It is a widely known saying that wine is sunshine in a glass. The sun is often combined with the attribute gold, hence it could be said that sun is the golden sunshine in a glass. Thus it is very interesting when you meet a winemaker named Zlatko Sonenšajn (German sonnenschein – sunshine) and when that winemaker truly makes superior wines. Mr Sonenšajn is like an alchemist who can turn the golden sunshine into a nectar and pour it into a glass. The Sonenšajn Winery is in Starigrad near Koprivnica.
I found Zlatko Sonenšajn guided by news of the awards he won in an interval of only a week. At the 49th Exhibition of Continental Croatia Wines, held on June 3rd in Sveti Ivan Zelina, Zlatko’s Traminac – a selective harvest of dried grapes from 2015 was the festival champion with 93 points and the best rated predicate wine. The same day at the Graševina Festival in Kutjevo, Mr Sonenšajn won a gold medal for Graševina, a selective harvest of dried grapes from 2015. A week later at the Golden Wines Alpe Adria 2017 manifestation held in Križevci, Zlatko’s Traminac won 97 out of 100 points and the champion title. At Vinodar held that day in Daruvar, Sonenšajn was also an absolute winner with three large golds!
The total annual production is just over 1.000 litres and Sonenšajn has focused exclusively on superior wine quality. He points out the very significant role of the winemakers’ association in improving the general quality of wine production in Croatia through education and expert trips they organise. Considering his successes, Zlatko Sonenšajn is also incredibly modest:
“I could mystify the story of my wines, but I will not. Everyone has a chance to make an excellent wine. There is truly no large philosophy about it. If the grapes are healthy and if you have the will to process the grapes properly after the harvest. Professor Zdenko Ivanković from the Faculty of Agronomics once told me that I should write a book about how I took up winemaking and how I came to the results I have today. I told him I have no time to write a book as I am busy with wine growing and cellar duties, but I am ready to provide proper advice to anyone regarding wine production.”