On August 3rd, in the middle of the summer, a meeting of the members of the WOW Association and the winemakers of the island of Krk, or more precisely, Vrbnik was held.
The get-together point was in Dunat, in the beautiful beach bar Casa del Padrone, where around twenty members of the association (some accompanied by their husbands, who decided to join) and some journalists were welcomed by Sanja Muzaferija, the association president and their hostess for the day. Sanja knows Krk very well, as she has spent her summers in Punat for many years.
The young owner of the beach bar, ambitious Adrian Štimac told the story of the bar to the visitors, explaining how the concept of the place is for the guests to spend the entire day at the bar – which means at the beach! It’s decorated completely in the marine style, with details such as oars, barrels with anchor signs and completely white and turquoise blue. The bar’s hostesses welcomes all guests, rents out the beach chair to them (100 kuna a day) and they just need to enjoy the view of the Punat marina, islet Košljun or the ski-lift wakeboard nearby, take a swim, get free water, a towel, a piece of watermelon… The entire idea is to offer their guests to take a hedonistic approach to their day, because a kind Thai lady is waiting to give you a Thai massage, if that’s what you’d like, you can have a beach-appropriate lovely meal, have a fresh-made juice, cocktail, sparkling or still wine.
After that experience, the small group went on towards Vrbnik in good spirits. The first stop was at the terrace of the Ivan Katunar House of Wine where the WOW member Egle Katunar awaited for their arrival. They were offered seven wine labels, their own olive oil from Vodnjan, where Egle was born, and the amazing story of the winery, cellar and the 40 year tradition of winemaking in the Katunar family. The tradition is made by two Ivans, father and son, and the brand is named after them. The first harvest to be bottled was in 1989, and the first forays into commercialisation was also made then by her father in law, Ivan Katunar senior, who Egle called a visionary in several occasions. Both father and son welcomed the members of the group, and nobody should be worried about keeping the tradition, as Egle was feeding her baby, her second child, between the tastings. The vineyards of the Ivan Katunar House of Wine are located in the Vrbnik field, at the Krasina locality, which is extremely good for the grapes, and produces high-quality yield. The group got to see the cellar and the winery in the house of the Katunar family, built in 1963, renovated in 1987, and the new cellar with the modern technology was dug in 2007. Another series of changes happened in 2017, when the new, modern visual identity was created, as well as the new retail space in the house. The large terrace with the view of Vrbnik is almost finished, as is the grand tasting hall. One thing they highlight here is that the entire process of winemaking, from the vineyard to the table, is controlled by the Ivan Katunar House of Wine.
For this occasion, they presented Biser Žlahtine 2017 as a welcome drink, a sparkling wine made by 100% Žlahtina, an indigenous Krk white wine, made using the charmat method. After that some Ivan Katunar Žlahtina 2018 was offered, then a surprisingly refreshing and light Chardonnay 2017 (this is the only winemaker making Chardonnay on Krk), Rosé 2018 which women of the WOW association instantly loved, Sansigot 2016, a red wine made by the indigenous variety of this region, Yellow Moscatto 2018 and prošek Sv. Ivan 2010. There was olive oil, olives, wonderful cheese and some prosciutto to help with the wines.
After the group has purchased all the wines they planned, Egle Katunar took them on a walk around Vrbnik, to show them some of the important sights and monuments of this wonderful small town. They climbed up to the bella vista, more precisely – the terrace of the legendary Nada restaurant. There Ivan Juranić welcomed them with some sparkling wine and a million dollar view of the Velebit channel and Crikvenica Riviera on the mainland from the terrace above the cliff over the local port.
The restaurant was opened in 1974, as a small and friendly local eatery, and in its 45 years it managed to become a successful restaurant, known for their food far from Krk. In their beginning, Nada was dedicated to making traditional meals from Vrbnik, mostly cooked by grandma Nada herself. She also came to welcome the group in person, and told them how proud and happy she was that her daughter and son in law first, and then her grandson kept the idea of the restaurant for this long. Today, Nada restaurant lovingly offers modern Mediterranean cuisine, with emphasis on seafood dishes, and are well known even outside of Croatia, as foreign customers often visit and take home good impressions.
WOW group got to enjoy first a roast-beef sandwich, then some tuna carpaccio, traditional pasta from Krk called šurlice with shrimp, seabream and an amazing lava cake with some ice-cream. Today the Nada winery was also renovated and ready to accept organized groups of tourists, after being used only for the production of wine and wine-based products. The decoration is rustic; the combination of the stone and wooden beams was kept, while the rest of the restaurant has a more modern feel. Happily in the synergy with the terrace that serves as a summer jazz stage, Nada is a place that shouldn’t be missed when in Vrbnik. Of course, many guests feel that way, so we recommend you make a reservation to make sure there’s a table waiting for you.
And you might be wondering what wines the group tasted at Nada: their Soubze Brut sparkling wine, Nada Žlahtina, Sw. Nadalia rosé and Zaberde, a blend of the red varieties from Vrbnik. In addition to those wines, made by Nada winery, Ivica Dobrinčić from Šipun winery also got to present a few of his wines to the group. Šipun Žlahtina from 2018 and Sansigot 2016 were tasted, but a very special rosé made from another indigenous variety, Troišćina was not tasted! The winemaker was able to make such a spectacular wine that the first vintage was sold out completely, receiving raving reviews by the buyers and experts alike, but that meant that the WOW Association group was not able to taste any of it! Maybe next time…