svetvinčenat and one of the best preserved castles in Istria. The estate changed hands several times throughout history and owes its name to two noble families that had the biggest impact on the town’s development in the early Modern Era. 

This stunning historical monument has been through a lot in its lifetime: it was pillaged, conquered, burned down repeatedly, and left on a brink of collapse after World War II. In the last two decades, however, it has undergone a thorough restoration that was completed last year and is nowadays abuzz with visitors. 

The main attraction beyond the solemn fortification walls? I’m sure everyone’s heard of and possibly even took part in a few escape room games. Well, Escape Castle Svetvinčenat takes that up a notch with a variation of the classic puzzle game that is played all over the castle instead of a single room. 

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We couldn’t possibly leave without giving this a try. The game starts with a tale of a knight who once won a tournament and left the main prize behind which is now yours to claim. That is, if you solve all the puzzles. They’re based on Istrian legends and scattered around the castle grounds; the game had us scurrying along the fortification walls, exploring a dungeon, three watchtowers and the armoury. We even had a close encounter with the infamous Istrian vampire Jure Grando. 

The challenge isn’t too hard to complete and will be enjoyed by all generations, but it’s not absurdly easy either and it will attempt to trick you once or twice. The historical setting is what makes it a one of a kind experience, and it’s also a fantastic way to explore various areas of the castle. The game can be played by up to 35 players at once, split into smaller groups - a nice idea for a teambuilding if you're in the region.

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A premium piece of real estate: the torture chamber offers a nice view of the dungeon below. 

This game alone gets an A+ for the castlefolk, but we weren’t done yet, as you’ll want to stick around and see more of the place. The five-floor palace nestled in one corner of the castle houses a conference hall, a tasting room and a lovely souvenir shop, among other things.

Our favourite? A superb multimedia exhibition, presenting an overview of the area's history in a refreshingly engaging way. If you’re expecting yet another litany of historical facts or dusty display cases, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  

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The moment we started looking around, we were hooked. There’s only a handful of exhibits and the display looks deceptively simple when you first walk in, only to find out that the content is incredibly interactive, immersive, easy to use, and most of all, fun. The last three exhibits are literally games

There’s a VR game that will have you tilting at the ring as a competitor in a traditional chivalrous tournament... While riding a model horse, sort of. (The horse has a name. I found the whole thing hilarious.) 

You get to become the lady of the castle for a few moments, sitting on a real throne while discussing daily affairs with your virtual advisor.  

There’s a pillar of shame, a virtual forgery to master, and a siege to stop. I won’t get into too many details nor share photos so as not to spoil the experience, but we found it to be an absolute joy. And we learned quite a few bits about history along the way. 

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A well thought-out detail at the end rounds up the entire visit: most exhibits are equipped with cameras and if you so decide, you can have a few photos taken as you participate in the activities. When you’re done with the tour, a recap with the pics is sent to your email address. It can be shared on social media or simply kept as a reminder of your visit. 

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The staff was also very helpful, communicative and kind even though we lost all track of time and had to be gently reminded it was past the closing time. 

There’s more to see in Savičenta, both within and beyond the castle walls. There’s the House of the Witch Mare, a visitor centre where the local cultural heritage is presented with the use of modern technologies such as VR, AR and 3D mapping. Or the medieval theme park Sanc. Michael in the nearby village of Rapanji, a great destination for a family trip. 

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The town is also known for three big annual events: the Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre Festival, the Medieval Festival, and the Cheese Festival. I've since found out that the last one involves this:

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Yes, I'm easily amused and yes, I’m definitely going to the cheese fest next year. 

This time around, with only one hour remaining to spare, we headed to the wine festival. 

This year’s event saw fifteen renowned Istrian winemakers showcase their first wines of this year’s harvest: Babos, Baćac, Tomaz, Vivoda, Matić, In Sylvis, Černeka, Radanović, Familija Matošević, Marčeta, San Martino, Franc Arman, Sirotić, Fuhtar, and Kalavojna.

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The event aims to promote and position Istrian wine as one of the region’s most recognisable products, writes Glas Istre. It promotes dialogue and cooperation between local winemakers, but also encourages a bit of healthy competition as a means of continuously raising the bar when it comes to quality and promotion of wine in Istria.

Entrance was only allowed with a valid Covid certificate or a negative antigen test result obtained in the last 48 hours. Testing was made available on site at a price of 30 kuna, with results ready in 20 minutes.

The event was well attended, and the venue started to fill up slowly but surely as soon as the doors opened at 5. We purchased our tasting glasses and off we went to sample the offer, stocking up on Istrian prosciutto and cheese along the way. It was a great ending to an overall amazing visit, and a nice example of how to effectively liven up the postseason.

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Total time count for our afternoon in Savičenta? Three and a half hours. We’ve seen, done and learned quite a lot in a short time span, and the town has so much more to give. The only thing we regret is not getting there earlier and making it a full day trip, but it’s nice to come across a destination you immediately want to return to. 


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Should 0,5 Remain Alcohol Limit For Drivers in Croatia? Istrian Winemakers Worried of Wine Industry Hit

April 13, 2021 - This year or no later than 2023, the new National Road Safety Plan 2020 to 2030 should be implemented in practice. The plan is so far just a proposal, and one of the suggestions is to reduce the so far allowed 0.5 alcohol limit for drivers in Croatia to 0.0.

However, as Goran Rihelj reports for Hr.Turizam, Istrian winemakers think that 0.5 should remain the upper limit as they fear this will be another blow to winemakers and winegrowers.

„With a corona crisis that has no end in sight and an average drop in wine sales in Istrian wineries of 30 percent, this could be an additional blow to our sector. Istria has positioned itself as a top end-gastro destination with the quality of wine and offer, and we believe that our country should harmonize the National Road Safety Plan with European wine countries such as Italy and France, where 0,5 is allowed, while in Great Britain, for example, 0,8“, said Nikola Benvenuti, President of Vinistra.

Istrian winegrowers and winemakers point out they advocate responsible alcohol consumption but think 0.0 should be the law only for young drivers (defined by the current law of Traffic safety as a driver of 24 years of age) and professional drivers.

Prof. dr. sc. Mladen Boban from the Medical Faculty in Split, who has been researching the biological effects of wine on health for years, says this change would contradict other action plans and strategic documents with whom Croatia plans to increase awareness of the general population about the benefits of Mediterranian cuisine.

"It should not be forgotten that moderate drinking of wine with food is one of the pillars of this diet with the relatively largest contribution to the beneficial effects on health. In this context, it is important to note that in 2013, at the initiative of Croatia and six other Mediterranean countries, UNESCO inscribed the Mediterranean diet in the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. The World Health Organization accepts the Mediterranean diet as an effective strategy for the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases as the leading causes of premature death globally", Concluded Professor Boban for Hr.turizam.



In an article in 2019 Croatian Automobile Club magazine Revija HAK  reported that in the eight of the top fatal car crashes from 2016-2018, the leading cause was driving in the opposite direction, which happens due to driving too fast. The article also states that in the said period, 12.989 traffic accidents were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. In that number of traffic accidents, 235 persons were killed, and 1,709 were heavily injured, while light injuries due to "drink & drive" are owned to a number of 5,524 incidents. Statistically, drunk drivers are responsible for every fourth death, according to the article in Revija Hak.

In total, Croatia saw 883 traffic accidents with fatal consequences, and 955 people died in the 2016-2018 time spawn.

While winemakers and professor Boban advocate moderate drinking, sadly, the issue of actually respecting the current limit and personal limits of intoxication before sitting behind the wheel remains questionable for Croatian drivers. However, is reducing the allowed alcohol limit enough to make a difference remains unclear.

Learn more about Driving in Croatia on our TC page

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


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

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Splendid Istrian Malvasia Wines Presented at En Primeur

More than sixty winemakers presented their splendid Istrian Malvasia wines at the recently held En Primeur at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb. In addition to the Istrian Jelenić prosciutto and Latus cheeses, this year they were joined by several producers of Žlahtina and some twenty winemakers from the Hilly Croatia region. Almost 700 visitors attended the event.

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 “The largest ever number of winemakers taking part in En Primeur confirms that this unique event – which we first organised in 2012 – is growing year after year. I am pleased that every year there is an increase in the number of caterers, sommeliers, distributors and wine connoisseurs who enjoy Malvasia from all parts of Istria. This is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the characteristics of the latest harvest, and the year 2018 has given us wines of great potential and high quality,” said Nikola Benvenuti, the president of Vinistra, the Association of Winemakers and Winegrowers of Istria, which organised En Primeur, together with the Winemaking Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

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“The improvement in the reputation of Croatian wines can be seen in numbers. Wine exports rose by more than 22 per cent in the first ten months of last year in the higher-price wine category. Since Malvasia is one of the favourite wines among tourists, I expect that wines will contribute to the tourist offer and tourist identity of Croatia. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce and its Winemaking Association, together with the national brand we have developed, Vina Croatia – Vina Mosaica, will continue to work on the international promotion of Croatian wines, for which we will use both our funds and the funds from the EU wine envelope,” said the vice-president for agriculture and tourism of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Dragan Kovačević.

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The young Malvasias delighted Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, who came to greet the Istrian winemakers as usual, and the support was also given by Ezio Pinzan, head of the Agriculture Department of the Istrian County. “I have once again seen that there are no bad wines in Istria. Today we can only talk about good and even better Malvasias. Our technology is at the world-class level, while Istrian winemakers are well-educated and are continually improving their knowledge, which is an excellent addition to the tradition we have in the winemaking industry. The only element by which the Malvasias differ is the shade of the terroir, i.e. the location from which they come from,” Pinzan said.

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The terroir was the topic of a workshop held as part of the event for the second year in a row. Mario Staver, PhD, from the Poreč Agricultural Department of the Rijeka Polytechnic, presented nine Malvasias from five different parts of the Istrian peninsula. He concluded that the young Malvasias reflected typical colour and aroma with dominant fruity scents, and thanks to the favourable weather conditions, the cutting-edge technology and the skills of Istrian winemakers, this year we will drink excellent wines.

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More news about wines in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 26 November 2018

The Holy Trinity of Istrian Wine: Teran

November 26, 2018 - The first in a series of three articles unveiling the most important Istrian wines.

Istrian wine number one and at the same time one of the key domestic red varieties, Teran holds a special place in Croatian winemaking history. It was supposedly first mentioned in the 13th century, and by the 1880s it was the most widespread grape variety in Istria, planted on 90% of all vineyards.

The wine's strong character is said to be evident while the grapes are still on the vines, as Teran grows in large clusters of densely packed berries with highly resistant skins. Teran achieves its best quality in Istrian inland but also on northwestern Istria's red soils which are blended with calcareous stone, and thus makes the perfect setting for the fertile growth of this red grape variety that seems to absorb the mineral, iron-like quality of these soils in its grapes.

Teran has an intense, deep ruby red color with a distinctive purple hue, and you will often hear Istrians say that it is the color of hare's blood. Depending on vintage and terroir, Teran can make earthy, full-bodied robust red wines, both as a varietal and in various blends, but contrary to conventional thought, you can also find Teran that is lighter, more fresh and fruity in character, exuding a distinctively bold aroma of wild berries.

The Istrian giant among wines, Teran has come a long way from the wine of Istrian farm workers and domestic households. It is best at a temperature of about 18-20 °C and traditionally paired with the fragrant Istrian truffles, game and different red meat dishes, but also prosciutto and aged cheeses.

In wintertime, as an old Istrian custom, Teran is traditionally enjoyed as a warm beverage called Istarska supa: the lukewarm wine flavored with sugar, black pepper, and olive oil is served in a clay or ceramic jug, sided with grilled sourdough bread which is to be soaked in it.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Istria Wine & Walk Gathers 600 Wine Enthusiasts

Unsurprisingly, the 4th edition of the event was sold out.

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