Meet Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Bringing Croatian Wines to United States

Daniela Rogulj

September 20, 2020 –  Started by Mirena Bagur, Croatian Premium Wine Imports brings Croatian wines to American addresses. 

Wines from southern Croatia are now on dinner tables in America! 

Namely, Slobodna Dalmacija reports that the American company Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc. (CPWI), based in Boston, received a federal license to import Croatian wines to the United States, starting with wines from the Komarna vineyards, wineries Rizman, Terra Madre, and Volarevic, and continuing with wines from Konavle from the local winery Crvik, which completes this seemingly unusual wine story.

CPWI is interested in indigenous wines such as Plavac Mali, Posip, Zinfandel, Tezor, and wineries in the south that produce these red, white, and rosé wines.

At a time of the coronavirus pandemic and great economic uncertainty, beautiful entrepreneurial stories like the one told by the Croatian wine ambassador to the USA, Mirena Bagur, who was born in Metkovic, are worthy of attention and admiration. The Crvik winery from Konavle, which is proud of its centuries-old tradition of wine production, has entered the circle of Croatian wineries whose wines have recently been successfully sold in the United States.

It is an internationally awarded wine Tezoro (silver at Decanter, silver at the International Wine Challenge, gold at Vinistra and Sabatina), which is obtained from the indigenous variety Dubrovnik Malvasia, the first grape variety mentioned in the Dubrovnik archives in the 14th century.

Much credit for this goes to Mirena Bagur, who, together with her husband Win A. Burke, an IT entrepreneur, runs the Croatian Premium Wine Imports company to import and distribute wines in the United States. They started with the wineries of the association K7 from Komarna. They recently agreed to cooperate with Testament near Sibenik, Marlais from Peljesac, and the Crvik winery, as the first Konavle winery.

Thus, through an online shop, which sends wines to most states, you can buy well-known varieties from southern Croatia, such as Plavac Mali, Dingac, Tribidrag, Posip, Babic, Debit, and Dubrovnik Malvasia. In the USA, quality Croatian wines are very well accepted, says Mirena.

“Wine connoisseurs and lovers in America give priority to quality, and all the reviews of quality experts that come to us are excellent. Younger generations want to hear new wine stories from around the world, so there is a whole new category, the so-called adventure wines, and here our wines fit perfectly. We are in constant contact with wine lovers, and we listen to comments, so this year, we are expanding our wine inventory to other Croatian wine regions as well,” Mirena said.

Winemaker Petar Crvik says this is a great time to break through into wine production.

“Every year, tourists from all over the world come to our winery. It is often the Americans who ask us if they can get our wine in the United States. I am glad that our efforts and authenticity have been recognized, and I sincerely hope that more Croatian winemakers will start exporting because this is a huge opportunity for our winemaking,” says Crvik.

Although Croatia still imports much more wine than it exports, the trends are still hopeful: a few years ago, imports decreased, and production and exports increased. Initiatives like this can definitely help the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, but also the whole of Croatia, find its place on the wine map of the world.

“As you know, we started cooperation with winemakers from Komarna, and since I am from Metkovic, it was relatively easy for us to form a partnership with people we know and have mutual respect. However, from the very beginning, we planned to include wines from all over Croatia. Logically, the first expansion was within the Dubrovnik-Neretva region because last year, we visited wineries in that area,” Mirena pointed out.

“Apart from the top quality wines made from indigenous varieties, which is our focus, one of the reasons why we quickly included Crvik and Marlais wineries is that they understand how to satisfy the desires of American wine lovers who come to their tasting rooms. So selling their wines online went very fast. In particular, we have several former visitors to Crvik who contacted us at least once a week during the summer to see if Tezoro had arrived at our online warehouse. I don’t think there’s a better story than that,” Mirena says proudly of her wine success.

“The development of online sales has always been planned, but online shopping is quite complicated due to the alcohol law in America. Still, since Win Burke is an expert in software solutions, this was feasible for us in a relatively short time with his experience. We started building an online store in 2019 and started to test sales in early 2020. Just when most restaurants were in the status quo due to the corona crisis, and direct sales in the wine sector more or less stopped, online demand for Croatian wines began, and were delivered to the home addresses of the customers,” said Mirena.

“Without investments in the export of Croatian wines by the ministry, chamber, or winegrowing associations, success in the wine sector cannot be expected,” concluded Mirena Bagur, who emphasizes that 50 indigenous wine labels from all over Croatia are available in the USA today.

You can read more about Croatian Premium Wine Imports here.

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