The Wine Fairs of Croatia: Vinistra

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The Association of Winegrowers & Winemakers of Istria, Croatia has been organizing the international exhibition of wine and winery equipment called “Vinistra” for the past 23 years. It is one of the longest running wine festivals in Croatia, bringing ever-increasing number of visitors (in 2016 over 12,000 people visited the exhibition!) to the Istrian town of Poreč where it lasts for three days in the May of each year.

Over the years, the meticulous dedication of the organizers made Vinistra a leading exhibition of wine and other traditional Istrian products such as grappa, olive oil, honey, cheese and prosciutto. The exhibition includes expert evaluations of three categories of products: wines, spirits and olive oils. A wide selection of wine varieties and blends are graded, but the most important and influential is the grading of indigenous Istrian varieties: fresh and natured malvasija, teran and refošk.

In 2009 the organizers started a separate competition, The World of Malvasia, an event taking place before the Vinistra itself, and to which international producers of various varieties within the malvasia bianca family are invited. The malvasias are graded by the international panel of experts in several categories, and out of a few hundred competitor that enter each year many Slovenian and Italian wines get the highest marks, although the Croatian wines still dominate the gold and silver medals.

As is often the case, great food accompanies wine, so Vinistra Gourmet, an accompanying gastronomic corner of the exhibition was established. There visitors can taste creative delicacies, made each day by the most renowned local and international chefs, each course carefully paired with the wines of our exhibitors and offered to visitors (prior booking necessary) at extremely affordable prices. Vinistra is also trying to include as much of city of Poreč into the experience, so you will have a chance to enjoy carefully designed menus in some of the Poreč restaurants during the exhibition at the promotional prices, and of course there are Vinistra after parties at Poreč bars, where you can spend the night with wineloving crowd and enjoy a glass of wine (or a beer!) or two.

Another event organized by Vinistra is an en primeur tasting of fresh Istrian Malvasia wines in hotel Esplanade in Zagreb, usually held in February. The idea behind that event is to show the potential of the fresh wine (at that point the wine is mere months “old”) to professionals who purchase or book wines for restaurants and hotels, and that explains why it’s held in Zagreb. So, started as a small festival organized by a group of enthusiasts around the famous winemaker Ivica Matošević, Vinistra has had over 20 years to grow into one of the most relevant wine events in this part of Europe, and contributes greatly to the development of wine culture in our region.

Visit the official Vinistra website here.


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