Quite Brilliant! A Wine Festival in the Town of Wine… With No Wine!?!

Total Croatia News

Telepathy tourism information branches out to telepathy wine tasting in a truly innovative new direction for Jelsa tourism. All you have to do is #feeljelsa. 

The American ambassador was in Jelsa today, visiting – among others – Andro Tomic in his splendid tasting rooms at the Bastijana winery. Apart from tasting and buying some of Andro’s quality wine, it emerged that the American Embassy serves Tomic wines at official embassy functions, one more great promotion of Hvar’s wine industry by that boy Tomic, and yet one more confirmation of the quality of Hvar’s wines. 

On Thursday, Master of Wine Jo Ahearne moves to Jelsa to start making wine, initially using Andro’s facilities. There are only 314 Masters of Wine in the world, less than astronauts, and Jo’s commitment to move to Jelsa is one more confirmation of the quality and potential of Jelsa’s wine. Her choice of Hvar has already been reported by both Slobodna Dalmacija and Globus, and it will be a major story in the international wine community when she gets going.

“Paul, I am really sorry, but I will not be arriving until next Thursday now, so I will miss the Jelsa Wine Festival. I am really disappointed to miss it,” she wrote by email.

All I can say is, thank the Lord she did not make the Festa Vina ‘wine’ festival last night. 

Here, in the heart of the island of wine, with quality producers such as Tomic, Ivo Dubokovic, Ivo Caric and PZ Svirce, here was the only wine festival on the island, right in the heart of wine… with no wine! Absolutely brilliant!

To say there was no wine was not quite true, there was wine of a sort, but no disrespect to the producers who were there (the Hvar Wine Association was not), but even after four years in the Islamic State, I sincerely doubt that the ambassador would be serviing the wines on show last night.

The Jelsa Wine Festival. The name conjures up an image of celebration of the island’s wines. Something like the wonderful tastings of the Hvar Wine Association this summer in Vrbanj, Vrboska, Stari Grad, Svirce and Hvar Town. But not Jelsa. The progress the Hvar winemakers have made in recent years has been truly impressive, and yet here was a festival in their name in their home town with no wine. 

Although this might seem surprising, one only has to concentrate on the new official hashtag #feeljelsa to realise that you don’t need to actually waste the winemakers’ time by presenting their wines, if you #feeljelsa, you have telepathy winetasting, to go along with the telepathy tourism information. It is quite inspired. 

We congratulated the Jelsa Tourist Board recently on their discovery of the English language. It seems sadly that our congratulations were misplaced. Not only has the official Jelsa Tourist Board Facebook page reverted to that tourist-friendly language, Croatian, since our congratulations, but it would appear that the only attempt at posting English must have been a mis-translation. Here is what they promised a few days before the festival:

A traditional island event whose programme ,along with eno-gastronomic content, consists of appropriate games like tug of war, donkey races, ham removal and a rich and diverse cultural and musical program.

There was no donkey race. There was no tug of war. Just as there was no wine. Or the traditional feasts of tuna, beans, meat.

The fireworks were good, but they really reminded me of North Korea. Pyongyang really knows how to put on a good show for the cameras, but there is little substance behind the spectacular show.

Some people might think that this is a personal attack on the tourist board director. I can assure you it is not. In order to be a personal attack, it would have to stem from a personal relationship, which is a little hard as he has never spoken to me.

Our friends and sometime information rivals Otok Hvar did publish an article about Festa Vina in advance. I was intrigued to see how they had managed to get the password to Telepathy Tourism Info, only to be told that they had actually called the director to ask for the information as nobody had contacted them. Friends in Stari Grad and Hvar Town told me that the only advertising of the event they saw was the excellent efforts made by Mojito cocktail bar, promoting their event at Festa Vina.

So we had a wine festival with no wine, killing traditional activities such as the donkeys, tug of war and various feasting. And for what?

The fact that there has been no Hvar Wine Association tasting in Jelsa is somewhat scandalous in my opinion, especially as they have performed so brilliantly all over the island. At first I thought it was due to budget issues and the change of director, but then we had Jazzelsa, the first Tourism Telepathy event which nobody apart from the Chosen Few were told about. If there was money to bring in international performers to an event that nobody was invited to, why not some money to promote one of the strongest sectors Jelsa has to offer in tourism – its wine.

It is an absolute disgrace that Jelsa is so actively disregarding one of its true gems in tourism promotion. Or maybe I just don’t #feeljelsa enough to appreciate Telepathy Wine Tasting.  


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