Hvar Wine Tourism: Major Presentation at IWINETC 2013 in Zagreb

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Hvar wine will be one of the case studies in tomorrow’s major presentation Branding Balkan Wines in the Context of the South-Eastern European Wine Tourism

The man with the coolest job in the region is a chap called Dusan Jelic. He also happens to be one of the nicest, and we had a very pleasant day together inspecting the wines of the Svirce Cooperative last year

Dusan seems to spend his life travelling throughout the region posting pictures of himself on Facebook with a glass of wine in his hand. He is usually standing next to a famous winemaker or in an impressive vineyard, for Dusan has built up an excellent information business called Wines of Balkans, and he is probably the leading guru on the region’s wines. 

He is also a lover of Hvar wines and a great speaker, and he will be presenting a very interesting paper tomorrow in Zagreb at the International Wine Tourism Conference, called 

Branding Balkan Wines in the Context of the South-Eastern European Wine Tourism

and he sent me the following information about it:

South Eastern Europe is a relatively recent political designation used mostly for the states of the Balkan region.

It is evident that there are no clear and universally accepted geographical or historical divisions that delineate this region, and also that a term ‘Balkan’ is often perceived as something inherently negative.

Spectacular increase in quality of Balkan wines created lot of powerful buzz among the global wine circles. Slovenian wines were getting great attention; Croatian autochthonous varieties became ‘flavour of the year’ and Serbian wine renaissance was vigorously progressing. Bulgaria showed ability to produce great red wines both from local and international varieties. The difficult-to-pronounce indigenous Greek varieties were not unknown any more. Turkey is undergoing a great revival in the winemaking industry while their tourism industry is already exceptionally strong. Romania is a home to many great wines and Macedonia became a serious producer of both top-of-the-range and easy drinking lifestyle wines. Add to this a plethora of interesting wines coming from Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary and even Moldova; and it becomes obvious that wine revolution is taking place in the South-Eastern European region.

With the simultaneous development of wine tourism it became very important to create a marketing tool which will rely on synergy among wine producers and promoters of the regional wines.

There are a few credible projects trying to foster this synergy, primarily the first Balkan International Wine Competition (BIWC) held annually in Sofia, Bulgaria; an internet portal Wines of Balkans which is trying to capture regularly the wine-related news and events within the region, and eventually the 5th Wine Tourism Conference in Zagreb to support further development of the wine tourism!

The time has arrived now to link Balkan wine industry with wine tourism. I shall discuss in my paper ways to achieve this within the context of contemporary tourism industry in the region of South Eastern Europe, including a few brief case-studies.

Key considerations for any serious wine tourism planning are: economic, environmental, spatial, management, social, cultural, technological and political, and all of them have to be explicitly incorporated into a decision-making framework and open to participation by relevant stakeholders pertaining to each decision thereof.

The Big Question: What Should Be Done Now?

Tourism boards, tourism destination management organizations and tourism marketing authorities should:

– accurately segment national wine tourism destination, especially the less well-know ones, as destination featuring diversity of experiences available to the wine tourism target market
– position less well-know wine regions also as holiday destinations which require more than one day to be genuinely experienced
– development and promotion of carefully selected wine tourism offerings which INCLUDE wine cellar visits with other top attractions in the respective regions.
– encourage the packaging of wine estate visits with a diversity of tourist experiences available within the tourist destination.

Wine Association (or Udruga in Croatian) called ‘Hvar Winemakers’ has 11 members, while there are 3 more serious wineries on the island and a few smaller vignerons who sell their wines from home. Here is a list of the Wine Association members:

Bastijana d.o.o. (Vina Tomić); Bibitus d.o.o. (Vina Marijan); Duboković d.o.o.; Luviji; Pinjata; Huljić; PZ Svirče; Vino-Hvar d.o.o (Vina Carić); Vujnović; Tudor and Zlatan otok d.o.o. (Vina Plenković).

In Hvar wine tourism virtually does not exist as the organized from of tourist offerings. It consists of only taking groups of tourists to wineries for tastings by a few tourist agencies and of individual visits to the wineries that have a tasting room or other hospitality facilities. Thus, the wine tasting is only secondary comparing with other tourist activities, and it could be concluded more like as an addition to the main Hvar tourist offerings. Thus, Hvar does not have the true wine tourists.

we have to change that..

Although it is a pretty small vineyard area, Hvar has a different microclimates and soils, so it produces in excess of 100 wine labels, and these wines could be very different from one location to another. For instance Plavac mali from the southern slopes of the island is very different from Plavac mali picked at the terraces around the village of Svirče. I would also like to place on record special thanks for the work and cooperation of Hvar Wine Association President, Ivana Krstulović Carić

Branding Balkan Wines in the Context of the South-Eastern European Wine Tourism
on Friday at 16h00
Esplanade Hotel
Istanbul Suite
16h00 – 16h40
Session 1.4

Thank you for all the work you do, Dusan, but you need to start saving a glass or two for me…


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