Dingač Wine at Joe Biden Inauguration an Opportunity for Croatia

Daniela Rogulj

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The inauguration of the new US president Joe Biden on Wednesday will attract people from all over the world – and in addition to the list of distinguished guests, two Croatian wines will have their place in the spotlight. 

Namely, T.portal writes that the first protected Croatian wine – Dingač – will be found on the tables of Biden’s inauguration, as well as Zinfandel. 

Plavac Mali is the most important native grape variety in Croatia, and the best Plavac is produced in the localities of Dingač and Postup on the Pelješac peninsula, on the south side of the island of Hvar, and in the good positions of the Brač and Vis vineyards. 

“Dingač had a good reputation before the 15th century and was sold at higher prices than all other wines in the market. It is a premium dry red wine, protected by the Geneva Convention in 1961 and the first Croatian wine protected by law. More than 90 percent of Plavac is produced on Pelješac. The fact that it will be served at Biden’s inauguration is a great promotion for the wine itself and the whole of Croatia,” says Slobodan Rosić, secretary of the Plavac Mali association from Pelješac.

“I think this is an opportunity for the whole of Croatia, as it is great to have a bottle of wine from Croatia on the tables of the inauguration. The producer is not important either, but Pelješac, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and Croatia. I think that we winemakers, as well as all our counties and chambers, should start a good wine campaign to place Dingač on the world map; that is a good way,” says Rosić.

He adds that such an opportunity should definitely be used because of the coronavirus pandemic, which drastically slowed down sales:

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t even offer a day of open wines. We have large stocks of unsold wine in warehouses, and we expect restaurants and cafes to open every day. The wine will not be distilled, it will age for a year without income, but it is difficult for winemakers, as they have been without income for a year,” he concluded.

Dragan Kovačević, vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Agriculture and Tourism, believes that the selection of Croatian wines for Biden’s inauguration is the culmination of many years of trends in their successful export and promotion in the American market.

“Our exports are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, and according to data for the first ten months of 2020, it reached 860 thousand dollars or remained at the levels of 2019 despite the business crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, which hurt all business segments, especially the wine sector, as it is highly dependent on promotional and social events and tourism trends,” explained Kovačević. He added that in the USA, which is the fifth most important market for the export of Croatian wines, mostly top bottled wines (over 80 percent of exports) are sent at a high average price compared to other countries Croatia exports.

For example, in the first 10 months of 2020, the average export price of Croatian wines in the United States was 6.84 euro per liter, while in 2019, it was 6.89 euro per liter. Due to the specific distribution method, wine exported from Croatia for $12 for a bottle reaches $35 to $40 on the shelf of an American wine shop, or from $60 to $80 in restaurants.

“Wine for a country like Croatia, which achieves almost a fifth of its GDP through tourism and the multiplier effects of tourism, and is visited annually by over 20 million tourists, is potentially an important export product. Along with gastronomy, wine plays an increasingly important role in the tourist offer and branding of Croatia as an eno-gastro destination,” said Kovačević, adding that we must emphasize our advantages, which are over 120 indigenous grape varieties and a mosaic of four wine-growing and wine regions with all varietal and positional specifics, which should be the backbone of marketing.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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