Croatia in January.
Advent in over, the summer is far away, everything is closed.
Now imagine Slavonia in January. Even worse, right?
You couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the early season fixed highlights in my calendar each year now is a weekend in Osijek in mid-January. I first went to the WineOS Osijek Wine Festival seven years ago, a very local affair with just a few producers.
The organisers have worked very hard to expand the event, while maintaining the quality. In addition to the many wines to try, there are outstanding workshops of both days, as well as an excellent after party both nights – this year hosted at Peppermint. More details in the press release below, as I will confess that my judgment got a little cloudier as the days went on.
Two highlights for me were learning about the wines of Vina Papak in Ilok, officially the easternmost winery in Croatia – for years I thought that Ilocki Podrum was the only name in town there.
And the black Slavonian pig kulen from former Croatian national footballer, Domagoj Vida (I met it last year) was absolutely sensational.
Much more below, and I heartily recommend you look out for the dates in 2024 – an excellent event powered by fine wines and true Slavonian hospitality.
THE RECORD EIGHTH WINEOS ATTRACTED NUMEROUS EXHIBITORS AND VISITORS
The previous weekend, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January, the eighth international fair of wine, delicacies and pleasant living WineOS was held in the Gradski vrt hall. According to announcements, it was the largest WineOS ever, where over 115 producers of wine, spirits, desserts, cured meats and other delicacies presented themselves.
During the two days of the fair and three days of workshops, almost 3,500 people passed through the hall: exhibitors, visitors, business guests and everyone who worked hard to make this event look spectacular. On both exhibition days, there was a big crowd in the hall in front of each exhibitor and the stage where Saša Vojnović from the Lug Hotel restaurant, Nebojša Rajković from the Čingi Lingi čarda restaurant and the famous gastronomic educator from Split Željko Neven Bremec demonstrated their culinary skills.
“Record numbers, great interest in participation, reactions of the exhibitors and the audience are confirmation that we succeeded in surpassing previous editions. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the organization and realization of the biggest January public event in Osijek; Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek and the Vinita wine shop as co-organizers, the tourist associations of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek, the Osijek Fair as a sponsor, and our partners from the Catering and Tourism School. Without their help and engagement, this event could not have been realized”, said the president of the organizing committee of the fair and the president of the association Dekanter Boris Ocić.
“Eight years after the first edition of the fair, WineOS truly became what we wanted – one of the biggest wine events in Croatia and the region. Osijek is increasingly recognized as a wine tourist destination, a city of hedonism and good food, and a place where guests from other parts of Croatia like to come and stay more and more. We will continue in the same direction, we will offer something new every year and we will not rest on our laurels. We want to progress even more”, said WineOS founder and CEO Vinko Ručević.
“The reactions of the exhibitors and the audience, the praise that comes from all sides, the words of praise sent to us by the media, guests, and guests are really pleasing. However, the most important thing is that we have permanent partners who are of great help to us, but also the fact that our exhibitors get better and better jobs precisely thanks to the contacts made on WineOS. We want to continue in this direction and offer everyone an even better and more attractive WineOS next year and provide an opportunity for exhibitors and business visitors to do even more work. And we will do all this with another big step forward that we are planning for 2024. However, we will say more about that in a few months”, concluded the executive director of the fair, Denis Despot.
Finally, here are some concrete figures. The 1,900 square meters of the Gradski vrt hall housed 97 exhibition spaces where over 115 exhibitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented themselves. More than 2,800 guests, invitees, business visitors, protocol representatives and journalists passed through the hall, totaling almost 3,500 people with the organizers and exhibitors. Visitors tried more than 500 different wines and spirits in almost 3,000 glasses, about 2,500 liters of water were drunk, a ton of ice was consumed, and workshop participants had the opportunity to taste about eighty different wines, many of which you can no longer buy even in wineries.
All this is a lure for guests to visit WineOS next year as well, and while they wait they will be able to enjoy the many wine events in Osijek and the surrounding area that await us in 2023. At the end, the organizers send another big thank you to everyone with a message – see you in 2024 at the ninth WineOS!
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