Daily Telegraph Features 1st Master of Wine Making Wine in Croatia

Total Croatia News

September 20, 2020 – The Daily Telegraph features Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, the first MW to make wine in Croatia. Grapes from Hvar, Hands from London. 

One of the most interesting developments in the last few years has been the arrival of the first Master of Wine to produce wine in Croatia from indigenous Croatian varieties. 

Jo Ahearne MW took the plunge back in 2014 and moved to Hvar. After years of consulting and buying wines for the likes of Marks and Spencer and Harrod’s of London, she had been looking to make her very own wine, and the indigenous grapes of Hvar combined with the relaxed Croatian lifestyle seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

I have known Jo since those early days and watched with awe as she has mastered her craft despite the complexities and bureaucracy of starting a wine business in Croatia. 

A key early theme has been to use local grape varieties, of which Hvar has several unique sorts. Her debut wine, Rosina, a rosé made from Drnakusa, was met with critical acclaim, and she has been slowly expanding her range from there. 

Perhaps her most acclaimed wine is the maceration wine ‘Wild Skins’, which is a blend of Posip and two Hvar varieties, Kuc and Bogdanusa (which literally translates as ‘a gift from God’).

I did smile to myself a couple of years ago, as Jo headed off on a wine tasting tour of note. Invitations to exclusive addresses in Tokyo, Kyoto, Melbourne and Sydney – new frontiers for the humble grapes of Hvar, inspired by the vision of a straight-talking Londoner. 

After some time making wine on the south side of Hvar, Jo has moved her production to the hilltop village of Vrisnik in central Hvar, from where she runs great wine tastings, which are growing in popularity. 

Media attention is also growing in this fascinating relationship between a Master of Wine and the indigenous grapes of Hvar, with today bringing perhaps the biggest exposure yet – a very well-written piece in The Daily Telegraph. 

I’m lucky that Jo Ahearne agreed to speak to me during harvest. Winemakers are always hard-pressed when the grapes are being picked, so it’s no surprise that our chat is aborted a couple of times. “It’s all going crazy here as all the whites have decided to come in at the same time. Normally they form an orderly queue,” she messages from the Croatian island of Hvar, a haven of pine trees and lavender fields in the Adriatic, where she has been making wine since 2014. Another day we’re emailing at 4am.

Read the full story in The Daily Telegraph here.

For more information about Ahearne Vino, check out the official Facebook page.  

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