Thursday, 10 September 2020

Slovenia Loses Another Lawsuit Against Croatia in EU General Court

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of September, 2020, neighbouring Slovenia has lost another lawsuit against Croatia before the General Court of the European Union (EU), although in this case the European Commission was sued for allowing the name Teran to be mentioned as a grape variety on the label of wines produced in the Republic of Croatia, according to a report from Vecernji list.

Before Croatia's accession to the European Union back in July 2013, Slovenia sought the protection of the Slovenian Teran with a protected designation of origin valid for the entire European Union, and the European Commission tried to help find a common solution four years after Croatia's accession to the bloc, to which Slovenia of course did not agree.

Finally, back in 2017, the European Commission adopted a delegated regulation that allows the name Teran to be used on Croatian bottles with the designation of origin "Croatian Istria". The delegated regulation has been applied retroactively, since the date of Croatia's accession to the European Union on the 1st of July 2013, given the fact that teran is traditionally produced in Croatia as well.

However, Slovenia was deeply offended by the European Commission, taking things as far as to go to the EU General Court in Luxembourg, claiming, among other things, that the move retroactivity violates the principle of legal certainty and the legitimate expectations of Slovenian wine producers. According to the Slovenian arguments, they expected that the Croats wouldn't be able to continue with the use of the name Teran after joining the European Union, of which Slovenia has been a member state for longer.

The court ruled yesterday that the Slovenian lawsuit against Croatia has no basis and as such should simply be rejected.

It was crucial for the EU's General Court to examine whether the European Commission regulation had any significant shortcomings as a result of that retroactive application. And it has been concluded that there hasn't been.

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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

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Slovenia's Suit Against EC Over Croatian Teran Wine Starts Before EU Court

ZAGREB, December 3, 2019 - An oral hearing in a case in which Slovenia is suing the European Commission over the use of the name Teran started before the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg on Tuesday, when Croatia's representative presented the position of her country on this issue.

Slovenia's lawsuit ensued after the European Commission adopted the delegated act in May 2017, specifying the conditions under which the name of the Teran wine grape variety may appear on wine labels of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) 'Hrvatska Istra' (Croatian Istria) a Croatian wine, allowing its producers to use the name teran in the labelling of their wines under specific labelling conditions.

Slovenia insists on the revocation of that delegated act.

Croatia's representative Gordana Vidović Mesarek said today that the delegated act actually rectified the injustice which had been done to Croatian wine producers in Istria.

The European Commission has authorized Croatia to use the protected name Teran for its wine, although it is protected as Slovenian. The EC has allowed the use of the name Teran on the wine label with the PDO 'Hrvatska Istra' (Croatian Istria).

In recent years, Slovenian winemakers and the Ministry of Agriculture strongly lobbied in Brussels to ensure that the European Commission withdraws the proposal that the wine produced in Istria from the Teran grape variety can be sold under the label "Croatian Istria - Teran".

Before Croatia's accession to the EU, Slovenia protected Teran as its own product at EU level, meaning that no one but Slovenian winemakers were allowed to sell wine under that name.

Croatia complained against this, saying that Slovenia did not have the right to protect the name because the wine produced in the Slovenian part of the region of Istria under that name was made from the Refosco grape variety, while in the Croatian part of Istria it was made from the Teran grape variety.

In this case before the General Court, Croatia is not a party and its representative only presented Zagreb's position on this matter.

Slovenia's representative said that the current solution could delude buyers who think that the wine is from Slovenia while they buy Croatian wines under that name.

More wine news 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.

For more related articles, make sure you follow our designated gourmet page.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

President Visits Prosciutto, Wine and Truffles Festivals

ZAGREB, October 20, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited on Saturday the 12th International Prosciutto Fair in Tinjan, Istria County, as well as the nearby community of Motovun, where she opened the 9th festival of Teranno wine and truffles.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Croatian Teran Wine no Longer Welcome in Slovenia

The sale of Teran wine from the Croatian Istria is prohibited in Slovenia from Friday, judging by the statement of the Teran producers association President Marjan Colja

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Slovenia Sues EU Commission over Croatia Terrano Wine Permit

Another point of contention between Slovenia and Croatia.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Istrian Teran Wine to Fly to the Moon

"Wine being sent into space will be a coupage of Teran from over fifty winemakers. Crazy idea, but we’re crazy too.”