Croatia has Quality Wine, but Inadequate Marketing

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Winemakers across the country are poorly connected

“The quality of wine is not in question, but winemakers are insufficiently connected and little is done to market the wines,” Agriculture Minister Davor Romić warned at the opening of the 48th Wine Expo of continental Croatia in Sveti Ivan Zelina, reports on June 6, 2016.

This was confirmed by agricultural experts at the panel discussion titled “Trends and perspectives of winemaking and viticulture development”, organised by Poslovni Dnevnik. Faculty of Agronomy professor Darko Preiner spoke of over 10,000 sorts of vines in the world, with only 15 present in 50% of total vineyards.

The most represented sorts are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown in over half a million acres. There is a noticeable trend of the spread of red wine sorts, especially the French ones. “Croatia has 130 indigenous sorts, but only 30 are in serious use,” he added.

Indigenous sorts cover 37% of vineyards in Croatia. Their span starts from 0.7 acres of Lasina sort to 1,685 acres of Plavac Mali sort. The most present sort is Graševina, with 22% of vineyards. The panel mentioned that in 1888 Croatia had 172 thousand acres of vineyards, while currently estimates run around 21 thousand acres. This is why Croatia cannot compete in volume with producers in Italy, Spain, France and overseas, mandating a focus on quality.

The importance of the indigenous Kraljevina sort was emphasised by Ivana Vladimira Petrić of the Viticulture and Winemaking Institute. Although it only holds 1.4% of areas in Croatia, in the Prigorje-Bilogora region it holds a solid 14% and over a million vines. “Until the 1980s this sort was the most represented in the Zelina region. At that time more ‘popular’ sorts began to appear. Once its potential was recognised, in 1999 the Kraljevina Zelina Association was formed to promote the cultivation of this sort. Since then plenty has been done to increase its share, with currently almost all Kraljevina with a quality or superior wine status,” said Ivana Puhelek.

Jasmina Šaško of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce warned that more must be done to connect winemakers, while Franjo Francem of the Croatian Sommelier Club notes that there has been talk of this for over 30 years, but in reality little has been done. Juraj Orenda of the Agriculture Ministry is aware the legal parameters may not be the best and should be simplified.


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