I am Tribidrag Conference Conclusions

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Tribidrag is most certainly the most widespread Croatian wine variety in the world so the second day of the international conference “I am Tribidrag” was devoted to specialised workshops where participants had the opportunity to taste wines made from Tribidrag from around the world.

More than a story on genetic research and scientific discovery, Tribidrag forever bonded two nations. The United States as the largest producer of Zinfandel and Croatia as the land of its origin. Much more than that, it connected researchers such as professor Carole Meredith, who did not give up for the last 20 years searching for the true roots of American Zinfandel, with leading Croatia experts on indigenous Croatian varieties, Ivan Pejić and Edi Maletić.

Considering the story began in the Napa Valley, the first wine workshop was devoted to Zinfandel, probably the most recognisable Tribidrag in the world. The godfather of American Zinfandel, the winemaker who owns one of the oldest plantations of this variety on American soil and the most esteemed expert for its production, Joel Peterson and his colleague David Gates, vice president for winemaking in the Ridge Vineyards winery, presented the success of Tribidrag on American soil. Californian Zinfandel made the largest advances in production. Technological processes, production style and best defined in California, which is not surprising since Zinfandel is the third most common wine variety there. It is very often combined with other varieties, most commonly Petite Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and Carignan to achieve equality in production and balance in the final product.

Another part of the world where a swift rise of production is noticeable, it Italian Manduria. Tribidrag is known as Primitivo there, with two styles most common in production, presented by winemaker and Morella Winery owner Lisa Gilbee. In the traditional approach, the aim is to produce stronger and more alcoholic wines with rustic notes often reaching up to 18% of alcohols.

Professor Edi Maletić and Goran Zdunić, researcher and associate at the Adriatic Cultures and Karst Melioration Institute in Split, presented Croatian wines. Considering the goal of every scientific research is its application in practice, researchers are especially proud of going from 25 living vines of Tribidrag they found in vineyards in 2001 to the current nearly 80 hectares of planted vineyards. The most important problem of the Tribidrag variety is its uneven ripening, as well as being prone to diseases which made it disappear so quickly from Croatian vineyards.

To close the first international conference on Tribidrag, a panel presented Tribidrag wines from unexpected parts of the world such as India, Chile, Albania, South Africa and Australia. The panel was led by the authors of the most significant wine publication, known as the wine bible – “Wine Grapes,” José Vouillamoz and Jancis Robinson. “Everyone should be proud of the bond with such a significant wine variety. This is a wonderful story, not just in wine, but one of friendship and persistence,” said at the end of the conference Jancis Robinson, with an appropriate salute to all present: “Raise your glasses and toast. I am Tribidrag!”

For the first time in Croatia, conference organisers, the Tribidrag association, gathered leading wine experts on the topic of just one grape variety – indigenous Tribidrag, which succeeded in many countries outside its native Croatia. Organisers Davorka Krnić-Trick, Fani Prodan and Iva Drganc saluted all present and said: “See you next year!”


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