A new series taking a closer look at the members of the Hvar Wine Assocation. We start with the Svirče Wine Cooperative.
The winemakers of Hvar are as diverse as the micro-climates of the vineyards that they manage, but one thing is constant – excellent quality. Since its inauguration in 2010, the Hvar Wine Association has made great progress in promoting the island’s wines and branding Hvar as the island of wine.
But who are the winemakers in the Hvar Wine Assocation? Time to take a closer look, and we begin with PZ Svirče, the Svirče Wine Cooperative.
Having lived in Russia for 18 months, my stereotype about socialist cooperatives was that they were hugely inefficient, poor quality with disenfranchised workers, hardly the sort of place that I would rush to in order to buy some high quality products. That stereotype kept me driving past the Svirče Cooperative for years without the slightest curiosity as to what was inside. And boy, how wrong could I be!
I first became aware of the quality of the cooperative and its wines when I read that their Ivan Dolac Barrique won gold medal at an organic wine fair in Germany. Not only a quality international award, but eco-wines as well! It was only much later that I learned that the cooperative was the first winery in Croatia to achieve eco-certification for a plavac mali, back in 2003.
It was only after my first visit to the winery, in the company of Wines of Balkans guru, Dušan Jelić, that I began to truly appreciate what I had been missing (you can read that report here – French Oak, German Organic Golds, Quality Hvar Wine in Svirce) and as I looked at the list of international awards on the various wines on display in the winery’s shop after the tasting, I realised that here was a serious producer which was more than disproving my stereotype about cooperatives.
A partnership with national drinks company, Badel 1862, in the late 1990s has ensured that the PZ Svirče wines have achieved both national and international distribution, and what impressed me on my visit was the sheer range of wines – using indigenous grape varieties only.
According to their website, no less than 12 indigenous varieties are used in the 15 wines produced (Plavac Mali, Bogdanuša, Prč, Maraština, Pošip, Drnekuša, Trbljan, Kurtelaška bijela, Cetinka, Makuja, Babić and Okatac).
The range of wines varies from litres of table wine at just 16 kuna a litre to the medal winning barrique from Ivan Dolac and, in very good years, the late-picked grapes of plavac mali.
If you want to buy the wines of the cooperative, you can always pop in to the winery on the edge of Svirče. Alternatively, they have shops in both Jelsa and Stari Grad during the season, and it is always possible to arrange a tasting of their wines – full details here.
For more information about the winey, visit their website.