November 10, 2020 – A few days ago, Croatian Premium Wine Imports (CPWI), a company based in Boston that distributes and promotes boutique Croatian wines in the US – organized a ZOOM event to remember.
In order to mark St. Martin’s Day, since Saint Martin is a protector of wine and ‘Martinje’ is cheerfully celebrated in many towns in Croatia, with the help of the Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC, they hosted a virtual wine tasting and meeting of the winemakers from Croatia, wine connoisseurs, wine influencers and the general public.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, His Excellency Pjer Šimunović, opened the ZOOM celebration welcoming the speakers as well as guests including the US Croatian diaspora who joined from across the country – from New York, Maryland, Virginia all to way to the West Coast via Texas, California, and Washington state. Guests also included American wine lovers who fell in love with indigenous wines while visiting Croatia. Ambassador Šimunović underscored that – Croatian winemaking stretches back in history and, the US might become a market where quality Croatian wines will find its place, particularly since some of the Croatian wine makers impacted winemaking in the US, such as legendary Mike Grgić.
“With more than 80 people registered for this celebration, it is clear that there is interest in boutique Croatian wines across the US, which is why we created an online store that ships to most US States,” explained Mirena Bagur, co-founder of Croatian Premium Wines.
“In the US, we started a pre-holiday marketing campaign for a push for gift orders, and in Croatia we are in conversation to expand our inventory with wines from Slavonia and Danube region.”
Siniša Lasan, a three-time Croatian National Champion Sommelier, and a sommelier at the Rixos Libertas Hotel in Dubrovnik led the tasting, and the conversations with the winemakers from Međimurje, Istria and Dalmatia. Greg Lambrecht, the inventor and founder of the Coravin System, a wine preservation system allowing to access one glass of wine at a time, also joined the tasting. Greg, as a serial entrepreneur in medical devices, has worked with the Croatian hospitals in Zagreb when he was first introduced to Croatian wines and fell in love with both Croatia, the coast and the wines.
Sanja Muzaferija, journalist and founder of WOW Women-on-Wine Organization in Croatia, was also present and she welcomed all women participants in this tasting, especially Ana Ritoša from Istria, and Tea Dvanajščak, of Dvanajščak-Kozol winery and Tatjana Hažić of Izletište Vinska Kuća Hažić. These two young women introduced Wines of Međimurje, an association of winemakers from Štrigova – a team of neighboring wineries who work together in marketing their wines. The participants tasted Pušipel and Graševina, while the winemakers talked about the importance of Martinje and the way it is celebrated in their area.
Ana Ritoša, the winemaker for the Ritoša Winery, from Poreč, spoke about the Istrian wine region and wines in general, while participants tasted Teran.
In the end, participants asked many questions – the most repeated one was when the future wine tastings will take place. Lara Romano, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America, expressed hope for more events like this one in the future, and, situation allowing – hopefully even in person at the Embassy, and then closed the evening celebration.
***The company’s online store ships wines to most US states including its expanded wine portfolio from the Komarna region, Dubrovnik county, to the larger Dalmatia, Istria and Uplands. Currently, the wines in stock, almost 50 labels, from Croatian Uplands, Istria and Dalmatia, include Malvazija, Pušipel, Graševina, Pošip as well as Teran, Babić, Zinfandel and Plavac Mali.
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