Dalmacijavino Winery Returned to Stari Grad: Home for Hvar UNESCO Gourmet Goodness?

Total Croatia News

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August 10, 2019 – A new chapter for the troubled Dalmacijavino winery in Stari Grad, and a fantastic opportunity to develop the Hvar gourmet story. 

When it opened in 1952, it was the most modern and beautiful winery in Croatia. Oenologist, agronomist and engineer Vanja Zanko returned from Provence in 1948 and started to build a new winery in Stari Grad, which was finally completed in 1952.

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(The opening of the winery in 1952)

After initial glory years, the Dalmacijavino winery fell upon hard times, and it has been sitting unwanted and unused on the entrance to Stari Grad for many years now. 

But no longer! 

A unanimous decision from the Stari Grad Town Council this week has ensured a brighter future for the building and its surrounding lands, as the town will purchase them and bring the Damacijavino winery and surrounding lands into the ownership of the local authority, which is great news. 

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Significant investment will be required to restore the winery to its former glory, and while I am not aware of the plans for developing the winery, I would be surprised if it was returned to its original use as a winery. And perhaps there is a much better use for it.

As I wrote recently, Hvar is blessed with so many interesting, high-quality and unique food and wine experiences, that it can quite easily rebrand and expand its image as a food and wine destination immersed in culture (you can read Creating Quality Gourmet Tourism in Croatia: Case Study Hvar here).

(Hvar TV reports on a 2012 exhibition to mark 60 years of the opening of the winery)

Jelsa is the de facto (although unclaimed) capital of Dalmatian wine, Hvar the wine island, whose Mediterranean Diet joined the list of intangible UNESCO heritage in 2013, along with Brac and 7 other places on the Mediterranean. The winery is located on the edge of UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stari Grad Plain. The location really could not be better. 

So why not build a temple of celebration of Hvar’s incredible wine story, its Mediterranean Diet, a proper introduction to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain, and a celebration of the rest of the UNESCO heritage on Hvar, the island with the most UNESCO heritage in the world?

A wine museum, a wine tasting facility, an interactive Stari Grad Plain exhibition, cooking classes and workshops. Plant lavender and immortelle and other Hvar crops in some of the neighbouring fields to showcase the diversity of Hvar’s herbal and plant life which contribute to so many products here. 

There is plenty of space for a multi-functional facility, including winemaking, under the brand of Hvar gourmet. Olive oil production, honey production, lavender oil production, rakija production – a section to learn how all these processes were done all those years ago, and still today. There will also be EU funding for the right application.

In an age where tourists are looking for things to do on a rainy day, could there be a better option? And not just when it is raining. The creation of a UNESCO Hvar gourmet centre would help to develop the brand, which could be further developed by the numerous food and wine tours on the island. 

A fantastic opportunity. Let’s see what happens, but whatever happens, the fact that there will be a change of ownership is great news. It comes around the same time that that the Helios Hotel Group, the main hotel provider in the town, is also looking forward to a brighter future, as Valamar looks set to invest to bring them up to four-star standard. 

The future of tourism in Stari Grad is looking very bright indeed. 

Learn more about Stari Grad with 25 things to know.



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